In between snacks, meals, and pots of tea, we’re enjoying the antics of these guys. Dad has 2 bird feeders, strategically placed to feed the birds, not the squirrels. One day they’ll figure it out, I’m sure, but for now they pace on the railing, and occasionally try to climb. But mostly, they stare at the house and scold us savagely with their frustrations and opinions on the matter.
In retribution, I smile sweetly, while nibbling on homemade hazelnut toffee. 😉
Not much goes on in the mind of a squirrel. Huge portions of what is loosely termed “the squirrel brain” are given over to one thought: food.
The average squirrel cogitation goes something like this: I wonder what there is to eat.
Kate DiCamillo, Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures
Dear Diary – It’s hard to believe that a year ago, we were preparing for the holidays with the threat of lockdowns over our heads, as the numbers of covid cases rose alarmingly. I spent my first Christmas away from my parents in almost 50 years. We met in the parking lot halfway between our homes for 5 minutes, long enough to swap gifts, snap a pic and wave. I dashed through a grocery store to buy last minute groceries, and I bought a turkey from a friend who had an extra one.
With optimism, we were told it would all be over by next Christmas if we all pulled together. Some of us never stopped pulling. At least I can say:
Dear Diary – Is cheese on apple pie really weird? I know that green tomato pie grosses a lot of people out, but it’s a long-standing tradition on my Dad’s side. Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it! I also grew up with cold cheddar cheese on warm apple pie, not the processed kind (that’s gross), but a thick slab of aged cheddar. The only other options were whipped cream or ice-cream.
I had no idea that cheese on pie could be as polorizing as pineapple on pizza. The idea started in England in the early 17th century, with diary-based sauces in pies, which transitioned to on pies. Poet, Eugene Field wrote, “But I, when I undress me / Each night, upon my knees / Will ask the Lord to bless me / With apple pie and cheese.” Mr. Field experienced apple pie differently than us. Apples just weren’t as sweet then, as they are today. Red delicious apples didn’t appear until 2 centuries later, and with the lack of refrigeration, ice-cream was out of the question. Cheese offered a salty addition to a rather bland fruit pie. The trend travelled across the pond and is more common in farming communities, where cheese is produced, than in cities, where ice-cream is king. What’s your preference?
An apple pie without the cheese is like a kiss without the squeeze.
Dear Diary – An old Facebook Memory from December 2016 came up in my feed:
“Told I look “creepy” in my nightshirt by my child. Considering walking child to the school door wearing nightshirt. Now that would be creepy.”
Dear Diary – It’s toffee time! Armed with my very specific list, I braved the bulk food store for my Christmas baking ingredients, and chocolate hazelnut toffee was at the top of the list! The recipe came from an old Woman’s World magazine (such a sexiest title)!
The first step was to finely chop the hazelnuts, which proved to be a challenge because hazelnuts are round. Every time I tried to slice, and at risk to my fingers, the nut would ping off the counter. They were louder and larger than the bbs that went flying the weekend before, but that’s another story. Bottomline, they both hurt when you step on them, and they both like to roll under the stove. Someday I’ll clean under there and I’ll wonder why there are peas, hazelnuts and bbs.
Then I had a brilliant idea, that prompted me to tell my guys to keep their hands off my nuts: The Slap Chop! Creepy informercial pitchman Vince used to “wow” us in ads for a chopping machine that “slices and dices” food when you slap the plunger. Except that I’m too short to get much leverage. Hubby and Younger Son, who tower over me, had to step in.
They were only too happy to step in to sample too. I had to set the timer on the microwave to keep the wolves at bay until the chocolate had set…and even then some of the chocolate stuck to the counter when I turned it out. After complaining that I’m never in family photos, Hubby stepped in there too.
You didn’t seriously expect me to let good chocolate go to waste!
Dear Diary – Note to self: mini wheats as a last minute bed time snack is a poor choice because I can’t just hork it down in a hurry. It requires chewing, thorough chewing or I choke on the “sticks”. It sticks in my teeth and around the gumline so brushing is “extra special”. And this time, the milk…something was off with that milk. Better to stick with something healthy and sensible…like fruit, with chocolate.
Dear Diary – The Squirrel Games has intensified. Two weeks ago, Hubby had to make some adjustments to our bird feeder because a trio of black squirrels had found it and the leader of the pack is settling in nearby for the winter. He’s an adept trapeze artist. It’s not uncommon to catch him hanging under the feeder, and hunting with his forepaw for the goodies. I wouldn’t object to feeding the squirrels if they weren’t such pigs! But now that some birds have finally found the feeder, I want to enjoy them too. It may be closest I get to a pet since I live with Scrooge.
