Drama in the backyard

I was working here at my desk, next to an open window, when I became aware of frenetic activity in the yard below. A split second later, another fact penetrated my brain fog: squeaking/screaming.

I jumped up and looked outside. Emma had a squirrel in her mouth. More shrieking (this time, from me).

Fast forward to Emma inside with me while Zebu went outside to check on the condition of the squirrel. He found it, alive, but motionless. It then took off running for the fence. Zebu came back inside to give the shocked animal some space. As we watched from the window, the squirrel tried climbing the six-feet-tall wooden fence. The bundle of fur made it halfway and then dropped to the ground. We agonized for the squirrel.

And then Zebu’s brain kicked in.

“That’s not a squirrel. It doesn’t have a tail.” Pause. “That’s a prairie dog!”

We were SO happy! The “squirrel” wasn’t failing to climb the fence because it was injured, it was failing because it wasn’t a fence-climbing creature!

Zebu leaned a timber against the fence for the prairie dog to use as a ramp. Didn’t work. He then opened the gate that lets out onto the wild hillside behind our house. Unfortunately, the prairie dog ran past the open gate, multiple times, and tried climbing the fence at the other end of the yard.

By then, Zippy was home. He and Zebu tried “herding” the frantic prairie dog to the gate. It was pretty stressful for everyone. Obviously, it was most stressful for the poor prairie dog.

He hunkered down and froze in front of Zebu. Right after I caught this shot, I was enlisted to help with the herding. By the time I put on shoes and got outside, the prairie dog made one more sprint.

This time, he went out the gate!

The three of us celebrated the liberation and apparent good health of our visitor, and wished him a safe return to his burrow (wherever that might be). Some days (and today is most definitely one of those days), it’s important to embrace the roles we play in setting things right on our little patch of the planet.

 

Today I embraced my inner squirrel

I’m working on a synopsis for my work-in-progress and, as anyone who has ever written one can attest, it’s not a pretty process. This time around I’m writing a synopsis before writing the novel which means I’m not locked into anything.

NOT LOCKED INTO ANYTHING = EVERYTHING IS A POSSIBILITY

Or another way to describe it: SQUIRREL BRAIN FREE-FOR-ALL

My ADD tendencies are having a blast-y as I try to reconcile my rough outline with all the brand new shiny ideas firing in my brain.

ZIP ZAP ZOOP.

However, I did make progress today. And when I’d had enough of ye olde synopsis, I put Emma on her leash and we went for a run on the trails.

Nothing clears the squirrel from one’s brain like a run over uneven terrain.

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Bunny Monday

It’s always a good day when a bunny hops into my line of vision. May you also be blessed with a similar sighting.

Wishing everyone a happy Bunny Monday!

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Bunny Monday

marsh-rabbit

When we were together in Florida last October, sister Katie spotted this Marsh Rabbit sitting next to the water in Kapok Park. No big deal, right? Just a bunny hanging out.

Wrong.

You know why? Because other residents of Kapok Park include these:

alligator

When I look at this photo, JAWS music plays in my head. (And yes, I know this is an alligator and not a shark.)

So, it’s actually a very big deal to be a small rabbit chillin’ in that habitat. And maybe there’s a lesson to be learned here: the environment is treacherous for that Marsh Rabbit, but she survives by being vigilant and standing her ground.

On this Bunny Monday and going forward, I aspire to do the same.

 

 

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Bunny Monday

I miss seeing the rabbits around the neighborhood. Don’t know where they go in the winter, but it’s not my front yard. So here’s a photo from October:

bunny-monday

 

 

 

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#SeaLionSaturday

Zippy has started the task of scanning photo negatives from long ago. Right now he’s revisiting July of 1992 when we lived in Alaska and one of his sisters was visiting. We did a boat tour in Kenai Fjords National Park where we saw this handsome sea lion:img068

Because we have approximately one metric shit-ton of negatives we haven’t looked at in years, I’m guessing we’ll unearth more sea lion photos from our time in Alaska. That means there’s a very good chance I could begin posting one every Saturday, and #SeaLionSaturday could become a real thing. (Especially if 50 people started joining me in posting sea lion photos each Saturday. Friends, they might think it’s a movement!)

