What were you doing Friday night about 11 p.m.? I wanted to be sleeping, but our silly dog Jackie kept barking. I got up several times to see if anything unusual was outside. I saw nothing, until the last time, when I saw something in the semi-moonlit light, which was filtered by clouds.

The something was moving, so I flipped on an outside light, and saw a really quite lovely large skunk digging and digging at the base of a tree right behind our house. I couldn't figure out what it was doing, as it would every once in a while stop, and then continue its vigorous digging.

I watched for a while until I had convinced the dog that the critter wasn't anything she needed to bark at, so off we both went to bed.

Saturday morning, I decided to carefully go investigate. Carefully, because I didn't want to accidentally come upon an angry skunk. The skunk had definitely dug some holes around the bottom of the tree. I think the purpose was to dig out beetles, because several remains of beetles were lying around. I guess that was dinner that night.

Anyway, I'm kind of happy the skunk did all the digging, because I think I may have discovered why the tree and another of the same type have been slowly dying branch by branch.

The former owners of this property must have loved symmetry and extreme order. Our house is surrounded by what we call an 18-inch wide "moat" of red gravel, edged with scalloped bricks. And every tree within 50 yards of the house is surrounded by a neat circle of rocks, some of which are large.

Years ago, I discovered many of the junipers and piñons also had rocks jammed right up to the trunks of the trees. They were getting stressed, so I worked for weeks digging the rocks out and away from the trunks, which were slowly being girdled by the stones.

Well, guess what? Yep these two trees had been treated the same way, but soil had been put on top of the rocks, for flowers I would guess. I wet the ground around the trees and poked, prodded and dug up all the rocks, I hope, that were crammed up against the trunks.

So the skunk is my hero. I watered the trees well after I had filled the holes with dirt. Of course, it also rained Saturday afternoon, so I hope that the trees will get a new lease on life, even if their leaves are already starting to turn their gorgeous bronze and red.

Did you get rain Saturday? We were gone for about an hour and a half. When we returned home, the ground was wet from a shower, and we could hear thunder-sometimes loud claps. We thought the rain was past, but it soon poured. A nice fall rain, with cool temperatures.

I had another short night earlier in the week when I woke up, thinking it was bright enough to be time to get up. But it was moonlight, and the clock read 2:18 a.m. I finally got back to sleep.

Fall, as I've told those who have been reading my musings for years, is my favorite season. The temperatures are cooler, the skies are generally blue, blue, with an occasional shower, and the leaves are turning beautiful yellows, golds, bronzes, reds and browns. The wind isn't blowing spring gales. Yep, I like autumn.

I hope you're enjoying the season. I would love to hear from you at justcallmemam@grantcountybeat.com.

May your musing bring you beauty!

Live from Silver City

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