SUPER SQUIRRELS – Marilyn Armstrong

I bought a new feeder to replace the one which broke. I knew I needed a different feeder anyway because that small feeder went completely empty every 24 hours. It held 2 pounds of feed and I was a bit baffled as to how that feeder was emptying out so much faster than the other two.

Up in the air I go flying again! Up in the air, and down.

We put up the new feeder last night. It’s huge and holds a full 10-pounds of seeds. You can put in two different kinds of feed because the feeder is divided into two sections. It’s rather heavy, so over the weekend Owen is going to install two new, braced wrought-iron brackets.

Right before bed last night, I turned on the light on the deck, just to see if the new feeder was still on its hook and hadn’t pulled the bracket off the post.

No one was more surprised than I to see lots of furry white animals leaving the feeders. There had to be a dozen of them at least. First, I thought they were squirrels because they didn’t look feathery. They looked fluffy. And very light gray. Almost white.

But then some of them seemed to fly away, so I said “Birds? Big white birds? At night? Birds don’t feed at night unless they are insect eaters like owls. But owls won’t go near the feeders. Not their kind of food — and none of the seed-eating birds will eat at night. As far as I knew, neither do squirrels.

I was right. And I was wrong. It turns out, they were squirrels. Flying squirrels. I had no idea we had flying squirrels in New England. Apparently, we have not one, but two different kinds of flying squirrels here and most people never see them and don’t know they exist in this region. I certainly had no idea.

Not only do we have them, but we have a lot of them, both the northern and southern types. Both these species are small. There are a few (who don’t live here) that are the size of normal gray squirrels, but these are about 6 to 7 inches long and very light grey to nearly white.

On a bird feeder

They live in big nests of up to 50 at a time, are entirely nocturnal, and love birdseed — especially (yummy!) sunflower seeds which comprise about 1/2 of the feed we put out. They aren’t picky and will eat any of the seeds, including nyjer.

We had a flock (are a bunch of flying squirrels a flock?) all over the feeders. Obviously, I didn’t get pictures. It was dark and I wasn’t expecting to see anything. It was a real shock. Especially when they flew off the feeders. We don’t have flying squirrels, do we?

Gliding on the waves of air

Nothing will keep them out of the feeders, either, because baffles people put up to keep out gray squirrels? The flyers just glide in under the baffles. They were all over my three feeders. Of course, as soon as I turned the light on, they fled. In any case, we don’t have baffles. What seems to have happened is that the gray squirrels eat early in the morning and the birds get the rest of the day … and the flying squirrels chow down at night.

Hot pink flying squirrel in ultra-violet light!

Flying squirrels have been around for longer than humans. Their big eyes make seeing at night easier and for some unknown reason, they also glow a fluorescent pink at night. No one knows why.

A SORE SHOULDER AND THE MOUSE CATCHING MAN – Marilyn Armstrong

We live in the woods and many creatures live here too. They lived here first. We are squatters on their land. Among the many other creatures with whom we share space are millions of carpenter ants who periodically try to take over the house. And then, there are mice.

Almost everyone who lives in the country has mice. There are many ways to deal with them. The cheapest and dirtiest is poison bait which they eat and then die.

For the past few years, we’ve had a company “dealing with” our mice and ants. The last company we dealt with promised us that if we bought their “Gold Package,” its price would be reduced each year since there would be less to be done. This year, they raised their price by $200. Meanwhile, despite three years of their support, we still have mice and intermittently, ants, Not only had they promised us a continued price reduction, but we still have mice and ants. I didn’t think they had earned a raise. I’ve been patient, but enough is enough.

I fired them and hired a new one today. The price is exactly the same — about $600 more than we can afford. Regardless, we need pest control. Maybe more than ever.

This very warm winter means the mouse population has been growing, not shrinking as it normally would do in a colder winter. Worse, there will be a lot more insects in the warming months to come. A lot more ants, many more fleas, and a yard full of ticks. And wolf spiders emerging from their little woodland nests searching for more food.