Older Son offered some firepower, but long story short, both of his parents failed to get it to work, and someone barely missed me, so the “toys” have been safely put away. I suspect sabotage…squirrel sabotage!
In a feeble attempt to discourage this rogue, Hubby nailed down some “scat cat” pads, plastic squares with spikes. The railing looks like something from Mad Max, but the birds don’t seem to mind. Neither does the squirrel, apparently.
Hubby decided we should take down the feeder and I was terribly discouraged. Maybe it’s the time of year, missing loved ones and knowing so many who are experiencing their first Christmas without someone, others, their last. Maybe it’s the knowledge that Younger Son will be leaving the nest soon, and can’t wait to “escape”! Maybe it’s the uncertainty of holiday plans as covid numbers rise and we just don’t know when, or if, we’ll be with family. Lately it feels like even the little things that give me pleasure keep being taken away. I just have to keep committing it all to the Lord. He knows my heart. And my squirrel!!
It snowed softly yesterday, and in between piles of dishes and cherry squares (that taste good but look like Mad Max baked them), I watched a number of little feathered friends visiting in the back. One little nuthatch especially caught my eye. He must have felt very safe there because he nestled down on the outer ledge of the feeder and watched the snow falling too.
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
Matthew 6:26 (NIV)
Dear Diary – I’m taking my friend on a quest north for her covid booster shot. Unfortunately, she’s booked in the middle of rush hour. I sense adventure, and not the “good” kind.
This is the City. A lot of people live here. A lot of Squirrels live here. In this city’s war on gang crime, the worst case offenders are pursued by an elite task force, the SGU:
I’m your host, No.1, former mimbo to the notorious supervillain, Chloe the Cavy.
As part of my rehabilitation (and because of my boyish good looks…)
…it is my job, nay my duty, nay my…what? Ahem. The Scuirine Gang Unit needs your help!
On or about May 26, 2016, Citizen J was slaving in her hot kitchen, baking for a charity bake sale. Finding her kitchen counters covered with cookies, good Citizen J left a pan of gooey chocolate brownies on her back porch to cool. When she returned a few minutes later, what she discovered was a brutal crime scene. More than half of the pan’s contents were missing. Globules of glistening chocolate lay congealing on the bare boards. The crime scene photos are so distrubing, we cannot show them On Air.
What savage beast could have reaped such distruction? No paw prints were left at the scene of the crime. But, the very next day, and for several days thereafter, THIS squirrel was seen begging near the scene of the crime, taunting poor, good Citizen J.
This squirrel is believed to be none other than the leader of a ruthless squirrel gang, Red’s. She is simply known as Madam X!
Madame X moved into the neighbourhood in the Spring of 2016, and quickly dominated all the other squirrels on the street. While she is a foxy red squirrel, her love for all things sweet consequently plays hav havoc her weight. Over the last two years, she has expanded her family by birthing two litters of kits.
Following this incident, Citizen J didn’t comply with Madam X’s advances and provide more brownies, so a series of nonsensical attacks ensued. These included, but were not limited to digging up tulip blossoms, leaving half eaten apples on the doorstep, destroying a makeshift clothes line, eating a chair cushion, and petty larceny.
Also public drunkenness…
The most disturbing crime, according to the victim, was the loss of a pair of brand new, never worn, white panties. The panties in question had been drying on the railing. “It wasn’t the loss of the panties that upsets me”, said Citizen J, “but the invasion of privacy. I shudder to think what those squirrels are using them for now”.
Other personal articles of clothing were nearly victims of Madame X’s voracious appetite for chaos.
Madame X does not always act alone. Some of her other known associates are:
Big Boy is the brawn, While a North American gray squirrel, he is far from “common”. Big Boy is the size of a small cat, and regularly licks himself in public!
Once sleek and shiny, Sly’s shifty eyes and mangy coat are a tell-tale sign of a squirrel with a serious nut addiction. Hard to believe gambling man, Sly, was once quite a ladies’ man.
Fearless Franco, is a highwire artist. He prefers to move from lair to lair, house to house, using a network of wires and tree branches. Franco was caught once trying to tunnel into a house through a window. Brain damage from a fall is suspected, or perhaps he was just caught in an mis-guided panty raid. We’ll never know.
Madame X’s grip on the neighbourhood contines to grow. More secret lairs have been spotted on or near Citizen J’s property.
Most recently, Citizen J. was forced to take legal action to evict Madame X and her two newest members, from a secret lair they had set up inside Citizen J’s back porch. In addition to the noise complaints and destruction of property, Citizen J’s back porch became the playground for the Red’s.
Citizen J continues to live in fear of retribution.
If you have any information about Madame X and her gang, we implore you to call the SGU at 1-800-squ-rrel!
