After dealing with the potholes, we went for a walk over to John Neal Park, which is where the beaver ponds about which I've previously written are. The park is now closed to vehicles for the winter, but you can still walk in. Heading toward the park, Lisa observed a large flock of geese flying overhead and wondered why they were flying east instead of south.
As we made our way along the trail, we heard a splash and looked out into one of the ponds. There we saw what we take to be a nutria rather than a beaver, although we could not make a certain identification because couldn't see the critter's tail. We watched it paddle around for a while until it made itself scarce diving under the roots of a tree on the edge of the pond. Then we walked into the park itself and sat alongside the North Santiam River watching the rapids and eating our granola bars. It was sufficiently dry to let Kuma Bear out to have him watch the water and dream of salmon jumping into his mouth. This stretch of rapids does look like a place where a bear could set up shop and wait for lunch to come a-calling.
As the sun was setting, we started out of the park. Crossing a small bridge downstream of the beaver dam that holds the big pond, we saw a flock of geese coming in for a very noisy landing on top of those that Lisa had spotted earlier. We headed back out of the park and onto the paved street on the west side of the park area. I saw something crawling on the street ahead of us. Lisa identified it as a salamader making its way somewhat laboriously across the road. She picked it up and carried it across to the lawn on the other side of the street, where it skittered away. We felt like we'd done a good deed and saved the salamader from being flattened when a car passed us going that way a few minutes later.
It was not a particularly productive day, but was fairly restful. I just wish we could have accomplished more work around here. It's frustrating not getting the wood that I split under cover, for instance, but I do have the Day Jobbe that pays the bills that I must attend to on weekdays, and the daylight isn't as long as it was during the summer, so I don't have the luxury of four or five hours after work to go split wood or haul logs.