Archive for the ‘squirrels’ Tag

08-06-2016 Journal Entry – The 2016 Squirrel Wars!   Leave a comment

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I’m a little late in posting today due in part to visiting family from Maryland.  All of us have been kept rather busy for a few days which makes posting this blog more difficult.  Things remain much of the same around here. I take care of the garden, cut what grass that hasn’t been burned away by the heat and lack of rain, and of course . . . PRAY FOR RAIN.

I’m also in the midst of a battle with a community of squirrels (both gray and red) that have a special love for our house and our bird feeders.  A couple of weeks ago I was sitting in our second floor living room doing some work on my laptop. The living room is directly adjacent to a porch that leads onto a second story deck.  I had the door to the deck open so the stupid cat could lounge around outside which in hindsight was my first big mistake.

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I was completely focused on the computer  but  noticed some movement out of the corner of my eye. I looked up and sitting in the middle of the living room was a red squirrel calmly watching me.  Apparently a string of loud curse words are the perfect squirrel repellent I’ve been looking for.  He made a dash for the door and onto the deck and dove straight into the nearby trees.  Where was my ferocious cat?  He was asleep on the chair not three feet from the damn squirrel. He barely blinked an eye as I was screaming at it.  He’ll pay for his total lack of interest in the very near future.

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The very next day I heard a noise on the porch and that same little red squirrel was in the process of chewing through a bag of bird seed. Again he escaped but just barely.  He sat in a nearby tree chittering at me until I shot him in the ass with a B-B gun.  I hate killing them but I will certainly take every opportunity to give him a bruise or two with that B-B gun.

Soooooooo! Today I was once again alone in the house working in the living room. I was really concentrating on my project and jumped nearly three feet in the air due to a loud crash on the porch. I ran over to investigate and found a big fat gray squirrel sitting next to an overturned container of bird seed. He saw me and very calmly walked out onto the deck and split.  I may be a little slow on the uptake but I’m reasonably certain the word is out in the squirrel community that I have food on my porch.

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Tomorrow I will begin taking steps to address these issues but I’m not optimistic.  I’ve been involved in two other squirrel wars at other places I’ve lived and sadly lost them both.

I’M  HOPING FOR THE BEST AND EXPECTING THE WORST

08-20-2015 Journal–A Return to the Sanctuary!   Leave a comment

The Dog Days of August are upon us with all of the heat and humidity that they bring.  I’ve been staying fairly inactive due to the heat but it’s driving me crazy.  I just need to get the hell out of the house.

I decided to visit an old friend today. That’s the Wildlife Sanctuary in Scarborough, Maine.  Over the last five years I’ve spent a great deal of time there documenting the plants and wildlife.  I was driven to create a photo book of the place which took me two years to complete.  I was very proud of the result but knew all along it could be a double-edged sword.  My biggest fear was that people would read the book and then decide to visit the place in large numbers that might change things in the Sanctuary.  Unfortunately I was correct.

In past years the Sanctuary wasn’t visited all that much and remained a pristine place to monitor and photograph the wildlife.  In just two short years the place has dramatically changed.  Since the town received copies of the book, they’ve begun promoting the place.  The trails are now mowed to twice their original size and from all of the piles of dog feces, it’s becoming a dog park rather than a wildlife refuge.

Vandalism is evident in certain places with hints of teenage visitors from nearby high schools occasionally appearing. Most of the wildlife I initially photographed is now almost impossible to find.  They must have decided to leave the immediate area due to the increased human and canine traffic.

Here are a few photos I snapped as I made a casual walk-thru just looking for anything.

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‘The milkweed fields are as healthy as ever.’

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“Thistles continue to flourish.’

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‘Lots of elderberries available for use.’

The birds and squirrels are harder to find these days and even the deer seem to have moved on.  I decided to made a quick stop in the swamp, hoping for some dragonfly activity but even it was minimal.  In years past they completely filled the air over the swamp but that’s no longer the case.  I was hard pressed to get more than a handful of usable photo’s.

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I continued on to a second small pond looking for damn near anything.  Usually the place is overrun with frogs but I found just these two.

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There was a time when I could visit the sanctuary three times a week and never see another person.  Today there were three cars plus my own. A family with three small children and three dogs were running here and there while the parents picked blackberries nearby.  They spent part of their time trying to keep the dogs from attacking me, which I greatly appreciated. 

I’m sorry I ever made the book available to the public. I should’ve visited the Sanctuary, created the book for myself, and kept my mouth shut about it.  I may have helped ruin the place and that makes me sad.

05-16-2015 Journal– Squirrel Peace Treaty!   Leave a comment

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I’m happy to announce that a peace treaty has been reached in my eight year struggle with the squirrels.  Every place I’ve lived and gardened over the years I’ve been forced to deal with those little delinquents who insist on driving me insane.  I’ve tried just about everything but I’ve never gotten the upper hand. 

Seven years ago we were inundated with a population surge of red squirrels. They’re much more aggressive than the grays and caused a great deal of damage to my deck and feeders.  I spent some money for ammunition and was able to thin the herd a little.  After tons of research and the expenditure of more money than I care to think about, I found feeders the little bastards couldn’t get into.  They continued to visit my deck and tried over and over again to piss me off without much success.

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One side of our property faces a wooded area where gray squirrels dominate and on the other side of the property the trees are filled with reds.  I was beginning to feel overrun like the last guy at the Alamo.  I hated shooting them so I continued  looking for a way to make peace.