Next week, we meet Rasputin, drug lord of the Nap-Riv community!
Dear Diary -It’s that time of year again: the big stink. A storm blew through just before I came back to the city and knocked thousands of apples down. They are small, hard and rife with blemishes, and in the July heat, quickly turn to cider. Last year I cut and froze bags of apple slices and I made apple jelly. I nearly melted in the process. This year I picked and froze a bag of whole apples for jelly…when it’s much cooler! Saturday was among one of the hottest days. The three of us bundled up to protect ourselves from the wasps, and filled every garbage can, bin and box I could find. Tuesday night we dragged them to the curb for a yard waste truck to pick them. Little Guy kicked the first bin, sending a thick plume of fruit flies in my face. The trick is to hold your breath so you don’t inhale them. I wonder if they can lay eggs in your brain?
The squirrels, however, are in 7th Heaven. As was the young skunk I spied strolling in the yard one morning. I wonder if he’s the fellow who started burrowing under the front steps. I filled in his hole with dirt and orange peel. So far, no further excavation. The birds have visited too: robins, cardinals, blue jays, gold finches and even a woodpecker.
We’re pretty sure this is a squirrel…
The cutest visitor was a brown baby bunny (“bb”). A mean, black squirrel chased him into the bushes. I was just “awing” when bb scampered up behind the squirrel. The squirrel stared at bb, and they nuzzled noses. Then the squirrel started chasing bb around the lilac tree several times and I realized they were playing. It was like watching a Bugs Bunny cartoon. What’s up Doc?
Dear Diary – I really thought this headline had nailed it. I was browsing through my WordPress Reader, and I thought it said this:
Record Temperatures, Long Lines and Increasing Sarcacity Will Greatly Test the Patience of Americans This Summer.
Now, I know that Sarcacity isn’t a word, but it sounds like it could be. The actual word was scarcity. But you gotta admit, unlike my blog stats, sarcasm is on the rise. Just browse Facebook posts for 30 seconds and you’ll see I’m right.
Dear Diary – This week I sang at an outdoor worship service, all good old-timey songs. I endured grocery shopping with all the city folk who don’t know how to follow arrows. I went through the Tim Horton’s drive thru twice, and enjoyed a sticky doughnut to celebrate my late friend’s birthday! She would have approved.
I sold 6 face masks to 2 friends, and I enjoyed getting caught up. I pulled out some Fall fabric – might as well look fashionable!
Mom tells me my Dad bought some Christmas fabric. Stocking stuffers anyone!?!
I went looking for my 2019 tax documents, which I never found, and ended up cleaning out 2 boxes filled with tax forms starting in 1997! I earn the same salary! $0! I also did another drawing lesson. I’d better keep my day job.
We had to tidy our laundry room for the gas guy and I’m taking bets on how long it will take us to fill the space with useless junk. The odds are not in my favour.
I’m heading back to my folks, with or without Little Guy, but my laptop is coming with me, so he might be too. We repurposed a Scrabble board for a game my Aunt made using another repurposed board that went missing. My Mom found the missing board the next day! Murphy’s Law.
All comedic classic duos that captured our hears and made a lasting impression.
I have 2 more…teen squirrels. A couple of red-headed, thundering scamps whose adorable cuteness make your heart melt (so that you overlook the poop). As each day passes, these rascals are exploring their world more and more. They can hang upside from the brick and swing from my chair like nobody’s business, and my clothespins have never tasted so good.
We’re not sure 100% if there are 2 or 3 teens, or if Mama has finally lost her baby belly and she’s joining in the fun, but they sure are entertaining!
The day after the snow fell, the leaves gave up their will to live and dropped in one collective clump all over the neighbourhood. And even though we received WAY more snow than usual, it melted, leaving the landscape a brown and barren place. The only sign of life outside my window has become my muse…
Being natural is simply a pose, and the most irritating pose I know. – Oscar Wilde
Sometimes I pose, but sometimes I pose as posing. – Stella Benson
My mind says Victoria Secret model, but my body says nutella and pizza!
Compassion is the greatest form of love humans have to offer. – Rachel Joy Scott
Proud Mama Moment: Big Guy is an arborist, and therefore often crosses paths with woodland creatures. Most the of the time, those creatures are complaining about the noise. Last week, he came across a very cold baby squirrel lying at the base of a tree. This little one snuggled right in. Big Guy found a shelter that would take this baby. Unfortunately, the story doesn’t have a happy ending, and this little one was too sick or injured, and he didn’t survive the day.
While it made us both sad, I’m so proud of my “lumberjack” with a big heart. XOXO
Compassion brings us to a stop, and for a moment we rise above ourselves.
– Mason Cooley