We were up early to meet and greet. He promises to not merely poison mice, but seal up the house so that they stop coming inside. He is sure that in less than a year, we will be mouse-free. And not need a contract.

While all of this was going on, he pulled the stove out from the wall and you can guess what was under there. And so we cleaned. Scraped. Swept. Scrubbed. I washed the floor. I was going to pull out the vacuum and do the living room rug and change the covers on the sofa and love seat.

Our own wolf spider

That was when I realized how sore my right shoulder is. I have to stop using my right arm for a few days. A day or two of light-duty will probably set it right.

I sure hope the mouse guy is right. I would like to solve the problem. Permanently.

SAD MOMENT OF THE DAY – Marilyn Armstrong

I’m making dinner for the dogs. Usually, they all swirl around my feet. This time, Duke was sitting quietly watching me … and Bonnie was waiting at the top of the stairs for Gibbs to come in for dinner.

And there was nothing at all I could say to her except “I’m sorry, Bonnie, but he won’t be coming home again.”

GREAT LIGHT FOR AN ALL BLACK DOG – Marilyn Armstrong

Great light for an all-black dog 


With two black Scotties in the house, getting a good picture of them is really difficult. If there’s too much sun, the sunlit parts look like white patches. If there isn’t enough light, all you see is a fuzzy lump. We recently got Gibbs groomed and he looks very dapper. They trimmed him tightly — not like a show dog but like a dog you are trying to keep clean during a long, muddy winter.

Good light for solid black fur is bright, but not sunny. A day with a flat gray sky with the pictures taken just before the sun came around to the western side of the house. I think this is as good as it gets from the point of view of light for this picture.

Gibbs really looks like the Wolfman. Poor Larry Talbot!

Gibbs has the most soulful eyes.

With the snow and rain coming in waves and the temperature going from bitterly cold to almost spring in as little as three hours — it jumped 40 degrees today between 8 in the morning and noon — gooey mud is a big issue. So are ticks and fleas because we haven’t had weather consistently cold enough to put them into cold storage.

I figured I’d better take pictures while he still looked good. In another week, he’ll look all grubby again.

THERE’S STARLIGHT IN ALL OF US, BUT SOMETIMES NOT ENOUGH #5 – Marilyn Armstrong

There’s starlight in us all, but not enough …

My long birding lens is a 100-300mm whose lowest f stop is f4. That’s it. For my camera, there is no faster lens this long. This IS the faster lens. The other one was f4.8.

If you don’t take pictures and use lenses, you probably have no idea what an f stop is, but for the rest of you, you know that an f stop indicates how “open” the lens diaphragm is and thus, how much light will let in … and therefore, how bright the picture will be.

Are you still with me? To make this even more interesting, the bigger the opening is, the smaller the number is for that f stop. Do not ask me why. Whoever invented cameras way back when made that decision and the numbers make no sense. You just memorize them, or at least you did when I started photography …  fifty years ago.

Despite the fact that almost all cameras work well in automatic and if your eyes are like mine, probably better, some of us persist in trying to take pictures based on the lens aperture or “film speed.” There is no film, but it used to be film speed. Today, it’s ASA or something like that. I let the camera take care of that.

In the manual camera in which I began my photographic hobby, there was no battery. No electronics of any kind. There wasn’t even a light meter. We used handheld light meters. Also, there was a piece of paper inside the Kodak film box that told you what settings to use for different kinds of light. We called it “the paper meter” and it worked surprisingly well. There were only three things (other than what film to choose) you needed to learn: f stop (lens aperture), shutter speed (how long the shutter stays open), and of course, remembering what speed the film is. Because if you forgot, it messed up your pictures and in those days, you had to pay for all that blurry, unusable film. Photography was expensive.

