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An ermine, or short-tailed weasel in its winter pelage, made the rounds of Frankfort village this week. Others just got glimpses of it, but I had a close-up encounter.

Going into my garage to start my car, I was startled to see a little white head popping out from the spokes on my left front wheel. The animal wasn’t afraid of me and only retreated when I opened the car door.

At first, I thought it was someone’s pet white rat, but then it occurred to me that I had seen these critters before. It was an ermine and instead of being upset, it made me glad, since ermines are topnotch vermin hunters. Perhaps it will kill some of the mice and red squirrels that continually plague me.

Speaking of varmints, my attic is home to a colony of flying squirrels. They run the length of the attic at night and sound like a herd of moose. The critters probably climb the wall, glide to the other end and then run back to repeat it again.

Amazingly, I’ve begun picking them up in my mousetraps, a truly unexpected bycatch. I use TomCat traps, the new, all-plastic variety with strong, toothed jaws. Thus far I have trapped 66 mice and 6 flying squirrels.

I’m not alone in having flying squirrels in the attic. A friend living in town has the same problem.

Perchin’ prediction

After the recent cold weather, there’s no doubt but what we have safe ice on local lakes and ponds. I have a trip planned to Field’s Pond in Orrington, where I hope to catch some black crappies. My last trip was canceled because of the weather.

It sometimes seems that when conditions are good, I am too busy to take off and go fishing and when I finally get the time, conditions are bad. Go figure.

History note

From The Republican Journal, Jan. 11, 1894: “Mr. Edwin Parker had his handsome large Newfoundland dog shot, owing to his frequent attempts to bite strangers. The fishermen report very few smelts; hardly enough to pay for their time fishing.”

Weekly quote

“Snowflakes come in fleets like ships over the sea.” — Hilda Conkling