Earlier this year I decided to try misdirection on them by installing a squirrel feeder behind the house.  It’s easily in reach by both factions but it also keeps all of them away from my house and deck.  Now they can battle amongst themselves for the food I supply and I get to sit back and watch the fun.

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Finally I have a little piece of mind.  I had to buy the feeder and the corn to put in it but I can live with that. As you can see from these photos these little guys have no fear of humans, especially this human.  I walked around taking these photo’s and he never blinked an eye.

His new routine begins every morning around 7:30 am.  He shows up for his breakfast and then climbs back into the trees.  I’ve made peace with the reds but the grays have yet to attempt a visit to the new feeder.  The war will continue between them but for a change I won’t be stuck in the middle.  It’s worth every penny.

10-26-2014 Journal Entry-Leaves & Chickens!   Leave a comment

I’m still waiting . . . . for what you might ask . . . . for dryness. This last week here in Maine was like the monsoon season in India except for the bone chilling icy cold nights.  I mentioned in a recent post about all the effing leaves I’ve been dealing with and I’m here to tell you it hasn’t gotten any better.  Not only do we have more leaves than before but they’re now soaking wet. There’s nothing harder than trying to rake giant piles of wet leaves because they refuse to cooperate.  I’m only bringing it up again because it’s my one and only chore for today and I just don’t want to do it.

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‘Dumb Birds’

As I write this post I’m tightly wrapped in my red dragon blanket, still in bed, sipping my coffee, and looking out the window at another gray and damp day. Most of the trees have dropped their leaves except for a few of the more stubborn oaks.  They always seem to hang on a little longer than the others before giving it up for the Winter.  As usual I can just make out a few squirrels romping through the nearby tree branches enjoying the last days of Fall. I won’t see much of them again until we have a few warmer than normal days later in the Winter.  They’ll sneak out, look around, smell the air, and try to find an acorn or two. Then it’ll be back to their nests to await Spring’s arrival.  I guess those squirrels have the right idea.  I’m trying to do much the same thing if you think about it.  If it’s good enough for a bunch of furry little squirrels then it should work for me as well, right?

Most of the birds have headed south and at times I envy them.  The woodpeckers, the blue jays, and chickadees are back in large numbers and will be around for the entire winter.  We supply them with plenty of food and suet to help them through the worst of it.  It always amazes me that any of them ever survive the Winter.  This morning I found our backyard filled with black birds and I’m not sure what they were looking for but they working hard at it.

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‘Stupid Birds’

For the first time in a week I can actually see blue skies and the sun. I can remember as a kid how much my friends and I loved climbing onto and under the piles of leaves.  My Dad found it amusing for as long as it took him to realize we were making more work for him.  Maybe today I’ll revert to an earlier version of myself, pile up some leaves, and dive right in.  The smell of those wet leaves should take me right back to age seven for a few minutes. Then reality will set back in and I’ll realize I’m sitting in a pile of wet leaves  in the middle of my yard and giving the neighbors a reason to question my sanity.

As I stepped out my back door I received another big surprise.  From out of nowhere two chickens arrived at my door and are refusing to leave.  Now I’ll be forced to spend time today polling my neighbors to see who they belong to.  I’ll never again feel guilty about eating chickens . . . they’re too stupid to live.

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“Dumb and Stupid Birds’

Anyone out there interested in a few chicken wings?

01-26-2014 Journal Entry – I Love the Nightlife!   1 comment

There was a time time in my life when I was the ultimate night person.  I slept all day and worked and played all night.  After work I’d  visit a variety of clubs and bars returning home in the wee hours of the morning.  It was a great time in my life because everyone knows the best shit happens after dark in the middle of the night.

I worked those hours for more than five years.  My job required visits to massage parlors (not officially as a patron), strip joints (not officially as a paying customer), and even the occasional brothel (again, not as a paying customer).  I became educated very quickly to the unbelievable quantity of nightlife activities, how to enjoy them, and even more important, how to survive them.

The more things change the more they remain the same.  All these years later I’m discovering a whole new word of nightlife here in Maine that I’ve been totally unaware of.  We live in what could be called a rural area.  Our home is adjacent to a small river and a large forest of pines.  We live far enough out that without assistance from technology (range extender) we can’t receive cell phone signals and are not registering on most GPS devices.  It’s like living in Never-Never Land.  That being said, we love it. We thought that “wildlife” in this area was mostly confined to the Portland metro area and was low key and had a minimum of crime to deal with.  How little we really knew.

Last night we had an unusual snow fall. It snowed for no more than twenty minutes and then stopped completely.  There was just enough snow to cover everything in a pristine white sheet.  We went to bed after the snow fall stopped and remarked to each other about how white and smooth the back yard seemed with the new snow cover.  There wasn’t a mark of any kind on that snow.

We awoke this morning and walked to the window and were shocked at what we saw.  It appears that our backyard is the night club for most of the “wildlife” in this area.  These pictures will give you some idea of the night time traffic taking place in our back yard.

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We live our lives giving little or no thought to the “life” swirling around us every day and night.  I saw tracks of coyotes, deer, chipmunks, squirrels, one lonely turkey, a big fat skunk, and a trail left by that sneaky cat belonging to our neighbors.  I’m not surprised too often but this was amazing. I guess that one day warming trend we were blessed with brought everyone out to celebrate.

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I think I may have to pay a little more attention to what’s going on around me.    With a good lens and a small night light I might just be able to get some really interesting photographs.

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