Posted tagged ‘squirrels’

“Age is just a number. It’s totally irrelevant unless, of course, you happen to be a bottle of wine.”

June 3, 2019

The early morning was cloudy, but the sun pushed the clouds away. The day is lovely with the sun, a slight breeze and a blue sky. It will be in the 60’s. I have to go to the garden shop to pick up the potting soil I bought. There was no room in the trunk the other day. I also want a few more strawberry plants and the plants for the front step pot. If more plants catch my eye, I’ll just load them on the cart. I am a sucker for plants.

Today is laundry day. Enough said!

Henry is upstairs hiding from me. He sensed I wanted him. He’s right. I need to put his name tag back on his collar. He also needs a trip to the vet’s to have his nails clipped. Poor Henry!

I have a slow week as there is only a single entry on my dance card, one for Wednesday. The garden shop and the Christmas tree shop are on my list. I need to replace my barbecue cover as the spawns of Satan have chewed off one half of it. It is bare to the elements and covered with pollen. This cover is the fourth victim of the spawns. The third cover disappeared completely. It wasn’t on the deck or in the yard. A six foot fence surrounds my yard. It must have taken an army of spawns to steal it and get it over or under the fence.

When I was a kid, old was relative. My grandparents were really old to me. My parents, not as much. Each grandmother wore the accepted old lady’s wardrobe of the day. Their dresses were flowered, small flowers, not big ones which would draw the eyes. Their shoes were black with laces and stubby heels. They wore bib aprons which also had flowers. One grandmother wore slippers in the house. Her nylons were scrunched around her ankles, and the backs of her slippers were flattened by her feet. My other grandmother used to have a wire basket with wheels. She’d take it up the street to the First National, buy her groceries then drag the filled basket home. She was the unimaginative cook. I never thought as either one as the future me.

“How strange it is to view a town you grew up in, not in wonderment through the eyes of youth, but with the eyes of a historian on the way things were.”

February 22, 2018

For two days Boston has hit 70˚. We hit a high of 55˚. The sun has deserted us. It is cloudy again and damp and chilly. Last night it rained a little. I was lying in bed reading and heard what I thought at first was a mouse gnawing. It wasn’t. It was the patter of rain falling quite slowly at first then more heavily, but it quickly stopped.

Yesterday I went to the deck and did a bit of cleanup. I also filled the bird feeders. The cover for the barbecue has disappeared. I checked the yard from the deck but didn’t go under the deck. My first thought was an army of squirrels has set up camp somewhere close and my cover, which already had a huge section chewed off, was perfect for their tents. Two bricks were on the top to prevent the cover from blowing off. I found those on the deck. Maybe a spawn of Satan will be back to get the bricks for their camp walkway.

I actually cleaned most of this room. I polished and washed all the curios on shelves. I did such a good job I need sunglasses now because everything shines. I also caught up with the laundry. I feel accomplished.

When I sleep, I look a bit like a question mark as I still make room for Gracie to sleep beside me.

When I was a kid, my town was my world. I never thought it was small. Uptown had wonderful stores, and the library and the post office anchored the beginning and the end of the square. Some days the square smelled like fresh bread from Hank’s Bakery or popcorn from the candy makers behind the square. O’Grady’s Diner was across the street from the library. Once in a while, my father took me to breakfast there. We sat at a booth with red vinyl seating. I used to beg for dimes or a quarter to play the juke box. Every booth had a small box, and I’d turn the pages in our booth to find a favorite song. On Saturday mornings seats at the counter were mostly filled with all men. Saturday was their errand day with stops at the Chinamen, the barber and maybe the drug store or the Redmen then finally the diner. I loved my little uptown

“Shedding late-summer tears for the end of cherry season. Patiently and hopefully waiting for pumpkin pie season.”

August 25, 2015

The weather has broken. We have sun and a breeze. It is still hot, but the breeze makes the deck the best place to be. I’ll sit under the umbrella, read and watch the birds. The feeders need attention so I’ll fill them again today. The red spawn was on the deck rail, but it jumped onto branches then scooted away when it heard me. I guess all the hosing worked.

The summer is nearly over. There are fewer cars on the road this week. Some schools have opened and others open next week. Labor Day is in two weeks. That used to be the official end of the tourist season here when most motels and restaurants closed, but not anymore. The season now extends into October and the Columbus Day weekend.

The fall, the nicest time of year here, is probably called the shoulder season, but I always think of it as bus season. Tour buses, filled with older people, retirees, take over where the cars used to be. You can usually see the guide standing in the front of the bus chatting with microphone in hand.

