It’s been a couple of months since I introduced you to Fred, our affable neighborhood squirrel. Recently he decided to come to our back door for walnuts instead of inquiring at the front door. And sometimes he stays to eat them on the railing of our deck. One such morning, when I wasn’t feeling so well, Tim grabbed the camera and got these wonderful shots!
Fred comes around several times a day for his nuts. We’ve seen him chase away other squirrels who dare to come near the front porch or the back deck. One day he took a few steps into the house so now Tim is more careful about how far he opens the door. It brightens our day when we hear him “knocking” and see his little face peering into the sliding glass doors. It’s endearingly comical when leans over the edge of the front porch railing, stretching out so he can scan the bay window for evidence of human activity in the kitchen. His visits are delightful!
Yesterday I overheard Tim talking matter-of-factly to himself as he stepped outside onto the deck, “It would be nice if Fred cleaned up after himself.”
photos by Tim Rodgers
We experienced our first nor’easter down south here on Sunday, getting over two inches of rain and plenty of wind. This cardinal sat on the branch outside our dining room window, looking in, for several hours. I finally got up and grabbed the camera. He was thoroughly soaked and I saw no sign of his partner. The juncos weren’t around either.
His behavior made me think of the mourning dove who hunkered down in the arborvitae behind our condo back in Connecticut during the remnants of Hurricane Ida. (Story here.) Except this cardinal was very exposed on a bare branch.
The winter solstice arrives tonight and the days will be getting longer. Warmest holiday wishes to everyone, whichever festival of light you are celebrating!
When we came home from food shopping this morning there was a woolly bear on our sidewalk! I hurried inside to get my camera. When I returned I tried to give it a ride to a safer location and it responded by curling up into a little ball. Putting it on this leaf I went back inside to put away the groceries.
When I came back out it was on the move again, away from the leaf.
But then it circled back to reconsider its options, and I got a picture of those little eyes surveying the possibilities.
And finally it decided to return to the leaf. With a little luck it might find a good spot to overwinter here.
On the news I learned that North Carolina has had a Woolly Worm Festival in the town of Banner Elk over the third weekend of October ever since 1978. That’s also how I learned that they call them woolly worms down here. Growing up in New England, they were always woolly bears to me!
How happy I was if I could forget
To remember how sad I am
Would be an easy adversity
But the recollecting of Bloom
Keeps making November difficult
Till I who was almost bold
Lose my way like a little Child
And perish of the cold.
~ Emily Dickinson
(The Poems of Emily Dickinson, #1080)
The first days of November arrived here cold! One morning it was 29°F (-2°C)! With afternoon temperatures around 80°F on the last days of October this was quite a jolt of weather whiplash.
I’m pleased to introduce you to Fred, our friendly neighborhood squirrel. Tim has been feeding him walnuts. Most of the time he runs off with them, presumably to store them somewhere, but once in a while he sticks around and lets us watch him eat it.
The gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) is hereby adopted as the official State mammal of the State of North Carolina. (1969, c. 1207.) § 145-6.
~ North Carolina General Statutes – Chapter 145
When he hears us opening the front door he will come up to the porch to see if a walnut will be rolled out to him. He’s not brave enough to come any closer — not yet. But Tim has a way with squirrels, so…
We achieve some measure of adulthood when we recognize our parents as they really were, without sentimentalizing or mythologizing, but also without blaming them unfairly for our imperfections. Maturity entails a readiness, painful and wrenching though it may be, to look squarely into the long dark places, into the fearsome shadows. In this act of ancestral remembrance and acceptance may be found a light by which to see our children safely home.
~ Carl Sagan & Ann Druyan
(Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors)