Friday, November 10, 2017

Fall is Turning to Winter, and We Have Basement Tenants

Peak fall foliage made the hillsides around our house look really spectacular. Here's a panorama from October 26 (click to make it bigger), with sunlight and all sorts of colors under a cloudy sky:

Now it's a couple of weeks later, and the color has gone to mostly brown and gray. And we had our first persistent snow today -- just a few flurries, but it's bitterly cold, and the white flakes stuck. Here's our first taste of winter at the new house!

It's really cold outside (high in the 20s today, low around 18 degrees F tonight), and unfortunately it's also cold inside. We're keeping the house at a manageable but not-quite-comfortable temperature with a few space heaters while we wait for a delayed geothermal project to finish up. (The project is very exciting, but it means that half of the meadow currently looks like a field of dirt piles -- dressed up at least in snow in the above picture. And also, yes, it's cold.)

So the house is chilly, but it's still significantly warmer than the outside temperature. And this afternoon while poking around in a back corner of the basement I found two tenants who have apparently decided to spend the winter indoors with us:

A Woolly Bear and -- my goodness -- a Spotted Salamander are surprising additions to the household, but I'm happy to let them hibernate here. I'll keep an eye on this corner over the next few months to see how these two fare. I hope these creatures survive the winter and make it back outside when spring returns!

Update: After posting this, I went back into the basement and saw the sweetest little salamander face looking out of its hole. Happy hunting tonight, little creature!


  1. I'm looking forward to spending winter with you. Keep the great posts coming.

  2. We had geothermal at our last house, and it was absolutley magic!

  3. How wonderful you have winter guests, and how kind you are to welcome them to your home. Wishing you all a snug, warm house!

  4. Aw, that's lovely to have those guests. Keep us posted! I hope they make it through the winter! What do salamanders eat, by the way? Small insects? Just curious.

  5. It's amazing that you had a spotted salamander in view at this time of year -- they're mole salamanders and spend virtually their entire lives underground or beneath logs and rocks in woodland.

    You'd be surprised at all the fauna inhabiting your house, most you'll see occasionally some you'll never even know is there.