squirrels

Two Kinds of Squirrels

This, maybe, if I’m not too late, is my entry to Evil Squirrel’s Contest of Whatever.

“Aw, nuts!” Skippy the Squirrel screeched as he stared at the remains of his nest laying in the middle of the road.

Skippy had already had a rough morning.

He’d been chased away from the feeder by the Mutant Monster that had been terrorizing all the gray squirrels in the neighborhood.

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The Mutant Monster, aka Little Red

He’d been chased away from his stash by that grumpy Stellar’s Jay with the dangly wing.

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And now this!

“Uh, oh! What have we here?”

Skippy jumped as Whitey bounded out of the underbrush and stopped to stare at Skippy’s nest.

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Whitey, who now has even more white than shown here

“Uh, just some wind damage,” Skippy said.

“Wind?” Whitey said, looking around at the calm day.

“Yeah, didn’t you hear that rogue gust? It was crazy. Came out of nowhere!” Skippy said. “But no big deal. I’ll just haul my nest back up into the tree and it will be good as new.”

THUMP, THUMP! – A car ran over Skippy’s nest, smashing it to bits.

“Awwww, nuts! What else can go wrong?” Skippy wailed.

Whitey gasped. “Skippy, you must never, ever ask that question! Hasn’t anyone told you about Murphy’s Law, that whatever can go wrong will go wrong? Everyone knows the sure fire way to activate Murphy’s Law is to ask what else can go wrong.”

“What? That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard!” Skippy said.

“It’s true,” Whitey said. “It happened to me. I got chomped on by the Black and White Menace and I asked what else could go wrong and a car ran over the end of my tail the very same day!”

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The Black and White Menace, aka Gary

“Do you think maybe your tail got run over because you were standing in the road?” Skippy asked, looking pointedly to where Whitey still stood frozen in the road.

“I don’t see what that could have to do with it. It was Murphy’s Law, plain and simple!” said Whitey. He gave Skippy a dirty look before hopping across the road and disappearing into the bushes.

Skippy shook his head and decided to put some distance between himself and the fallen, broken nest. It wouldn’t do to have everyone know he’d done such a lousy job of building his nest that it had come crashing down on such a calm day. There were two kinds of squirrels in the world – Sensible Squirrels and Screwball Squirrels and Skippy did not want to be labeled a Screwball Squirrel. Screwball Squirrels did things like:

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Skippy hopped into the Pearson’s front yard where he’d buried a stash of peanuts under a patch of moss a few days ago. He lifted the edge of the patch of moss. No nuts.

“Aw, nuts!” said Skippy.

“Hey, Skippy!” A voice said.

Skippy looked around and saw Claire’s head peeking out from the Pearson’s garbage can.

“I found some nachos. Do you want to try some?” Claire asked.

Skippy hesitated. Claire was very, very cute.

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And Skippy was very, very hungry. But Sensible Squirrels didn’t root around in garbage cans like nasty old raccoons.

“Come on, Skippy! This stuff is great,” Claire said.

Skippy looked around. There were no other squirrels in sight, so he headed over to the garbage can. What could a few nibbles of garbage possibly hurt?

“Owww!” Skippy yelped as the garbage can lid banged down on his toes.

“Oh, sorry,” Claire said. “The lid slipped right out of my paws.”

“Awwww, nuts!” Skippy exclaimed as he looked at the broken nails on his front paws. How was he supposed to climb trees with broken toe nails? He shot Claire a dirty look and hopped away.

Now what? He was starving and he needed food for energy to build a new nest. Maybe the Mutant Monster wouldn’t see him down at the swing feeder. He ducked under the fence and crossed the back yard.

When he reached the swing feeder, he thought his luck was finally turning. There was no one around. But how to get up there with broken nails? To his suprise, he scrambled right up the birch tree. The rough bark was easy enough to hold on to, even with broken nails.

But then he couldn’t hang on to the feeder. It tipped and he scrambled and it tipped again and he scrambled some more until suddenly he was hanging on tight. Only…

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He was upside down. But it actually worked. He had both front paws free to stuff his face and the feeder didn’t tip like it did when he tried to sit in it.

“This is great!” He thought as he chowed down on handfuls of seed. “I’ve found a better way to use this feeder.”

Then he heard laughter. He looked around…

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and felt his blood go cold. There were at least six squirrels watching him. Some were laughing. Some were shaking their heads in disgust. One was his mom and she did not look amused.