The mums are here, one of the first signs of the changing seasons. They are on display at every garden center, and the ones I’ve planted the last few seasons have buds and flowers. I never noticed flower garden when I was a kid. I don’t even remember mums or a local garden center. I do remember farm stands selling pumpkins and corn stalks. We used to pass them on our Sunday drives to my grandparents. In those days much of the ride was on side roads until we connected with Route 1, but even then we drove through a few neighborhoods before we’d hit the oil tanks where the ships were moored. I remember the farm stand in Revere right near the church. The stand was set at an angle and pumpkins in piles filled both sides of the front. Inside the stand we could see those oblong fruit baskets filled with apples and vegetables. We never stopped there. We never even asked. We just knew my father would say no. He hated stopping. He was a straight here to there sort of guy.

“Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.”

June 30, 2014

This morning I decided to haul my laptop to the deck. Usually I read the papers, drink my coffee and go back inside to write. Today, though, is so lovely I couldn’t bear to be in the house. Gracie, a creature of habit, did go back inside for her morning nap but joined me here after a while. She is now sleeping behind me in the shade of the giant scrub oak. The air is cool with a breeze strong enough to blow the pages of the paper away, but I caught them just before they went into the backyard. The birds were here earlier but have since moved on. The cheeky red spawn saw me go in and jumped onto the deck expecting to munch the seed without human intervention or the jet spray from the hose. When I came back out, it jumped onto a branch right by the deck and watched me for a while as if to dare me. In the showdown, I went for the hose. It leapt to another tree and kept going. We will both live to fight another day.

The paper was filled with choice tidbits. They have found a new deer tick borne disease which has yet to be named. I’m thinking Skip or maybe Ted. The great whites are back, and there is a three-year study to determine which of them return to the Cape every summer. I’m sure the seals would also love to know. The big front page news was about a state rep visiting his constituents before he begins his reelection campaign. He rides a Freego, the Chinese version of a Segway, to save gas. I’m thinking buying American would have been a better idea for a state rep. The article, otherwise boring, did give me a chuckle. An 81-year-old woman told him he needed exercise not a scooter. He answered like the politician he is and said we all need exercise.

This morning writing Coffee took me a long time because I was so easily distracted by everything around me, by the swish of the leaves blown by the wind, the irritated sounds of the impatient chickadees waiting their turns at the feeders, the chattering of the angry spawn, Gracie’s snoring and the sun and the flowers. I sometimes forget that no day is ordinary.

“The woods would be quiet if no bird sang but the one that sang best.”

March 28, 2013

The morning is cloudy and was rainy earlier but it was a small rain, droplets. I would moan and groan about the sunless world in which I live except this morning was different. Over the sound of the rain I could hear birds singing. They were greeting the morning, and rain didn’t matter: it was the joy of the morning.

I stood at the kitchen window and watched the flicker pecking at suet in the feeder I bought just for him. A bird I don’t know waited its turn. I’ll look it up later in my bird book. One goldfinch was bright with color, the first to break out of winter drab. I noticed the thistle feeder is empty. I’ve had more goldfinches than ever, sometimes seven or eight at the same time, and thistle is a favorite of theirs. The chickadees are few, and I miss them. They, the titmice and nuthatches are the sunflower seed birds. I have three different feeders for them. The sole woodpecker is either at the suet in the small feeder or tapping a pine tree. The small suet feeder looks like a house. It’s kind of cool and the birds grab on upside down.

I don’t remember people having bird feeders in their yards when I will little. The few times we went to Boston in the warmer weather, I remember feeding the pigeons and the ducks at the Public Garden. I also remember feeding the squirrels. That was before their spawn days. I thought it was really neat to see them so up-close. Pigeons are still fun to watch. Drop a few pieces of bread and they all move to the same spot, pushing and shoving and even taking to the air. They are very noisy birds. I always feel bad about pigeons. They’re nobody’s favorite bird. They have squat bodies and are dull in color. Pigeons seem to hang around in large numbers so the odds of getting bread are slim. I always try to throw some to the back of the pack which then makes all them turn just about at the same time and they all squawk about the inconvenience.

My mother used to get pigeons at her feeders, city birds we’d call them. It frustrated her to no end. She wanted cute little birds like chickadees, but, instead, she’d get sparrows, almost as common as the pigeons. The crows dropped by often because my mother was always throwing out something for them. “Save it for the crows,” she’d tell us. Once she got a seagull. That was a puzzler. She called to have me guess the bird which had visited. I didn’t guess seagull. That’s one bird which has never ever stopped at my feeders. I guess my mother’s was a country cousin of sorts visiting its city cousins. She never saw another seagull in her yard.

“You dirty rat…”

January 14, 2013

The weather hasn’t changed. It is a grey, dark unseasonably warm day. The paper says a high of 48˚. I guess this is the January thaw except nothing needed thawing except the tiniest blots of ice still left on corners from the plows during that ersatz snow storm.

