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Ramble with the Lady: A vole & frontal boundaries

By Dale Bowman

As Lady and I walked out of the wilds around the town pond on the trail, formerly a side rail, above the south old clay pit, our family's mutt suddenly lunged and flipped a small mammal in the air.

Then the small mammal scurried off into the leaf litter under the trees on the edge.

From what I read in Donald F. Hoffmeister's ``Mammals of Illinois,'' it looked like a woodland vole from what I read and saw.

On page 239 came this: ``Woodland voles dig shallow burrows in the friable soil or just under the leaf mold where they live.''

The vole, at least that is what I think it was, scurried until a few leaves and was off. That is not my photo, but the only one I could find and use.

Wild morning. When I got up at 5 a.m., it was calm and about 28 degrees as I started punching in bowling scores from Beat the Champions for the Sun-Times. Then the wind began howling.

So I figured the front was here or near. And Lady and I set off on a full Ramble, the whole 1 1/2 miles. With the bitter forecast, I figured it was the last full ramble we would have for at least a few days.

There is something remarkable about walking through a frontal passage.

As we set off the winds were howling out of the due west, but the time we reached back in time, they had already shifted northwest.

Back in town, the chef/cook, who runs a food truck for migrant and nursery workers, had something cooking that just smelled wonderful blowing down Station Street.

The bank thermometer read 28.

A couple gray squirrels ran around the yard with the feeder across from the bus barn. I heard the distinct call of a red-headed woodpecker, a street over from home, but I could not find it.

By the time I typed this in, it was already officially down to 21 degrees. A final last blast of real winter is coming.

Time to burrow in like a vole.

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