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Um…don’t look too closely for evidence of this grumpy “mom’s” gender….

“Oh, Skippy. I really hoped you wouldn’t turn out to be a Screwball like your father but just look at you!”

“Awww, nuts!” said Skippy the Screwball Squirrel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

pets · squirrels

Squirrelscaping

Last week I saw a strange shape in my garden. When I went out to investigate, I found this:

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Something or someone had dug up one of my onions.

Even though several different types of animals can get into the garden, I knew exactly which something/someone was responsible.

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The squirrels are the critters that have their own ideas about where plants should be and where holes should be. And where nothing but shredded remains should be. I call their activity “squirrelscaping.”

This next photo shows the hill where I planted four pumpkin seeds.

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Now there are three pumpkin seedlings and a big crater. Hmmmm. I wonder where the fourth seed went? This is especially maddening because I’ve offered the little rascals pumpkin seeds and they always reject them.

A few days after finding my unplanted onion, I found one of my tomato plants tipped over with a big hole in the pot next to it. GRRRRR!

Then I found something that really pissed me off.

For weeks, I’d been waiting for my Carolina Reaper seeds to germinate. Finally, from a second planting, one did. I was so excited! I took it to show my son, Daniel, who is the hot pepper enthusiast of the family. And, stupidly, carelessly, I forgot to put the pot back in our little temporary greenhouse. The next day, I found this:

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The empty pot and the tag. No sign of the soil or pepper plant. WTH?

I was furious…but mostly with myself for leaving the doomed pepper out. I mean, how could I be mad at this:

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They’re so cute!

But it’s not just my stuff they’re messing with. Don came back in from the garden last night and said, “I officially hate your squirrels!” One of them had gnawed off a branch of one of the new blueberry bushes he just planted. GRRRR! Why, little rats, why?!?!  Their destruction is so random. At least we know what to expect from our other garden “helpers.” Gary could, and probably will, step, roll or pee on any plant growing directly in the ground.

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And there’s no telling where Gemma’s next cooling hole might be.

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We bought a greenhouse kit but haven’t got it set up yet. I’m worried we won’t have any plants left by the time it’s done!

 

pets

There’s Something About Gary

This dog. I don’t even know where to start describing him. He’s so very…Gary.

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Everything he does, he’s all in, whether it’s trying to chase a squirrel or rabbit while dragging us along on the leash, barking in our faces to bully us into taking him for a walk, begging for food, being a big clown or loving.

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He’s so full of love. He stares at us with absolute, pure love in his eyes. He loves to be cuddled and petted and kissed and talked to. It makes it impossible to be mad at him, even after a rough walk like this morning’s. There were rabbits and squirrels everywhere and he tried to chase them all before dragging me along to try to get to the next one as quickly as possible. He’s a handful. But then we got home and he looked at me with a look that said, “I love you SO much and this is the best day EVER!” and my irritation with him just evaporated.

Ever since he finished his breakfast he’s been following me around with a look that says, “what’s next?” He has high expectations for the day, for some reason. It’s going to be a very Gary day. But that’s okay because there’s just something about Gary that makes every little thing more fun.

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migraine

Jinxed. Thanks, Mom

Sixteen days ago, my mom asked me how my migraines had been. I answered that they had been much better the past few months but, silently, I groaned. Why did she have to ask me that? I was enjoying only have a few migraines per month but I really didn’t want to talk about it because as soon as I say, or even think about, how I haven’t had something painful for awhile, that something returns.

And, sure enough, the next day I woke up with a migraine. And I woke up with a migraine every day for the next thirteen days after that. The past two days have been kind of iffy as well. I can feel a migraine lurking. All it will take is a trigger to set it off. Unfortunately, pretty much all it takes to trigger a migraine for me is leaving my house. People’s smelly perfumes and laundry detergents, headlights from cars, fluorescent lights in stores and offices and all the movement and reflections from cars on the road is all it takes to trigger my migraines when the potential for one is there.

And even more disappointing than having frequent migraines return, is the kind of migraine they’ve been with the weird visual symptoms and what I call “migraine brain.” I’d rather have just a regular old painful as hell migraine than wacky vision and migraine brain. Seriously, the neurological symptoms are more debilitating than the pain. For awhile I had migraines that hurt all over my body and I was actually relieved to feel that way instead of crazy and completely wacked-out.

