Sunday, November 3, 2013

Seasons' Transitions

Last night we fell back in time. Somehow it feels connected to the oaks and their heavy plum and rust colored leaves, their obstinence in holding on, or holding back. Last year it was a disaster, the early blizzard fell on trees and the weight made them crack and groan. The pain of the forest was audible, trees crashed to the ground, limbs were torn, and homes of several animals were demolished. This transition from fall to winter is gentler this year, in fact, some of summer still lingers in the crickets and a few cicadas that insist on clinging to the bark and sounding off like broken car starters. The robins still circle around the yard -- I have so many earth worms! Raking leaves, I can scoop up fist fulls. If only I ate worms!
   This year, I won't rake back near the woods. But most of what's around the yard I'll take up. There must be a lot of tiger moths about -- I've seen so many wooly bears this year -- found some small ones dead in the road not too far from here as I walked Morris. Perhaps pesticide killed them. This is still a neighborhood that values a big green lawn.
   Last year, next door to me, a 1920s, kidney- shaped pool, full of bleach and shock was emptied into the forest. Then it was filled in with soil from the garden so that the garden is now a sunken garden inviting flooding and soil erosion. And just as sudden, the forest grew quieter. The frogs -- and there must of been a good-sized bull frog and lots of smaller ones -- were silent. Such disregard for animals makes my heart break.
Last year I didn't hear the peepers.
   The squirrels are out digging like mad, small groups of gray squirrels with black squirrels are on the lawns. I worry about those chemicals in the grass and what that will mean for squirrel reproduction. My grass is chemical free (hopefully). I am sure there are chemicals from the rain and run off from neighbors.
Morris finds a few squirrels that have darted out before the cars. He always looks for them  as we circle around. His nose needs to find them every time, they're in the leaves on the side, no one has buried them.
I read a story once about a person who felt compelled to bury all road kill in ceremony. Sometimes I feel like that.

Sunday, May 12, 2013


Slowly I am seeing more and more furry friends: cottontail, chipmunk and squirrels! A beautiful woodchuck is still around and at night there's a lone owl, hooting away. Last year its hoots were reciprocated but this year, it seems for naught, the messages are falling on a dark woods with no response. Two bird houses are at full capacity -- one with wrens, the other chickadees. I think the chickadees got there first because last year it was the wren's chosen spot.

Wren. It is so obvious that I'm being watched.

Weird Flies seem to be mating in the woody area

Identify this insect/ fly? It's on everything right now. This is Sassafras. But it's on Rhodies, etc. in western Ma.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Poison on Your Lawn

This morning two squirrels before 9:00 am. Put out critter food: corn, sunflower seed, peanuts. All the feeders are down and put away. Mass Dept. Of Wildlife guesses there may have been a virus that went through over winter or we had a proliferation of squirrels the year before from the bumper crop of acorns. Three years ago we had so many acorns that my son's car was damaged -- it looked like dough that someone had repeatedly stuck their finger into.  I'm hopeful as the months pass that I'll see more squirrels.
My concern is the prolific use of lawn pesticides being used everywhere for "green lawns." Alternative grasses, clovers, flowers, mosses, ferns, could populate spaces and poisons, because these chemicals are poison, could be curtailed. I wonder how long people spend thinking about what they're doing when they have their lawns treated? If they have one thought it is probably what they will pay for the treatment and not the cost to the environment or their own health. Squirrels bury their food in those lawns. Fireflies breed in them. There are homes that I pass where I need to hold my nose because the smell of chemicals is so strong. Leeching in the ground water, it is only a matter of time before you drink it.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Also missing are chipmunks

I miss squirrels and yes, maybe it's too early to see chipmunks. But we haven't seen those either. I did hear that there is a fisher but I haven't seen it. It really couldn't eat everything, could it? And I've seen a gorgeous woodchuck with a thick reddish brown coat and bushy tale down in the dingle. I hope to take it's picture but its very shy.
Walking in the woods by what Greg calls "the tall grass" I found several wild turkey. And one evening I saw a deer while walking Morris.

Where Have All of the Squirrels Gone

It feels as if I didn't pay enough attention. I last saw a squirrel in my yard -- a small forest -- perhaps one month ago. Incidentally, around the same time that people began spraying their yards again. There are no local squirrels in my yard even though a woods is close, there is shelter and much habitat provided by a huge several huge oaks, a beech, a dawn sequoia, plum trees, flowering pear , a towering weeping cherry, and much sassafras and other trees.
My tulips are gorgeous this year because no one is eating them. It is so distressing not to see squirrels anywhere when I walk my dog in the 2 mile circle around the neighborhood. I miss their chattering, clucking and chucking at me -- like a teenage sucking his teeth. I miss their scratchy noise as they chase each other around a tree's bark, and of course, I miss their acrobatics, jumping from limb to limb. This disappearance began over winter as fewer and fewer seem to bother the suet and the black oil sunflower seeds. I don't understand what happened to them. I am sad. Image from last year, 2012.