I had to rebuild all my bird feeders today. One had been knocked to the ground so often, it was no longer round. You just couldn’t get the top or bottom to fit. The flat feeder allowed the seeds to become mush as it has been raining all the time. Or it may just seem that way. It was disgusting and I finally threw it away. We do toss a lot of seed over the fence for the ground feeders. If you peer over the deck rail, you’ll see all the ground feeding birds there. Hard to take pictures of them, though.

So this is about light. Not the light in the picture, but the light I didn’t have enough of when I took the pictures. Not to mention the nearly dead battery that I hadn’t changed before I shot. The battery marker was flashing orange — a bad sign because when the battery is nearly dead, there’s not a lot of zest to the camera — and it’s an f4 lens which I had inadvertently set on aperture — which was definitely wrong for such low light.

The light was very low. It was a few minutes past sunset. There was light, but not much. My 50mm f1.8 lens would have done fine. Even an f2.8 lens might have been okay. But that lens didn’t do it and every single picture I took of a very lovely Cardinal was blurry. Twenty shots, twenty blurs. Some so blurred I just deleted them and seventeen probably need to be dumped, too.

So there’s starlight in all of us, but not enough to take a clear shot after sundown in mid-winter with a 100-300 f4 telephoto lens. And if your camera needs a new battery? For heaven’s sake, just put one in. If the bird flies away, so be it but the pictures you take with your nearly dead battery aren’t going to be great anyway.

Four pictures here from the same chip. The photo of the two juncos was sharp, but I had to crop it a lot to make it square and then do a lot of stuff to get rid of the noise from cropping so tight.

Photography is all about light. The two pictures of Cardinals are impressionistic because they weren’t sharp enough to show otherwise. Blessings upon the creators of filters and especially Topaz. This is as good as it gets when you don’t have the light. Sometimes, you can’t take the picture, no matter how much you want to.

And now, the Juncos. They really didn’t want to be square, but I did it anyway!

Two Juncos on the deck

THE BONUS SQUARES – Marilyn Armstrong

BONUS SQUARES

There is actually a chip in one of my cameras, but there’s nothing much on it yet. I just inserted it. I’ve gotten into the habit of replacing a chip as soon as I remove one so that I won’t have one of those “moments” when you realized you removed the SD card, but forgot to put another one in. This way, I make sure there’s always a usable battery AND and card. Now, if only I would stop panicking every time I can’t see out of my lens and check to make sure I’ve removed the lens cap!

These are the last pictures I took on New Year’s Eve afternoon.

Squirrel on the feeder

Feeding time!

I should mention that both these squirrels were eating at the same time and two more were waiting on the wood railing.

 

OPPOSITIONS IN COLOR – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Opposing Colors

As often as we say “opposites attract, ” mostly we are not talking about colors. But opposites do attract, though they may not stay together for long periods.

On the color wheel, the opposites are:

  • Blue/Orange
  • Yellow/Purple
  • Red/Green

I don’t think I’ve ever worn a combination of blue and orange or yellow with purple. Back when we had autumn, red and green were a popular combination and always are at Christmas.

Let me see what I can find!

Bluebird on the fence – the perfect blue and orange combination!

And then, there is are bluebirds, a perfect natural combination of orange (some say red, but it really IS orange). What man may forego, nature brings perfectly to life!

Bluebird

And finally, red and green!

The shed from the side

Mumford Dam in October

The Blackstone River in the fall

And do it goes! Colors in nature and in our little world. Here’s to a vastly improved decade!

TOTALLY UNHINGED – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Unhinged


I’m voting for Yang. Even if he isn’t the nominee, he’s my guy. Anyone who’ll give me magic mushrooms and enough money to live on? My man!

The laughing Flamingo?

Does everyone feel as if they fell into the rabbit hole and that last mushroom made them huge — or tiny. My plastic flamingo is running around the garden laughing at me. I need to drink something that will make me … real.

Because I too am unhinged!

BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE! – Marilyn Armstrong

Following the snow came the arctic blast from somewhere in the northwest. The sun was out when I got up, so it was a beautiful gleaming woods. The birds, for a change, had control of the feeders … but sneak squirrels had a takeover in mind.

Frozen woods

Ice everywhere

The birds didn’t feel like giving up the feeders and they flew around him until he went to a nearby tree to hang out for a while. Not for very long, though. A determined squirrel is not easily deterred.

Up a tree, thinking about seeds

Getting ready for another assault on the feeder

It’s really COLD out here! Where are those seeds?

Hunger no more! I’m home at last.

WORDS AND WILDLIFE – Marilyn Armstrong

I have no doubt my dogs think. They don’t have as long a memory as people and I don’t think they get into nostalgia or reminiscing, but they plan. They will work together to accomplish a particular goal. Like opening a gate, dismembering a toy, or opening a door. No doubt they would hunt together too. Dogs are pack animals.

They communicate. One will get up, walk to another. They look at each other, then both of them go and wake a third dog. After which all three go out to bark at something only they can see — or ramble into the kitchen to remind us they need dinner. I suspect they believe we won’t remember to feed them unless they remind us.

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What forms do their thoughts take? It isn’t words. Even though they can understand some words when we use them, I doubt that’s how they form ideas. So they must think using other senses. How much is visual? Do they think in sound and scent? They know what they want. They can be remarkably clever and creative in getting what they want,  but how do they plan without using language?

Now and again, I try to “think” without words. I always fail. Inevitably, anything in my head comes with narration and subtexts.

Dolphins and whales talk to each other in their own language, or so we believe. Apes can be taught to communicate with humans using sign language, but it’s not their native form of communication. The words we use are species-specific. More to the point, human-specific. Although we can teach other creatures to understand and sometimes even use our words, it’s not normal for them. They are bright enough to “get it,” but if not taught, they would be perfectly content to think in the manner that comes naturally to them.

People need words. It’s not only how we communicate. It’s basic to our understanding of the world. It’s how we categorize objects and ideas — and remember.

In the human world, ideas and concepts don’t exist without words. Language has the hooks on which we hang everything, real and conceptual. We are the only species who need a spoken language and absolutely the only creature who writes. Along with our opposable thumb, it’s how we rule the earth.

If we were to lose our languages, we would probably lose it all. I don’t think our thumbs would save us.

HUMANS RIGHTS — Marilyn Armstrong

I read an article a while back which announced with solemnity and more than a few pie charts, that dogs — our dogs, your dogs, pet dogs — don’t like being hugged. Not merely do they not like being hugged and display measurable levels of stress when hugged, but they really hate being kissed and nuzzled.

The article suggests a pat on the head … and a treat … would be much more appreciated. Not by Garry or me. We figure fair-is-fair — we get to do our thing, too.

Garry, Bonnie, and Gibbs – A moment of zen

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I know they don’t like being hugged. It’s obvious. They stiffen and put their ears back when we hug them. They also don’t like it when I grab their tail and refuse to let it go.

That’s what all the growling and head butting is about. You can almost hear them sigh, wondering when you’ll be through with this nonsense and get on to the important stuff, namely distributing cookies.

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I told Garry about the study. He said: “Tough. They’ll just have to cope. Because I like it.” My thoughts exactly.

Our dogs are disrespectful. Messy. Flagrantly disobedient. They are masters and mistresses of selective hearing. Do I believe for a single moment when we tell them to go out and they stand there, in front of the doggy door, ignoring us, it’s because they don’t understand what we want from them? I’m supposed to think if I stand in the doorway calling them, that they can’t hear me? Or — at the least — know I want them to come in? Of course, they know. They’re just playing with us.

Bonnie and Gibbs have gotten kind of deaf, so now I never know for sure if they are messing with me or not. Now that Owen has moved in, they bark at least twice as much as before.

Typically, they sleep until about seven, then they begin barking. Bonnie is the starter because she has NO manners at all and because she urgently wants cookies and attention. Since being put on a diet, her urgency about cookies has doubled, too.

