Whose woods these are I think I know.

Whose woods these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though; He will not see me stopping here; To watch his woods fill up with snow.  (Stopping by Woods on a Snow Evening, by Robert Frost)

“Whose woods these are I think I know” is a fitting title to my first blog entry since July 2013. It is the feeling I get when I’m driving home from the Burlington airport; driving up our road, looking through the trees, across the meadow to our house. For more than a year, I have traveling considerably for work.  Being home for any stretch of time is a treat.

In November 2012, I started this blog. As part of this great endeavor I thought it would be fun and interesting to try out some new gear and write up a review or two.  One techno-toy I really wanted to try out was a game camera. I did some research and settled on the Bushnell® HD Trophy Cam.  I wrote to Bushnell and told them about the blog (then with regular postings) and that I wanted to review their Trophy Cam. They were kind enough to send me the HD Trophy Cam to evaluate for a year. An unintended, but very welcome benefit of evaluating the Trophy Cam was being able to stay connected to Vermont when I was away – specifically to Vermont’s changing seasons and its domesticated and wild critters.

wild critter

The Model 119537C HD Trophy Camera took 8 mega pixel photos (after a year I still haven’t used the video option). The camera takes very good to great quality photos. The photos ranged from vivid color during the day to black and white at night. The color quality depended on the lighting. The only poor quality photos was when the angle of the sun washed out the picture…or when Cabot-the-wonder-dog sprinted by the camera and all that was captured was a blur.

domesticated critter – Cabot

One of the nice features of the camera is the date, time, temperature stamp on the pictures. From this information I was able to determine that standard alkaline batteries worked down to about 4 degrees. Lithium batteries were good to at least 4 below – the coldest recorded. 

I made several other observations using this feature. One observation was that my wife clearly stretched the truth when she told me she always keeps the dogs on a leash when she lets them out. I could correct her by reminding her that on June 16th at 18:30 hours she, in fact, had Cabot off the leash as she walked up to dump kitchen bio-hazards in compost!  She was most grateful for my gentle corrections. (Every parent of teenagers should run out and get one of these game cameras. Just strap it to a tree and focus it on the front of the house. Your children will think you have supernatural powers about when they broke curfew or what boyfriend came to the house and when. If only I knew then…hindsight is 20/20 they say.)

partially domesticated

Another observation I made, more in keeping with the purpose of the camera, was that the only time I recorded our resident fisher cat (near the composer) was when it was less than 10 degrees outside. (See photo below.)

The camera is quite sensitive.  It captured birds at the feeder, the movement of squirrels, and lots of raccoon activity at night – including the whole raccoon family climbing down from a tree that we had always walked by, never knowing who its residents were.

fisher cat hunting English Setters

I am hopeful that my writing hiatus is over and that I will once again be adding routine posts.  A lot has happened in over a year, some of it even good.  No matter where your travels take you, the outdoors has something to offer. There are new trails, new animals, renewal of old interests, new encounters with animals, etc. New sporting opportunities also bring new gear. One future post has to be “Confessions of an Outdoor Gear Whore.” I was going to use addict, but “whore” is much more dramatic, even if inaccurate.

Remember, a bad day afield is better than a good day at a regular paying job, although the regular pay is awfully nice.

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