The mouse count is higher: 6 have been relocated. The latest one got caught last night, but I left him in the trap all night. That’s the last time I’ll do that. It was a small one which was shaking when I let him go. He was so unsteady on his feet he had to stay a while in one spot. I watched until he finally moved across the street with a bit more confidence. I don’t want mice in my house, but I also do not want to be responsible for their demise. If the cats get them, that’s fine with me, but I won’t use a deadly trap.

While I was waiting for my coffee to finish brewing, I went to the window to watch the birds. What did I see? A spawn of Satan was dangling on my new suet feeder gnawing on the wooden top trying to get at the suet. I ran outside to scare the beast and was amazed at how wood he’d already eaten away. I got my cayenne pepper and smeared it all over the gnawed sides and the top. The big birds love that feeder because it has a long bottom which allows them to rest their tails on it while they eat. A flicker was there just now when I got another cup of coffee. The rain hasn’t washed away the pepper-I can still see it. I hope that keeps the spawns away.

The rodents have a vendetta against me. Somewhere, in rodent headquarters, my picture or a reasonable facsimile, is on the wall. The beasts meet periodically to figure ways to drive me crazy. The huge, fat spawn which can barely jump from limb to limb is probably the leader. He riles the troops. The mice find the smallest holes and get inside. The spawns mock me by eating not only the seeds but also the feeders.

I’m beginning to think I’m losing it here. It is Gaslight reinvented. The mice and spawns are out to drive me crazy. I’m just so glad the 6 ft fence keeps out the raccoons and the skunks. That would be too great a coalition even for me.

“Rarely does one see a squirrel tremble.”

June 15, 2012

Cue the trumpets! It was coffee and the papers on the deck this morning for the first time this season, and the sun was so bright I felt like the Mad Hatter moving from chair to chair to avoid the glare. Gracie came with me and she found the shade. While there, I noticed the deck needs some more sweeping because of the rain storms, and I’ll do that later as I intend to spend most of the day there with book (disguised as my iPad) in hand.

Tonight is the first play of the season, and it is at the Cape Playhouse. The Hound of the Baskervilles is the play, but, according to the review, it,” … is absurd. Ridiculous. Overblown,” but then the critic goes on to say, ” But please, please don’t let that stop you, because those are exactly the things that make it an extremely successful, albeit odd, twist on the old Sherlock Holmes yarn.” I am curious and a bit uneasy. I always think of Sherlock Holmes as a character with whom you don’t meddle, but I will reserve judgment until I see the play.

I woke up when it was almost light, and I heard the chorus of birds greeting the new day. The air was filled with bird songs, and I stayed awake a while to listen. It is a perfect way to start the day, with a joyous sound. I fell asleep again but I think I might have been smiling.

The gray spawns of Satan have not been around. It seems they have been replaced by the evil red spawns who have been known to attack their grey cousins. The red spawns are small enough to fit in between the wires of the squirrel proof feeders, and when I see them at those feeders, I run out to the deck like a screaming mad woman. Well, actually, I am a screaming mad woman with mad having all sorts of connotations. Maybe, once the deck season starts in earnest, the spawns will stay away. I can only hope, but if that doesn’t work, I’m thinking a weapon might be what I need. Maybe I’ll try a potato gun. They can always eat the ammo.

” Dreaming men are haunted men.”

August 19, 2011

Today is muggy as my mother would say. The air is listless and I feel closed in a bit. As I sit here at the keyboard mulling the day, I’m keeping an eye on the deck through the window near me. My goldfinches are back. They were gone for a while, but two of them are back at the feeders. Lots of chickadees are in and out. Yesterday a red spawn of Satan and I had a stare down. He stood on the deck rail daring me so I chased him away time and time again. I even shook the branches on which he had taken refuge. I turned into a crazy lady. He finally left without getting at any of the feeders I had just filled. Crazy lady one, red spawn of Satan nothing.

Once I finish here I’m heading to the deck with the book I’m reading. It’s a typical summer book without a lot of substance but one with a mystery and one murder so far. It’s called Back of Beyond, and I’m almost finished. Summers past I used to try and read something I couldn’t get through like Crime and Punishment, but I gave up doing that as I never did finish any of them. Besides, I find murder and mayhem far more fun to read. My iPad already has about six mysteries loaded for my trip, but I figure I’ll need a few more. The flights are long.

Last night I had the weirdest dream. I know the dream came from my subconscious because I have to pick up some prescriptions at the pharmacy which has called a couple of times, and the errand has been on my mind. In my dream, I went to Pullo’s, the drugstore which used to be right next to the movie theater when I was a kid. Mr. Pullo had a mustache and always wore a short white coat with buttons across the front like Dr. Kildare used to wear in the movies. In my dream, a boy was hanging by his feet from a bar halfway up the front door. He looked a bit like Cheetah wearing overalls and hanging from a branch in a Tarzan movie, but no one inside seemed to care or even notice. The soda fountain was right where it had been in Pullo’s but the back of the pharmacy was different in my dream. There was a man sitting next to a griddle, like they have in diners, and he was smoking a cigar. Mr. Pullo and he were talking. The man was burly and dressed in a heavy coat and hat. For some reason he looked Russian to me. That’s where the dream ended.

At some point I got up to go to the bathroom, and when I fell back to sleep, the dream started again with the same boy in overalls hanging on the door. I walked into Pullo’s but that is as far as I remember of the rerun.

It’s amazing what our subconscious resurrects. I have an errand I have to do, and I’m getting nagged in my dreams. I swear I’m going today!

“I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars.”

August 6, 2011

It wasn’t until 10 o’clock that I woke up this morning. Gracie was sleeping beside me with her head on the other pillow and Fern was sleeping against my leg. I have no idea where Maddie was, but she came in the room when she heard us stirring. The morning was perfect for sleeping, cool and cloudy, so we all took advantage. Since then I have been piddling around and all of a sudden I realized how late it had gotten so here I am. The weather for the rest of the week is predicted to be like today: cloudy and maybe rainy. I was going to go to the movies but so will everyone else. The rule of thumb is no movie on a rainy or cloudy day because the tourists are all there.

The birds have been really active today, and for the first time in a long time, a goldfinch is back. They used to be frequent visitors. I saw a male cardinal earlier and a few finches at the small feeder. A spawn of Satan has already emptied one of the feeders. I watched him hanging by his feet from a branch as he ate upside down. The blasted red squirrel is also around. He is most decidedly evil. I have seen him harassing the gray spawns, and he has scolded me on many occasions. He is also small enough to fit inside the squirrel proof bars on the other feeders. If I had a sling shot, that red squirrel would be in my cross hairs (I know slingshots don’t have them. I was being figurative).

I can hear lawns being mowed, kids playing in their front yards and dogs barking. My quiet neighborhood wakes up like this every Saturday morning. It always reminds me of when I was a kid, and Saturday was the nosiest day of the week. Everybody was outside talking to each other as they did the week’s chores. My mother and our neighbor each had their own clothes lines, but they were together in rows. My mother had the first three lines and our neighbor the second three. It was the same in every backyard. The houses were all duplexes in the project where we lived. My street had three duplexes while the whole project had twelve. The rest of the houses were up the hill and   around a small rotary. The last house was beside the parking lot nobody used except us kids.  It was where we went roller skating.

Every lawn got mowed on Saturday. It was a point of pride in my neighborhood to have a healthy green lawn. Neighbors whose lawns were scraggly and had patches of sand were talked about by the fathers who pushed the hand mowers every Saturday. Most early evenings I could hear the sprinklers. The metal ones always made noises when they whirled. My dad used to turn his onbefore coming into the house when he got home from work.

My dad, his whole life, used a blade lawn mower. He swore it cut the grass better than any other other kind. We’d offer to buy a gas mower for Father’s Day, but he always said no. He loved cutting the grass in that back and forth pattern he’d perfected over the years. He would never let us cut the grass. We didn’t do it right. I miss the sound of that mower, and I miss watching my dad cut his lawn.

“We call this a fine mess of squirrels.”

May 15, 2011

The day is lovely, sunny and warm. I sat outside for a long while talking to my neighbor as her dog, Cody, romped in the backyard with Gracie. They are the best of friends and have been since Gracie was a puppy. Cody tires first, but Gracie is relentless.

Tonight my friends are coming for dinner. It has been a long while since I cooked a real meal. Most evenings I am content with eggs or a sandwich or even cereal. We’re having Mediterranean chicken which translates into a Moroccan rub, couscous with raisins and pine nuts and baby carrots which I’ll probably steam. I needed them for color. When I choose a menu, I imagine how all the dishes will mesh, and I visualize the meal to make sure it has a bit of color. I used to cook all the time, but I’ve gotten lazy; however, with summer coming, I’ll be making dinner more often for deck dining. Saturday is always movie night, and I like to serve dinner first while we wait until it gets dark enough to see the movie. My sister and brother-in-law are coming this summer. Rod said he wants to see a movie on the deck  and wants to take an outside shower. I’ll be happy to accommodate him as Rod is the best of hosts when I visit Colorado.

Yesterday a small red spawn of Satan was in one of the feeders. I ran at him waving my arms and screaming like a crazy woman, and he jumped out of the feeder onto a tree limb then up the tree where he sat and scolded me. Later he was again in the feeder, but this time I waited until I got closer to scare him. He fell out of the feeder to the ground then scampered up a tree where he sat reprimanding me for the longest time. Gracie was circling the tree. I was not at all sympathetic. From my desk, I can see that feeder, and crazy woman is sitting and watching and waiting.