It's been just three weeks since we arrived back in Vermont after our crazy road trip, but it feels like much longer - we really feel at home here! We were so relieved to be back in Vermont with our RV repaired; it felt like closing that chapter in our story.
One of the most noticeable things was how quiet it was inside the RV! While staying in the hotel in Burlington, there had been noises from other rooms, plumbing and heating systems, and road noise outside.
On our way to Oregon we had slept in hotels along the interstate, and on the way back we had parked in travel plazas - the background hum of road noise was constant.
But back here in Vermont, our campsite is tucked away in the trees and it was almost silent each night. Until this week...
On Monday night, we were woken up at about 1am in the morning by a blood-curdling shrieking outside. It was loud, and sounded like a person screaming for help. Every so often there was another shriek - gradually getting further and further away.
We'd never heard anything like it before. It was horrifying.
The next night, we heard it again - it was hard to say how far away it was, but it was loud!
On Wednesday, we spoke with our neighbor and he'd been woken by it too. He had opened his blind and seen movement around his bird feeders, but whatever was there had scurried off into the night.
Keen to find out more, I took our battery-powered wireless Wyze Outdoor Cam from its magnetic mount on the front of our RV and we set it up outside his RV - its motion detection and night vision primed and ready!
I happened to wake up in the night and thought I'd check in on the camera - sure enough, there was movement! On the live view I watched as three raccoons worked to get the seeds out of the bird feeders!
I watched for a while, but the whole time they were there, there was no noise whatsoever. Raccoons do scream while mating - maybe this is what we were hearing?
Yesterday, we asked the campground owner about the noise. She instantly knew what we were referring to.
Apparently it's a fisher cat - an animal we'd never heard of! Contrary to its name, the fisher cat neither primarily eats fish, nor is it a cat. Instead it's a relative of the weasel and the name comes from the French word fiche - the name given to the pelt of a polecat, an animal it closely resembles.
Fisher cats are relatively small, about the size of a domestic cat, but vicious! Their dietary claim to fame is that they're one of the few predators that seeks out and kills porcupines - biting at its face until it bleeds to death. There are also confirmed reports of fisher cats killing bobcats and even Canada lynx!
They're also known to make a very shrill screaming sound - many people (like us) hearing it for the first time mistake it for a woman or child screaming for help due to its shrillness.
The campground owner was telling us that there is a fisher cat living in some woods nearby. At night, it moves along the boundary of the campground to another area of woodland to hunt. Mystery solved!
We put the camera out again last night but with no bird feeders available this time, we didn't see the raccoons. And although we heard more screams, no sign of the fisher cat itself!
It's amazing how much the weather has changed in the last month! In early March we were hooking up the RV in freezing conditions ready to head to Oregon.
Now, just a month later, I'm wearing shorts and a t-shirt outside! We've had high temperatures above 70°F the last couple of days, and it looks to continue today and tomorrow!
This has caught us by surprise, but we're determined to make the most of it. So today I'm heading to our storage unit to collect our Blackstone griddle, camping table and chairs so we can have our first grill of 2020!
All around us, life is waking up after winter - spring is well and truly upon us! The birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming and we're looking forward to our first spring in Vermont.