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
It was a gray day for a walk.
Surprise! A gray catbird in December! North Carolina must be one of the places they migrate to in the winter. I’ve never seen one in Connecticut after September or before May.
But it was a great day for a walk. A good break from busy, busy, busy…
We are now in a moderate drought and the weather people say that this has been the driest November here on record. I have nothing to compare it to, but am hoping the squirrels are finding enough to drink. On this lovely autumn day we took another trail in this forest, named Wormhole Spur.
It was one of those magical fall days when the leaves were drifting down in great numbers, floating through the air like snowflakes in a snow globe, almost sounding like raindrops when they landed. We’re thoroughly enjoying our autumn days, now that they’ve arrived.
When we got back to our car we found it surrounded by wonderful burnt orange leaves. Almost 10 years ago we bought what we thought would be our last new car. ~ 2014 Subaru Impreza ~ Since I wrote a post about that one and since we wound up getting this new car in October, I decided to post a picture of this one, too. It’s color name is celestite (a mineral), chosen because my sister is a geologist. 🙂
For this wonderful long walk we went back to the Piedmont Nature Trails and took two different trails this time, part of Oak Hickory Trail which led us to part of Elephant Rock Trail. Of course, we were very curious about Elephant Rock. Much to our delight, we found ourselves in a mixed hardwood forest, which had an abundance of fall color, even if much of it was still green.
Back in May 2009 one of the first wildlife shots I got was with my first little digital pocket camera — a red squirrel on Beech Forest Trail at Cape Cod National Seashore in Provincetown, Massachusetts. It was the picture that got me started loving nature photography. I keep it at the top of my sidebar as a reminder of that wonderful feeling.
Over the years, while living by the sea, I grew fond of gulls and see that I have 90 blog posts featuring pictures of them! At the moment there are only 25 posts with squirrels but I have a feeling that number will be increasing quickly. One of these days “gull” will likely disappear from the tag cloud in my sidebar and “squirrel” might appear in place of it. We’ll see.
Gulls or squirrels, they’re both fun to photograph!
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…
Another gorgeous walk! The Piedmont Nature Trails meander through an 88-acre forest behind the North Carolina Botanical Garden. On this day we started with the Streamside Trail, which follows Meeting-of-the-Waters Creek and crosses it twice. We are currently in an abnormally dry spell so there wasn’t much water flowing.
In a moment of weakened ch’i
even a small patch of blue sky
a glint of a sunbeam
autumn light on the forest floor
can grant you strength and resolve.
~ Frank LaRue Owen
(Blister & Resolve, The Temple of Warm Harmony)
The above picture was a happy accident. These two squirrels were chasing each other up and down the trees, tackling each other and taking off again. Were they playing or courting? This is the only picture of the dozens taken that came out! Since the internet says they breed in mid-December or early January, and that a few breed again in June, these two were probably playing.
One online source says the fall colors peak in this part of the state in early to mid-November so we are starting to notice some larger patches of them as we drive around town. On the bright side, we will get to enjoy colors for a longer period of time since the trees seem to be taking turns being spectacular.
If you had told me a year ago when I was writing my last Walktober post in Connecticut that a year later I would be writing my next one from a new home far away in North Carolina….. I would not have thought it even remotely possible. But here I am!
This is my contribution to Walktober, this year being hosted by Dawn over at her Change Is Hard blog. See Dawn’s warm invitation to participate here: Walktober 2023.
It turns out that 750 acres of woodlands, with numerous trails, belonging to the University of North Carolina, is only about a mile away from our home, as the crow flies. For this, our first visit, we wound up on the deeply shaded Occoneechee Loop. It had plenty of uneven terrain for Tim so it wound up being our longest walk so far this fall.
My camera kept telling me that I needed a flash so I decided to focus on finding pockets of sunlight for my pictures. It wasn’t long before I was feeling more relaxed and mindful, noticing the individual trees and the little things. This forest bath was having a delightfully positive effect on me.
On such October days as this, we look about us as though in some new and magic land. The mystical draws close behind the luminous veil. We see the things about us and sense larger meanings just beyond our grasp.
~ Edwin Way Teale
(Circle of the Seasons: The Journal of a Naturalist’s Year)
We’re looking forward to our next walk in this wonderful forest. It will be nice to see how it changes with at least three of the seasons, as I know hot and humid summertime walks here will be few and far between.