Tag Archives: squirrels

Moving Day

11 Jun

In an effort to keep the raccoons from eating the bird seed, and the male fox from eating the squirrels, we have begun feeding both sets of critters out by the woods, instead of feeding the ring-tailed beasts on the carport and the “red coats” in the back forty.  In addition to filling the birdfeeders, we still put peanuts and seed in a 5 foot length of PVC pipe outside the den window so the squirrels can get them and the blue jays can’t.

This morning when I went out to feed the “house pets” the pipe was missing.

I looked in the front yard, and The Squire walked along the stream to see if the raccoon had dragged it up the hill. Nada. The pipe is far too narrow for the raccoons to get into, so whatever went on last night must have been very interesting.

A shame we missed the show.

The Birdseed Blunder

27 Dec

The way we blow through birdseed around here you’d think they were going to stop packaging it.

We get most of our seed, a blend called Tree Nutty, at a place called “Wild Birds, Unlimited”. It’s a bit pricey, but they give us a nice discount, plus a $10 rebate for every $200 we spend, and I hate to admit how much we’re “earned”.  And then there’s the peanuts…

This is supposed to be a bad winter (although it is nearly the New Year and the temps all week have been in the 40s and 50s during the day) so I purchased a couple of bags of really cheap seed at the grocery store. When it snows we get starlings and grackles; they push everybody else out of the way, and shovel down whatever they can find, so “let ’em eat milo” is my attitude. Not even the blue jays will touch the stuff! (If you don’t know what this is, it resembles miniature dog kibble. I understand pheasants like it, but that is one of the few birds we don’t have here.)

When we went to the Y on Monday, we were running low but we figured we’d be up there again Wednesday morning, and could stock up then. Well, first The Squire and then I came down with bronchitis, and we not only didn’t make it to the Y, we didn’t get to church, or to Christmas Dinner with the in-laws.

Thursday (Christmas Day) I had to break open my stash of emergency birdseed, and let tell you, it was NOT greeted with enthusiasm. We have two feeders on the hook closest to the house, and the squirrels frequently get the square one spinning, so it comes unscrewed and falls on the ground.  I just left it there and filled it with the seed. Rather than eat from the tray at the bottom, the squirrels stood on their hind legs and reached down into the feeder, looking for something fit to eat. One enterprising fellow finally climbed into the feeder and was digging around, wildly throwing seed into the air, all willy-nilly.

This morning, The Squire hauled himself up the road and got Tree Nutty and finch food, so all is forgiven and there is once again peace in the valley.

Nature Watching

28 Sep

We have two hummingbird feeders and three regular bird feeders right outside the den window. This is part of the reason I never get anything done.

Even this late in the year, we are still getting hummingbirds, tanking up, I suppose, for the long trip south. After the squirrels have eaten the seed and peanuts we put out in the morning, they know just how far away to start their running leap to land on top of the guard, and then hop up onto the feeders, dangling upside down to eat the seed there. I’m not sure of the reason for this, exactly, as there are now plenty of acorns, which can be collected without the calisthenics. However, with all the bending and stretching, we have noticed at least one female seems to still be nursing, even though it is pushing the first of October. A little late in the year for that, girl.

The Squire and I are trying to pin down a new bird. The bird has a particularly raucous cry, which sometimes wakes me in the morning, but The Squire can’t hear it without his hearing aids. He has marvelous eyesight, but I can’t see the bird without my driving glasses.

Teamwork.

 

Flying Squirrel

12 Jun

Squirrel at feeder

A squirrel just flew past my window.  Broad daylight, and definitely not your standard flying squirrel.

We have had a bird feeder outside our den window for years, which attracts all sorts of birds, and a fair number of squirrels, who are not the least bit deterred by the fact that they have to shimmy up a metal pole to reach the feeder.  We also get indigo buntings, cardinals, red breasted grosbeaks, titmice, chickadees, gold finches, and numerous other birds.

And there’s enough seed to go around.

Several weeks ago, The Squire purchased a cone-shaped squirrel guard (yeah, riiiight) and attached it to the pole.  The squirrels have learned exactly how far away from the pole they must be to jump right past the guard and reach the feeder.                                             pyramid 2

However, this morning was another kettle of fish entirely, as a small furry body whizzed past my line of vision and hit the feeder.   The little stinkers have started climbing a “pyramid” we use for vines, such as peas and string beans, and launching themselves through the air – about five feet – to land on the feeder.  When I went out to take this shot, there were three of them sitting on the cross pieces, like airplanes on the tarmac, waiting for take off.

For what it’s worth, that length of PVC pipe is where we put peanuts every morning. The squirrels are willing to go into the tube, but the blue jays are not. And all that tall stuff in the background is iris; the ground is far, far too wet to mow there. We have to wait until we have near drought conditions or the ground freezes to cut them down. The Squire says it would be easier to mow chocolate pudding.

The property is listed on the tax assessment as “marsh land”. The Rice Paddy; that’s us.

 

Fickle Fellow

31 Mar

Although The Squire always feeds the foxes and fills the big bird feeder in the evening, the morning feedings seem to have evolved into my job.

Blazer won’t even come downstairs until I get out of bed, and after I take my morning meds I can’t eat for an hour, so I generally fill the two smaller feeders and put out peanuts for the squirrels. This morning, The Squire said the squirrel I call Patches was sitting under the front of my car, his little hands folded over his chest, staring at the door. This particular squirrel will come running from the other side of the stream when he sees me come out the kitchen door, and always accepts peanuts from my fingers.

Since the poor thing was giving every indication he was going to faint from hunger, The Squire got the pitcher to fill the pipe we use to feed the little critters, and stepped outside. He hadn’t gotten three steps when Patches raced over, sat on his shoe top, and had his hands on my husband’s leg, ready and waiting to be fed.  He gobbled down one peanut while the Squire filled the pipe, and was sitting beside him, waiting for a second peanut in less than a minute.

Ah, the way to a man’s heart – even when he has claws and a long bushy tail!

Unatsi. Shnee. Neige. śnieg. Neve.

13 Feb

Whatever you call it, we have it.

Eddie snowWe got a foot of snow, starting at 8:00 last night, and it was still coming down when I got out of bed this morning. Between 7 AM and 10, we got another inch. Eddie is convinced that if the back door is blocked, then surely he can get out of the front door. Within the space of an hour he had been in and out three times, and gotten no further than the edge of the carport. As you can tell from the set of his shoulders, he is totally pissed. (This is the view from the front porch.)

I did see two squirrels outside the den window, and – I’m as crazy as they are – slogged around the corner to put out a dish of peanuts. The snow was still very soft and fluffy, and each time they hopped, they disappeared under the snow. Much wiggling and throwing mini-snow volcanos, while they gathered their feet under them, and then another hop.  (Notice the blue dish in the snow.) Of course, they ran away when I went out and by the time they returned, the Blue Jays had carried off the peanuts.

And then the starlings arrived en masse. It’s no wonder we run out of birdseed so quickly.

birdseedThe Squire went out and shoveled paths to both bird feeders, and then walked as far as he could down the drive.  About fourteen inches, a light rain right now, and more snow expected later this evening. A sort of winter lasagna.  The SHA has plowed the main drag, so we have a four foot ice dam at the end of the lane. Just thank God it isn’t blowing and drifting.

We may be here until Spring.

I had lined up three doctor’s appointments for tomorrow, and have already “officially” cancelled one.  Somebody sent me an email saying Harford County had declared a State of Emergency, with only 4-wheel and all-wheel vehicles allowed on the roads until late Saturday, so that pretty well takes care of that.

We don’t live in Harford County – half a mile outside – so we don’t get these robo-calls. I wonder if there’s a way to sign up for them?

Breakfast on the Patio

18 Dec

The Squire and I put out peanuts for the squirrels every morning. We have two lengths of PVC pipe, into each of which we put about three cups of peanuts, shoving them in as far as possible, so the blue jays can’t reach them.

I overslept a bit this morning and when I opened the door to tie Blazer outside, a squirrel came up to within about two feet of me, sitting on his haunches, obviously expecting to be fed. I had the dog by his collar, trying to figure out how to get him on the rope and still keep him from going after my morning visitor.  I managed to flick my fingers at the squirrel enough to convince him to take a short hike, and the dog raced off in search of who-knows what.

By the time I had gotten the peanuts to put in the pipe, the dog was ready to come inside, and I had about five squirrels hanging upside down on the oak tree, waiting for me to get breakfast. There are one or two critters – maybe just one, as they all look alike – who will actually take food from my fingers; the rest will hover just “this far” out of reach, and dart in to pick up whatever I toss to them. Stale crackers and corn chip crumbs, but they don’t like popcorn.

I wouldn’t want to live anyplace else in the world.