The weather has been so pleasant the last few days that even horses in the field next to mine have taken to lying down and basking in the sun.


Meanwhile, a badger has excavated a burrow (also known as a “sett”) in the grass in front of Mitchell cabin.

As was noted here four years ago, “Badgers mate in late summer,” according to the Parks Canada website. “However, the fertilized egg does not implant into the uterus and begin to develop until February.

“This delayed implantation means that breeding can occur in the summer when the adults are most active, and young are born in the spring when food is abundant….

“They live off their mother’s milk until August when they strike off to establish their own home range.”


Badgers live in setts up to 30 feet long and 10 feet deep, for they are extremely efficient diggers thanks to long claws and short, strong legs.

Although they can run up to 17 or 18 mph for short distances, they generally hunt by digging fast enough to pursue rodents into their burrows.

Its common for badgers to take over the burrows of prey they’ve eaten. Given the overabundance of gophers on this hill, I suspect that’s how this sett came to be.

I’ve found a couple of other holes along my driveway where a badger apparently chased gophers into their burrows. However, the holes were small compared to the sett’s opening, leading me to infer the badger gave up the chase in these other locations.


A mother badger is known as a sow while her offspring are called cubs or kits. In May 2009, I photographed this sow and kit sunning themselves atop their sett in the horses’ pasture.


Hank Snow (1914-1999).

On old song from the western countryside. While letting my thoughts wander a week ago, I happened to remember the late Hank Snow. He was without a doubt Country and Western music’s preeminent singer from Nova Scotia.

In 1962, the highly popular performer recorded the tongue-twister hit I’ve Been Everywhere (Click here to hear). The song required awesome elocution, and it inspired more than a 125 knockoff versions.

Snow himself had taken an Australian song and reworded it for North American audiences. Many of the knockoffs localized the song’s place names to appeal to listeners in different parts of the US. Through a friend from Florida, I knew of a version aimed specifically at certain cities and towns in that state. (The singer, however, couldn’t begin to match Snow’s virtuosity.)


A mysterious turn of events: In my March 31 posting, I noted that according to Google Analytics, which tracks visits to this blog, the number of readers in my hometown of Point Reyes Station had plummeted to zero during the first few days of last month while readership in Sunnyvale mushroomed. Offhandedly I  joked, “Has Silicon Valley hijacked West Marin?”

The posting must have caught somebody’s eye. Within a week of its going online —according to Google Analytics statistics — visits to this blog  from Sunnyvale fell off to virtually none.


Meanwhile — again according to Google Analytics statistics — the number of visits to this blog  from Point Reyes Station residents returned to normal. Could this be coincidence? The history of the Old West is replete with unsolved mysteries.