Along the Road

My mind thought back to the events of the day. A day of presenting balanced literacy to an elementary staff, K-2 in the morning and 3-5 in the afternoon. Analyzing each group’s reception of the information presented and pondering where to take them next when I return. I have eighty miles of time to think this through.

Suddenly, there is movement ahead. My senses heightened and my speed decreases as I zoom closer to the movement. It is a young fawn who has stepped out of the thick brush that lines the road.

Each step taken with deliberate care. No quick movements for this young fawn. A multitude of spots spilling down its back. The head upright, watching. Eyes wary. It steps closer to the highway. It pauses. Is that confusion or wonder in the fawn’s eyes, as my car speeds past.

My mind no longer thinking of my day. Now my thoughts are questions. Where is your mother? Will you continue on your way across the road or did the sounds of the cars frighten you back to the woods? I watch my rear view mirror as another car follows me. That car has not stopped, so I hope the fawn stood its ground or dashed away.

My thoughts linger on that fawn for many miles, hoping it returned to the woods where it might be safer. Eventually, my thoughts returned to my day, hoping the teachers won’t always stay in their safe zone, but try some new ideas.

 

 

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Two Views, Inside/Outside

Happenings from the Inside:

“Oh my gosh!” my husband exclaimed as he was passing through our living room while looking out onto the patio. There was a tone to that exclamation that made me aware something was seriously amiss on the patio.

Quickly I put aside the iPad to arrive at the patio door the same time as my husband. Looking out the door, I could not see an issue. The furniture was in place, there was no wildlife lounging on our cushions.

Step outside on the stoop, there was a different story.

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A quick scan of the yard did not reveal the culprit. The birds were chattering extra loudly. I think they were trying to tell us who had been digging in our flower pot. We suspect it was a squirrel who has discovered our backyard. We will be watching!

Happenings from the Outside

Oh, what a gorgeous morning! Last night’s rain has made the world sparkly. It’s time for me to head out and explore. I need to check my latest find. There is a yard that is a veritable playground. So many trees to scamper up and down. I could spend all day exploring, but I don’t have that kind of time for play.

I have serious work ahead of me. I need to dig some holes and bury my nuts. I can’t wait until fall to do this work. A squirrel’s work is never done. There are always more nuts to bury for future meals.

I must admit, this new yard is a wonderful playground, but they have recently filled all their beds with rock instead of mulch. Do you know how hard it is to dig a hole in gravel? Mulch is much easier on my paws. Check out my work below.

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Pretty good hole right? Don’t judge, it’s not really a hole, but more of an indentation. I’m just getting started here. I just need a little more time and I will hit dirt, but it’s a start.

Now that I’ve arrived in the yard, I noticed there are a couple of pots with flowers. Hmmm, I don’t remember seeing them on my last visit. Surely they didn’t fill those with gravel. Yes! Soft sweet dirt! Perfect for my next nut! I’ll just dig my hole, it will be ready for the next nut I find. Oh how I love digging in dirt! I just love it when I find people who set planters out for me. Maybe next time I come, there will be even more planters. I’ll be watching!

Additional Note:

Recently on a walk around the neighborhood, my husband and I spotted a squirrel had been hit by a car on the road. I’m wondering if this was our squirrel. There may be no future squirrel tales. No one had disturbed the planter or created any more holes in the landscape rock.

 

 

Feasting on My Greens

Before the last snow, I wandered about the backyard looking for signs of plants waking from the winter. First place I check is my mini patch I call a garden. Tulip bulbs and asparagus crowns lie beneath the soil. When they begin the journey from underground to breaking through the dirt, I know spring is on its way.

A quick look to the right ends in disappointment. The asparagus continues to rest underground.

On the left, I discover shoots have broken ground. The tulips pushed their way through! But wait what’s that? The shoots are sheared off, level to the ground. It appears that someone with a sharp clippers has come along and clipped my green tulip shoots down to their nubs.

Do you see how this has been nibbled off? This was taken after the snow melted, so it had grown slightly from my previous viewing.

Do you see how this has been nibbled off? This was taken after the snow melted, so it had grown slightly from my previous viewing.

 

My eyes narrow, I know the predator of my tulips. It’s a rabbit! He has the teeth that would gnaw away at my young, green sprigs, which survived the winter cold only to be a tender tasty treat for him.

Now we will enter into a war. I will be more vigilant over my bulbs, he will not deprive me of my springtime flower.

Here are the shoots that have not been nibbled on.

Here are the shoots that have not been nibbled on.

A Hawk Among Us

Wings spread wide, floating on air currents high above our roof, the hawk surveys the land below looking for dinner. Tired of scanning from the sky, it settles in the maple tree. Head slowly turning left, then right. It rests on this perch for some time. Eventually soaring off to better hunting grounds.

Waiting and watching

Waiting and watching

The hawk continues to reappear over the course of several weeks. I only see it from a distance, always in a tree or circling the sky, until Wednesday.

My husband and I were backing out of the garage, on our way for a dinner out when I noticed movement at the neighbor’s walk. The hawk was standing on the sidewalk pecking and pulling, dinner was served. Bits of something were flying in the air, I didn’t know if it was fur or feathers.

