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Posts Tagged ‘squirrels’

Dining out solo is often avoided but doesn’t have to be a dreadful experience.  Considering the following advice may enhance your chances of enjoying yourself while eating out at a table for one.  For example, you might feel that everyone is watching you.  Show some confidence.  Perhaps they don’t get to see a natural redhead every day, especially one with such an attractive tail.

Choosing to dine at less busy times might make you less self-conscious.  Those pesky chickadees with all their twittering would certainly contribute to your sense of loneliness.   Bring along a book to read but realize that reading The Nutcracker after the Christmas season is over may attract unwanted stares.  Enjoy a glass of wine  as it might make you feel more relaxed.  Just make sure you can hold your liquor.

Once you’ve done it a few times, you might wonder why you ever dreaded eating alone in the first place.  Spared the need to carry on a conversation, you might find yourself appreciating the tastes and aromas of your dinner even more than usual.  Feel free to dig in.

Of course, if you choose to simply eat on the run, the loss is yours.  There will always be those who are more than eager to partake in the delights of dining solo.

Scott at Views Infinitum has extended an open invitation to take part in his food photography assignment.  Deadline for submissions is Wednesday, January 26th at midnight.  Bon appétit!

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spruce tree tops

White spruce branches are heavy with cones wherever I look:  in the yard, near Rainbow Haven Beach and along the Salt Marsh Trail.  It looks like a bumper crop year.  The squirrels and birds must be happy.

spruce cones2

If a plant is under stress from the weather one year, it will produce more seed the following year.  The year after Hurricane Juan hit Nova Scotia was also a bumper crop year.  Wind certainly helps with pollination.

Although it’s not yet understood how they do it, it’s believed that some bird species, such as finches, can locate a bumper crop of cones from half a continent away.  Their ability to do this might have something to do with their highly developed sensory and nervous systems.

balsam fir cones

Balsam fir cones can also be found on the ground in the yard.  There are more of these trees than any other here.  The majority of them grew up shortly after Hurricane Juan took down the larger trees in 2003, allowing more light and rain to reach the seeds on the bottom of the forest floor.

spruce cones on trail

While walking along the Salt Marsh Trail, it’s difficult to not take it personally when squirrels are throwing cones down from the top of trees.  In their quest for the perfect cone, flawed ones fall to the ground.  Perhaps this bumper crop is an indicator that I won’t have to put out as many sunflower seeds this winter.  There seem to be enough cones out there to feed an army of Red Squirrels.

red squirrel

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canada day squirrel

How will the local wildlife be celebrating Canada Day 2009?   

sunrise

Wild creatures make the most of each day that dawns.  Their families have lived in Canada generations longer than any of ours and could probably teach us a thing or two about how to celebrate the land.  They don’t care who owns the territory they live on or how it’s administered politically.  We humans care so much more about ownership and nationalities, often to the point of being as ridiculous as fleas arguing over which one of them owns the dog. 

flowers

Around the world, our country is known for its vast wilderness and beauty.  If we really wanted to celebrate Canada, we’d take this day to savour and enjoy the  brightest blooms of summer, its greenest leaves and its tallest trees.  We’d get up early to watch the sun rise over the vast landscape and take time at the end of the day to watch it set.  We’d spend as much time as possible outdoors, feeling the coolness of the grass beneath our feet and the sunshine or rain on our faces.  We’d splash around in lakes and sink our toes into the sand on the beaches along our coasts.  Only then would we realize that it is not us who have a hold on the land, but rather that it is the land that has a hold on us.

woods

Remember, you belong to Nature, not it to you.

~ Grey Owl

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birdbath reflections

Mating season must be coming to an end.  And once couples are at the stage of rearing their young, there’s not much time in the day left for socializing at the watering hole.  Yet the birdbath in the backyard continues to attract wild birds and squirrels.   After they’ve had a sip and a dip, I can’t help but wonder why they’re still hanging and perching around. 

Is it the fresh and trendy decor provided by the birch trees or the sunflower seed happy hour snacks?  Don’t they have nests to go home to?

four squirrels

Four Red Squirrels Enjoying the Happy Hour Snacks

The crowd that stays around latest in the evening consists mostly of Mourning Doves (maybe misery really does love company) and a few Red Squirrels.  The odd Ring-necked Pheasant will drop by for a quick drink on his way home from a rough day in the backwoods.  He’ll try to throw his weight around (hopefully not tip over the birdbath!) and crow a little before heading home.  The regulars are a pretty easy going bunch.

I wonder where they’d all go if the birdbath was no longer there?  Some muddy puddle near the bog perhaps.  It would still have a certain misty ambience, but the happy hour snacks wouldn’t probably be half as tasty.  I’m glad to have them here, and hopefully one day, I’ll get to know everybody’s name.  Cheers!

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squirrels in trees

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

~ Charles Dickens

It started out as a whirlwind relationship with all the romantic trimmings…  playful chases through the forest, bouquets of fresh evergreens, blazing sunsets and quiet sunflower seed dinners by moonlight.  Nothing this good could last forever… something was bound to happen to end it all… kids!

squirrels eating

They’re everywhere:  leaping in the trees, eating at the bird feeders and drinking at the birdbath.  I counted seven yesterday.  [Up to 18 can co-exist per acre (Layne 1954) , an area just a bit smaller than my yard].  Although three can be seen in the photograph above, there was actually a fourth that had just slipped behind  the tree.  They’re cute, but they’re constantly squabbling with one another.

squirrels

“He stole my sunflower seeds!”

“I was sitting on that post first!”

“She keeps biting my tail!  Mommmmmm!!!!!”

Recklessly leaping from branch to branch, their antics and chatter make them an easy target for predators, putting the whole family at risk.  It never ends.  Dawn until sunset… day after day… week after week… what are squirrel parents to do?  Hmmmm… Why not have more?

Red Squirrels will often have more than one set of offspring per season if the situation is good.  Which it obviously is…

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mint-and-chives

April is a promise that May is bound to keep.

~ Hal Borland

mountain-ash

April’s promise of spring has unfolded in a flurry of activity this month.  New growth is everywhere:  in the yard and in the woods.  Strawberry flowers are already in bloom along the Salt Marsh trail.  As much as I look forward to this time of year, it still seems to catch me by surprise.  Did I somehow believe it wouldn’t happen?

Bird activity is constant.   The chatter is especially noisy  in the early morning hours.  It’s not unusual to hear a pheasant crowing in the yard at 3:45 am.  Grackles, doves, woodpeckers, chickadees, juncos, sparrows and robins hang out around the feeder well past our supper time.

The squirrels are either chasing each other around, eating at the feeder or  scolding intruders.  Their presence is made known throughout the day. 

Spider threads and webs are everywhere in the woods, created in anticipation of the black flies and mosquitoes that are surely going to be out in full force soon.  The insects will also provide food for the baby birds soon to be hatched.  

He that is in a towne in May loseth his spring. 

~George Herbert

spider-threads

red-squirrel

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