July 26, 2006

Nature Finds a Way

Typically when a roof panel blows off the roof of the yurt - it's no big surprise. A couple of years ago the inhabitants who moved in when this happened were a bit of a surprise to me. A wasp nest the size of a basketball was hanging underneath one of the bunks!

This year when the predictable happened on the upper yurt, Jon and Dave found a new tenant.
Here are one of the fledglings from the birds who made the upper yurt home this spring. Can anyone identify the bird from the picture? Russ?
And here's their nest built carefully on top of one of our gas lanterns. The birds were in this nest the first time Dave and Jon saw them and by their second visit to take pictures they had fledged and were flying around the yurt. By the time they came back later in the week, the birds had flown the coop - or the yurt as the case may be.

Dave was pretty concerned when he noticed a whole bunch of oil slicks forming at the bottom of the ski hill. He tried to figure out if 4-wheelers or snow mobilers were causing this to happen. Not so - it turns out, the oil is actually organic!Micro-organisims called diatoms form tiny oil molecules to improve their buoancy and to help them store energy. When they die the oil molecules remain. One way to tell real oil slicks from diatoms is to poke the oil. Diatom oil will break into chunks and float around on the surface of the water like that. Person-made oil will reform into an even oil slick after you poke it.

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