I wanted to jump out of the car, run into the house to fetch my camera. But alas, I did not. It was dusk and I was afraid the light would prevent a good picture. However, when I got home, I wandered over to see what was left. Feathers were scattered all through the flower bed and into the grass. I think there was also some internal organ left behind. (If I had to guess, I would say it was the intestine. It resembled a long pink worm.)

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In the morning, I went back to snap a few photos of the scattered feathers. I skipped the organ (I know you are saying, “Thank goodness!). Our neighbor, Dan, has declared it must have been a dove because of the gray feathers mixed in with the white downy feathers.

We have a couple of small puppies in the neighborhood. I hope the owners keep a watchful eye on them.

“Not On Our Pole!”

Saturday morning found me sipping coffee, scrolling through emails on the iPad, wondering how the day would unfold when suddenly out of the corner of my eye, a movement in the backyard made me dash to the window to verify my suspicions. I think I saw a squirrel!

Side note: I know many you are thinking, what’s the big deal? We have squirrels and they are annoying. Let me explain, we moved to this house about ten years ago, and we have never had a squirrel in our yard or trees. Our house was built on a farm field, so there were no trees, therefore, there would be no squirrels.

I caught a glimpse, but quickly moved to another window to get a better view. I could not find it. I looked for any motion, but all was still. In my fuzzy pink bathrobe, I went out to the patio hoping to discover where it went. I was just curious to see what the squirrel would do. No luck. I returned to the house.

A few minutes later I glanced out the window to discover the squirrel was checking out the bird bath. This time I had my camera ready, but it quickly scampered from the bird bath to the viburnum bush. I watched the bush, zooming in, but could not find the rascal.

Suddenly it leaped to the top of the fence and headed across the green space behind our house. Sadly I thought there would be no picture of this fuzzy fellow, but wait! It is climbing the power pole! Up, up, up it climbed. What will it do when it reaches the top?

Up, up, up, it continued until it passed a bar where two birds were resting. The birds immediately attacked the squirrel. The squirrel didn’t know what was happening! The birds flew and screeched. I’m sure the message was loud and clear, “You are not climbing our pole!”

Immediately the squirrel retreated, scampering down about six feet. There it froze, head down, spread eagle on the power pole. It stayed in that position for at least ten minutes. It got the courage to try again, but the birds fought it off. More birds came to help the original two. The chatter was quite loud, I can only imagine the language they were using.

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Finally, the defeated squirrel abandoned its idea of climbing the pole. It scooted down the pole, shook its tail, and scampered off to the neighbor’s pine tree. The squirrel’s attitude said, “I didn’t really want to climb that pole anyway.”

Close up of the squirrel trying to decide what to do.

Close up of the squirrel trying to decide what to do.

 

Battling Bunny

A growl erupts from my husband and he flies out of his chair into the backyard. The first time this happened I wondered what horrible thing had occurred in the yard. I discovered it was a small four-legged creature taunting my husband.

Early morning, catching a few rays of sunshine

Early morning, catching a few rays of sunshine

 

If I sit really still, no one will notice me.

If I sit really still, no one will notice me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here I can keep an eye on what's happening in this yard.

Here I can keep an eye on what’s happening in this yard.

 

I need to check out this new land.

I need to check out this new land.

Running, clapping, chasing only sent the bunny into the bushes. This called for a new plan. The hose was brought into action. Bunny did not like the hose! It bounded out of the yard to escape the spray.

The dreaded hose!

The dreaded hose!

However, either it has a short memory or it is a new one who is back and exploring the patio. I guess the war isn’t over, yet.

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Fall Hazard

Fall has it’s own special delights that it brings to our world. Beautiful colors light up the landscape with the warm colors of reds, oranges, and yellows. Cooler temperatures allow us to add a layer, whether it’s to our bodies or our beds. We look forward to this change of season, but sometimes summer snaps its head and reminds us that it is not ready to depart.

The blue sky with billowy clouds called us to enjoy a bike ride down the paved path of the Frisco Highline Trail. The colors were just beginning to creep into the foliage. Sunlight caught the silver sparkle of web lines overhead. Humidity pushed its way into the ride and wrapped its arms around me, but I didn’t let that slow me down. Pedaling created a breeze to savor.

The world went into s-l-o-w motion when I saw it flying toward me. A teeny tiny, neon green worm (?) was riding the breeze and headed straight for my face. I turned my head and bike trying to miss it. Whew! That was a close one!

I pedaled on, but something was on my sun glasses. I thought it was a hair. As I pedaled, I pulled off the glasses and found myself gazing at that neon green worm frozen to my glasses. I guess it wasn’t a close call after all.

I stopped my bike, because of course I needed a picture of this little critter. Multiple shots were taken, but they all came out blurry as it scurried across and around the lens of my sunglasses. Finally I blew a puff of air and it vanished.

Look down along the bottom edge of the lens to see my hitchhiker.

Look down along the bottom edge of the lens to see my hitchhiker.

I looked down at my neon green shirt. There were several more little worms hanging on for dear life. A quick shake of the fabric sent them away. Fortunately I wasn’t that far from the end of the ride, I could just imagine/feel the worms crawling around on my damp skin and through my hair. I needed a shower to rid this creeping feeling!

I was not the only one with green hitchhikers. My husband had several spots of green stuck to his face and shirt too.  I just hate these hazards that Mother Nature sends my way.