All I’m saying is that #Caturday isn’t the only catchy hashtag.

 

 

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Bunny Monday

This is what I saw out the window this morning, a bunny at rest. A symbol of calm in the universe.bunny-at-rest

And then as the bunny hopped to another position, I noticed this:torn-ear

I guess that’s to be expected.

Because nobody goes through life without a scar.
Carol Burnett

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Hooping friend

I’m not 100% positive, but am pretty sure this bunny
enjoys hooping and/or funky hooping music.
This guy/gal sat outside my picture window this morning,
watching and listening as I hoop-danced to
Aretha’s “Respect”
Aretha’s “Rock Steady”
Stevie’s “Higher Ground”
and more.

Bunny enlarged

Know what this means?

I’ve got a new hooping buddy who happens to be a bunny
which makes him/her my hooping bunny buddy.

Try saying that three times real fast.

Hooping bunny buddy
Hooping bunny buddy
Hooping bunny buddy

 

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What I Saw While Running to Nowhere

When I woke up this morning it was cold and wet, the streets covered in an icy, slushy mess. My plan had been to run outside, but the moisture plus 40 degree temperature convinced me to have a “boring” run on the treadmill.

HA! It was anything but boring. And no, I didn’t fall overboard or go flying off the back.

My treadmill looks out onto my backyard that is planted with native shrubs and covered in mulch. There are bird feeders and bath, squirrel nut munch, and an ear of corn that yesterday I harvested from the volunteer corn stalk growing against the house. In the 35 minutes I was on the treadmill, going nowhere fast(ish), I saw:

  • a flock of European Starlings swooping up and away from the wild plum bush growing behind the fence, only to return and line up on the fence in front of me
  • oodles of House Finches exploring the leaves and mulch
  • a Goldfinch moving from sunflower to sunflower, in search of seeds
  • a Black-billed Magpie alighting on the fence and allowing me two whole seconds to admire its gorgeous plumage
  • Mourning Doves and Eurasian-collared Doves, wings spread wide as they descended in the yard
  • a whole slew of Dark-eyed Juncos acting like bullies on a playground
  • a male Northern Flicker that popped up from behind the fence with his dapper ‘tude
  • a squirrel and a Western Scrub Jay working to extract kernels from the corn cob (although not at the same time)

I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have seen a fraction of this activity on the street, so I wanted to document this treadmill workout for later in the season when I’m longing to be outside. I need to remember that, sometimes, running in place is where it’s at.

View from my treadmill.

View from my treadmill.

In Which I Reveal My Own Heart of Darkness

I don’t ever blog about books I’ve read unless I want to recommend them to others. But because the author has long since departed, I think it’s okay for me to be publicly vocalize my feelings of WTF?!

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. A book that feels like a whole lotta tell and not a whole lotta show. We’re told, over and over and over again, that Kurtz is an extraordinary man who holds people in his thrall. But when Kurtz finally showed up in the story, I did not find him believable or compelling. He just felt to me like some guy who’d lost his mind in the jungle. I was given no reason to believe the native people would be heartbroken at his departure. (Unless they were upset because they’d never get the chance to exact revenge on him for putting those heads on those poles.)

So. That’s my take on Heart of Darkness. Deep, huh?

And now, apropos of nothing, here’s a squirrel:
squirrel in peanut feeder 031

 

Ruminating on Interspecies Love

Is it possible,
do you think?
For a squirrel
to fall in love with a cat?
Squirrel courting cats 013To pose and perform?
To entice rather than tease?Squirrel courting cats 014Is it possible,
do you think?
For one cat to writhe in response
while the other watches dispassionately?Loki and Marcel 020Is it possible,
do you think?
To guess who writhed
and who yawned?