When I have migraine brain, I don’t want to talk to anybody or be around anybody because I can’t talk right. I can’t remember anything to tell anyone and I can’t find the right word for things. I’ll say or think three or four different words that start with f-r before coming up with the word freezer, even with that freezer standing right in front of me. I can’t count, I can’t write, I can’t find anything I’m looking for because I can’t remember what I’m looking for while I’m looking for it.

I spent much of the last two years feeling this way.

In 2018, I had 152 days with migraine symptoms. It seemed like even more because I never knew when the migraines were going to hit. I was afraid to drive or sometimes even go anywhere if someone else was driving.

The migraines started to decrease in frequency last August after I started using progesterone cream. Then they decreased more when I started using maca powder.  Since February, when I started a plant-based diet, I had only had very few mild migraines. I thought I’d found the answer.

Nope. Apparently not.

Dammit.

I’m not going to accept that this is my new normal again though. My allergies are really bad right now, so sinus pressure could be triggering the migraines. Also, my neck has felt really messed up for the past couple of weeks, so that could be a cause as well.

I’m working on creating a good tracker for migraine symptoms and I’ll track them and see how I do for the next few weeks. If they continue, it’s back to the doctor to find another horrible medication with awful side effects to try.

I found this … ah, hell, I can’t think of what it’s called but it seems to have a good list of symptoms because I have most of these. Increased need to urinate – who would’ve thought that was a sign of impending migraine? But it explains that night I was up twice during the night to pee. And food cravings – it explains that week I couldn’t think about anything except food!

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If I’m doomed to experience frequent migraines again, I can at least make it interesting by studying and tracking it. 🙂

squirrels

Surprise Squirrel Photos

I haven’t been able to get any good squirrel photos since we got our squirrel-chasing dog, Gary, in the spring of 2018. If I open the door to take photos, Gary runs out and chases the squirrels away. I’ve tried taking them through the glass of our slider but the glass is so old, warped and permanently dirty that the photos never turn out. So, I was surprised to see an in-focus squirrel when I uploaded the last batch of photos from my memory card.

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I must have taken these photos during our snowy February.

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And it must have been a few days into the snow event because the squirrels didn’t come around for the first few days. I’m sure they thought they could wait it out because our snow never sticks around for long.

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They would have been pretty hungry if they tried to wait this snow out because we had snow on the ground for the whole month of February, a very rare thing for here. We hadn’t had snow on the ground for weeks at a time since December of 2008.

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After a very mild and boring December and January, the snow was as much of a surprise as the squirrels photos were!

pets

Our Precious Gem

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Gemma is our 3-year-old, mixed-breed-of-some-kind, baby girl. We’ve had her for a year and half.

Gemma is part bouncy, playful puppy, part shy, submissive dog who sometimes slinks around like she thinks we’re going to beat her.

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As if we could even raise our voice to this little sweetie!

She always looks so sweet and innocent.

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Except when she’s play-fighting with our other dog, Gary.

She loves to dig holes, even in the middle of play-fights, which always puzzles Gary.

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Strangely, she doesn’t chase the squirrels and they’re not afraid of her at all but she goes crazy wanting to chase the neighborhood bunnies. She’s got an eagle eye for them too and can spot them from very far away.

Aside from her wanting to shred the neighborhood bunnies, she’s the quietest, most well-behaved dog we’ve ever had. I was worried about getting a dog as young as she was but she’s so easy in every way.

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Sweet Gemma

We could have had it so easy. But just six months after we got Gemma, we brought Gary home. And Gary is many things but easy ain’t one of ’em!

More on Gary later….

midlife crisis

Trying This Blogging Thing Again

After years of fading more and more from the internet, I’ve decided to come back. To WordPress and Instagram. Still not Facebook. Even though most of the people I know are on Facebook, I just can’t make myself go there. Facebook makes me unhappy for reasons I haven’t yet figured out.

WordPress never made me unhappy, I just got overwhelmed by trying to follow too many photo blogs. Photo blogs post a lot, sometimes multiple times a day, every day! And I got involved in the photo challenges and all that and then burned out on it and wanted to change gears but didn’t really know what I wanted to do or how to do it.

Then I fell deeper into the midlife funk I’d been feeling for awhile and I withdrew. That’s what I do. When I’m going through something, I withdraw. I don’t ask for help. I don’t reach out to friends, I just keep to myself. It’s not healthy. And it hasn’t made me happy. So, I’m going to stop doing it.

It’s time for me to wake up and break out of this funk!