We stagger to our feet. Give them some attention accompanied by cookies. While we are at it, we clear out Bonnie’s goopy eye and Garry takes his early morning medications. I refill my glass of juice and we go back to bed. That settles them down for a while.

Now, though, when Owen gets up — he being the early bird — they all go into a crazed barking frenzy. As soon as he comes upstairs, they calm down. I believe they lack patience.

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Duke and Gibbs are passionate about him and have their version of a fight over him even though he isn’t in the room yet. They hear him (how deaf IS Gibbs)?  Bonnie barks because she likes to bark. In fact, she barks for long periods every day, which gets the other two barking. You can’t have a conversation, listen to a book, or watch TV when they are barking. It’s deafening.

I should add that they do all this insane barking indoors so as not to annoy the neighbors. Aren’t we lucky?

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Since they persist in disrespecting us, they will have to deal with our periodic compulsion to give them hugs, nuzzling, and the occasional (“Yuck! Stop that you stupid humans!”) kiss them on their big black noses. It’s a small price to pay for unlimited sofa lounging, high-quality treats, and silly humans getting down on the floor to play with them. Not to mention having to cope with their early morning concerto. Good grief, they are loud.

Garry sleeps through it, the single advantage to deafness. With his head-gear off, he could sleep through a full cannon barrage.

We put up with them, so they will have to put up with us. That’s our part of the deal. Just to add our insult to their injury, we intentionally wake them up when they are sleeping. This morning, the three of them broke open the door and Duke, the only one with long legs, jumped all over Garry. That got us up. But they seem to know Garry is the serious sleeper because they never jump on me.

This might be a good time to mention that we’ve finally got Bonnie’s eyes under control. You know how vets only give you official medications? They never try anything that isn’t (a) expensive, (b) made from chemicals whose names you can’t pronounce, or (c) might be natural and yet work anyhow.

Her eyes were getting worse and worse and she had this big red thing in her eye that the vet said needed surgery and so did everything I could find on the Internet. In a fit of desperation, I picked up a Veterinycyn (probably spelled wrong) spray bottle of natural microbial natural stuff that is supposed to clear up pink-eye and get the goop out of her eyes.

It eliminated the redness within three days — something no other medicine has done. Why didn’t any of the various vets at three different offices consider the possibility of common pink-eye as an issue? She has had this problem for most of her life and never once did any of the vets suggest it. Yet is it incredibly common to all mammals, including us. Not only that, but that ugly red mass began to shrink and is barely visible just one week later.

Surgery? Nope. One 16-ounce bottle of pink-eye spray from Amazon. Good for dogs, horses, cats and guinea pigs. I bet it would work for me. It says it’s for pets only, but I’ve learned that this is not necessarily true. I know, for example, that the Pfizer medication we use on her eyes is identical to the stuff we get for our eyes and ears. Identical ingredients, same manufacturer — but the human stuff is packaged better and is much cheaper.

Also, we bought special baking soda spray for her terrible teeth (and some we put in the water for all the dogs). All the dogs have stopped having bad breath and Bonnie’s teeth are getting whiter day by day. When they breathe, it sure does smell better. The vet assured us it could NEVER work. Only the $800 tooth job could help. It turns out that baking soda is the primary active ingredient (along with fluoride) in toothpaste and mouthwash. For animals and people. Look it up.

She will need work done on her mouth, but we don’t have the money now and won’t for a while. Not to mention that Bonnie’s teeth were done once a year last year and for two years before that, so they should not BE that bad.

If this were one single vet, I’d change vets. But this is four or five vets in three different offices and not a single one considered pink-eye as a problem. Yes, she also has dry-eyes, but the redness and the nasty red thing in her eye were all part of the neglected pink eye.

Bad diagnoses are just as likely to come from human doctors. I can vouch for that.

Getting Bonnie on a diet has given her a new lease on life. She no longer weighs like two cinder blocks. She’s definitely a single cinder-block dog now.

