The autumn leaves are getting pale, though probably down by the river they are still bright. Here, though, they are pale. It’s definitely a result of the prolonged drought. I hope the drought is ending. We got a inch and a half of rain earlier in the week and we are supposed to get more over the weekend. We have a big water deficit to make up: about 9 inches in Boston and about 7 or 8 inches locally. I hope we are (finally) on our way!
These were taken by Garry and me between August and October 2020.
Photo: Garry Armstrong -The house in summer
Photo: Garry Armstrong -Duke at the gate
Back end of a bird
Photo: Garry Armstrong – Bird feeders from below (see the birds?)
Most of the squirrels eat early in the morning and occasionally at twilight, but now and again, we get a midday squirrel.
Most of these look as if they’ve been injured. This one has a tail that looks like something took a bite out of the middle. Otherwise, he seems okay. No big scars or wounds, but he has had a fight with something. A fox maybe?
He also wants to live on the deck. Short of going on to the deck and acting like I’m going to “remove” him from the feeder, he is willing to spend the entire day on the deck including lounging in the sun on the railing.
There are all those flying squirrels … and then there are the squirrels that leap from branch to branch. No gliding, but some very serious leaping!
And they are always up there … and up and up. The squirrels haven’t taken possession of the feeders this year nearly as much as they did last year. Maybe it’s all the competition from the rather aggressive Cowbirds and woodpeckers, and of course the night raids by dozens of flying squirrels and the raccoons.
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.
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.
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.
Three snowy birds
Goldfinch (yes, they are back) and a Chickadee
Winter is here, the Juncos are back
Goldfinch and Chickadee
A Goldfinch, Titmouse, and Junco
Goldfinch and Chickadee
Goldfinch and flying Titmouse
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.
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?
There’s a story to go with these pictures. It’s one of my “Is my mind really going? Should I be taking something or stop taking something?”
I got lucky. I had the camera, I got a nearly perfect focus on the birds, the squirrel and then the chipmunk showed up too. It was the last golden leaves of Autumn. I took more than 100 pictures which I rarely do in the house.
This was a really busy day. I was running up and down to see how the contractor was doing and all three dogs were barking like mad.
Owen was coming in and out, bringing his stuff back. And my stairlift goes down ONE flight. I have to haul ass on the other stairs … and I’m off my pain meds because my body needs a break or at least, it sure feels like a break.
In the middle of this, there were all these creatures on the deck and I had a camera. They were incredibly cute and for once, I got the focus just about perfect — most of the time, anyway.
I thought about putting this post up later in the week, but it seemed so “now-ish” what with the storm coming and all the leaves coming down tonight.
Here is the story.
I took all these pictures and I did what I do … more to the point, I did what I thought I always do. I took the chip out of the camera and stuck it in the card reader in my computer. Then I watered all the plants (I’ve been intending to do it for a week), moved some money so I could pay the contractor, realized I’d run out of checks, realized I still had checks from when I first opened this account but I had to find them. (I did.)
Somewhere in this process, I lost track of the chip with the pictures. I looked through every chip I own. I checked to make sure I really did take the chip out of the big Olympus.
Finally, my last hope, I looked in my mini Leica — which is the one I used to take pictures of the doors and the contractor — and there was the chip. Apparently, I pulled the chip out of the reader and stuck it in the other camera. I have no memory of doing it, but obviously, I did.
I keep saying miracles happen. I consider this to be one of them.
This is our squirrel. He shows up in the middle of the day and hangs around, in the most literal sense, for hours. He wraps himself around the feeder like a fur coat, hanging by one paw or two, upside down, or completely twisted into a configuration that’s hard to figure out.
He definitely does not have back problems and I’m pretty sure he thinks he lives on our deck.
The definition of the word means “knowing events or information before it is available,” but the word is usually used to mean “having a sense of what is coming.” Like me, having a sick feeling despite all the surveys, Hillary was not going to win. It is also prescient knowing that the little squirrel is hiding in the branch of that tree, waiting for me to stop waiting by the window so he can come back for more black seeds.
We have one young one who is totally hooked on black sunflower seeds and will settle for nothing else. He would be there 24 hours a day if I didn’t occasionally come outside and tell him he really needs to move on.
Prescient is that feeling you get when someone very sick is going to die … you just “feel” it. I’ve often watched my dogs communicate with each other. Without words, they seem to know what the others want — or they are letting them know what’s happening with just a nose-to-nose sniff.
Animals use non-verbal communication constantly. It isn’t prescient … it’s just non-verbal communications that I bet we could use if we wanted to. I suspect we did, too, before we started to chatter all the time. I think we all could, like our dogs, tell each other “things” without words or formal knowledge. We still do it. Couples use “the look” a lot. It’s the look which says “let’s split” or “that guy’s an idiot.” We know the look, we know its meaning. We pick right up on it.
So we are all prescient at some level.
Can I read tomorrow’s news without a newspaper? Sure I can. Trump will do something insulting and evil while everyone acts as if it’s normal. England will still not know what to do about Brexit. Half the world will hate refugees and the other half will be refugees.
Most foreknowledge is solidly based on past knowledge. You know what always happens, so you have no doubts what is about to happen. Is that prescience or experience? Both?
Most of the squirrels who come to hang out on the flat feeder are bigger and fatter. They have scars, some of them relatively new and raw. This was quite a small squirrel. Not scars that I could see, not even a mismatched grown-in area of fur. Maybe still a young one.
Not yet a survivor. I wondered how he would do with all the dangers surrounding him. It was like watching your little one and hoping they will survive kindergarten … or freshman year … or … parenthood!
Making My Home A Haven is important to me. Sharing homemaking skills. Recipes and food. Bible Studies. This is a treasure chest of goodies. So take a seat. Have a glass of tea and enjoy. You will learn all about who I am.