She charges up the stairs at full tilt and she is outside running around as if she were five years younger. She still, sadly, remains deaf, but maybe we’ll find a fix for that, too!

A PET GOAT? – BY ELLIN CURLEY

Goats were the first livestock species to be domesticated, about 10,000 years ago. Scientists believe that dogs and cats can connect with humans because of changes in their brains over thousands of years of domestication and companionship with humans.

Did goats experience the same brain evolution as dogs and cats? Researchers from Queen Mary University in London have studied goats and believe the answer is yes.

Adorable dwarf baby goat

This research has shown that goats are quite intelligent (unlike sheep) and they interact with humans in similar ways as our domesticated house pets, such as cats and dogs. There is also strong evidence that goats are capable of complex communications with humans.

There is a classic experiment that separates wolves (non-domesticated) from dogs (domesticated). This experiment was done with goats and they reacted like the dogs, not the wolves. The subject animals were all trained to open a box in order to receive a treat. Then the researchers made the box impossible to open and watched what the animals did. The wolves just kept trying to do what had opened the box before. But the dogs and goats both stopped fairly quickly and looked over to their owners in a pleading manner – asking their humans for help in getting the treat.

Dogs and goats also gazed longer at the person doing the experiment when that person was looking at them because they understood that they had the human’s attention. That is clear evidence of communication and emotional connection between the species.

Affectionate goat

Goats have also proved their superior intelligence by figuring out how to break into a sealed box using levers and the goats can even remember this skill four years later! This is a test used by researchers to gauge the intelligence of apes.

Household goat

I’ve seen videos online of goats brought up from birth as house pets and I must say, they look adorable. They are smart and affectionate but are also very curious and mischievous. They can become clever escape artists and can do damage to a house. Not a pet for everyone. But I know dogs who are extremely difficult and destructive, so how much worse can a goat be?

Goats in coats

Apparently, goats eat and evacuate throughout the day, so the best you can hope for in housebreaking a goat is to train him to go in a specific place, like a kitty litter box. It’s been suggested that the best way to keep a pet goat is to have an outdoor structure for him to live in part of the time and only stay in the house when the temperature is extreme outside and/or when the goat can be supervised indoors.

Throughout my long life with pets, I have become attached to birds, frogs, turtles, snakes, hamsters, and rabbits as well as cats and dogs. So I can definitely see falling in love with an interactive and intelligent animal like a goat.

I don’t plan to goat proof my house any time soon, but I like the idea of bringing unusual pets into the family.

THUS QUOTH THE RAVENMASTER – By ELLIN CURLEY

In this work, there are some unusual professions. Many of them exist within the British Royal Household, like Keeper of the Queen’s Stamps, Grand Carver, and Royal Clock Winder. However, the one that caught my eye was written about on October 21, 2018, in the Washington Post: Ravenmaster.

The Ravenmaster cares for the seven ravens who reside at the Tower of London, the 11th-century fortress that is one of Britain’s most popular tourist sites. It was a prison and an execution site for many nobles — Anne Boleyn being a primary example.

The Tower holds numerous lurid stories throughout its long and brutal history, though it was originally built as a tower for the earliest royal family (post-Norman invasion).

Christopher Skaife in his regular Ravenmaster uniform

Ravens seem to have started living at the Tower in the Victorian era when the Gothic Revival was in full swing. Charles Dickens kept a raven as a pet.

The Tower birds are now celebrities in their own right and they receive loving and meticulous care from the current Ravenmaster, Christopher Skaife. He gives them treats of dog biscuits soaked in blood and he has had to climb parts of the Tower to retrieve rogue ravens.

Treats for the ravens

Mr. Skaife was a machine gunner in the British Army for 24 years and then became a Yeoman Warder, one of 37 élite guards who are keepers of tradition and tour guides. He now lives at the Tower with his family. It must be fun for his kids to bring friends ‘home’ for playdates!

The Tower ravens come from bird breeders. They are wild, though acclimated to humans. They roam free during the day. At night, Skaife has to round them up and put them in airy enclosures to protect them from foxes, who ate two ravens in 2013.

Night enclosures

In the morning, Skaife releases the birds in careful order, from least dominant to the most dominant. The birds apparently have a very strict hierarchy which the Ravenmaster must respect. They have also divided the tower into individual territories according to that hierarchy.

Ceremonial Ravenmaster uniform

The birds are scavengers and like to rummage through the trash cans. They are particularly fond of potato chips but they don’t like the flavored kind, like cheddar or onion. So they wash the flavored chips in puddles to get rid of the extra flavoring, which is very clever! Ravens are surprisingly bright compared to other birds, probably on par with parrots.

They are also known to steal sandwiches from children.

Ravens at Tower

Ravens can fly but not too far or too often. They can fly to the roof or the ramparts, but that’s about it. Previous caregivers would trim their feathers so they couldn’t fly at all. But one bird, on Skaife’s watch, climbed up some scaffolding and leaped off it. He died in Skaife’s arms so Skaife will no longer limit the ravens’ flight.

Once one raven did manage to escape the Tower and flew down the Thames River. She was captured by a local birdwatcher who recognized the bracelet on her leg as belonging to the Tower flock. The Good Samaritan put the raven in her gym bag and returned her to her home.

Raven at the Tower

I love all animals so this job caught my imagination. While not the cutest or friendliest of birds, it must be gratifying to preserve a long-held tradition at a historically famous site. Caring for a ‘conspiracy’ or an ‘unkindness’ of ravens, the words for a group of ravens is clearly not a job for everyone.

After eleven years, Christopher Skaife is still going strong at his job. He’s even written an autobiography. Who knew that being a Ravenmaster could be the route to becoming a published author!

FAT SQUIRRELS! – Marilyn Armstrong

We don’t have the fastest, leaping squirrels. They don’t do tricks. What they do is hang around and eat. A lot. I took some pictures. You tell me if this squirrel doesn’t have the fattest butt you’ve seen on a wild squirrel!

Impressionist squirrels. So they don’t all look exactly the same.

Looking around. Are there any more feeders? I could use another snack.

A well-rounded bottom

All he needs is a golf club and he’ll look like you-know-who but with MUCH better hair.

SQUIRREL ON A COLD, SNOWY DAY – Marilyn Armstrong

Just as I feel the birds need feeding — because when the weather is like this, they starve and freeze pretty fast — I know squirrels need to feed too. I’m doing a pretty good job at letting the squirrels eat all morning and the birds eat in the afternoon.

Maybe they’ll get used to the routine and start to cope without human intervention?

Up to the rail having jumped from the tree

A quick taste?

A few more seeds

Yummy!

Dinner is better eaten upside down!

BIRDS AND THE FIRST SNOW WITH ONE SQUIRREL — Marilyn Armstrong

This is not the first major storm on the second day of December. There was a blizzard in Boston in December in the mid-1990s. The thing is, when we got significant early snow, it generally means that it’s going to be a rough winter. A snowy winter. Last year was, as we say around here, a piece of cake.

Not this year.

Oh how much I want to be wrong about this. And, you never know. We might have a month of fine weather after this. Even two months. It has happened. In terms of weather? If you live around here, EVERYTHING has happened and not just once.

The birds were really hungry today. There were flocks of them surrounding the feeders. I know the squirrels line up in the morning and I let them have the morning to feed, but by lunchtime, it’s time to let the rest of the wildlife have some food. If it were possible to actually reason with the feathery and furry crew, I’d explain that they could share. Squirrels on one feeder, birds on the other.

Sharing!

In fact, I have a picture — something you never see: a Chickadee and a squirrel together on one feeder. If a squirrel and a Chickadee can do it, why can’t our senators and congresspeople be equally reasonable?