Archive | August, 2011

Never a Dull Moment

30 Aug

Well, maybe only a moment.

This evening Sue, my friend down the road who teaches science and with whom I discuss all things nature related, called.  One of her sons and a friend had called from a restaurant where a waitress had found two baby gray squirrels at the base of a tree. Would we take them to raise if the mother did not return by the time they were done with their meal?

Jay has wished for another squirrel since Banner’s presumed demise.  Of course!  They are now ensconced in a tissue box lined with washclothes and tissues and heated with a chemical heating rectangle used to keep one’s hands warm while hunting.

Their eyes are open.  They are about the same size as Banner was when she came to us.  Dehydrated.  Drank 7cc each of a electrolyte solution before coming here.  Full feeding will wait until the morning. Both males.

Squirrel Big:

And squirrel small:

New Looks

30 Aug

So here is the home made muzzle I whipped up Sunday evening modeled by its intended , unhappy wearer:


He got it off before we were even off the porch.  But I don’t think he has eaten any more corn–yet.  This morning I purposefully took a tour of the young milkweed plants: found five Monarch larvae from itty-bitty teensy-weensy to fair-sized.  But saw no eggs.

Thanks to Irene, D stayed with us over a too short weekend before returning to NYC and school.  He will not be able to undo so easily his new looks:

This is after the beard was removed.

And this was after the hair was cut:

D did not act nearly as unhappy as Hawthorne, though.  He looks quite handsome!  And will not be looked at funny in NYC.

Late Summer Sounds

27 Aug

It is never quiet this time of year.  The insects have only a few weeks to live a whole lifetime and they are using it to the fullest.  Crickets sing non-stop.  Driving down the road you can hear different populations of insects: katydid town, tree frog alley, other high singing, whining, buzzing, noisome unknowns.

There are fewer birds singing–no dawn choruses anymore.  Now there are scolding parent birds: the robins, the house wren, the red-tail hawk.  The crows still harass the owls occasionally in the mornings.  The sapsucker occasionally flits across singing about the sap in the mountain ash.

We wake up and go to sleep and live the days to the short-lived strong-voiced chorus of insects.  An occasional coyote song.  And at night the comforting high, thin song of my blood accompanied by the deep pulse of my heart joins the insects singing in my ears as I fall asleep.


27 Aug

A couple early mornings have been still, hot, and humid.  On those mornings one can smell scents usually not available to the human nose.  Or at least my human nose.

On the house end of the hedge row there was the sharp acrid stink of a skunk.  Hmm.  This animal was scented down near the house a few nights, too.

The rank smell of some canine; fox? coyote? was up on the far end of the lane way, where piles of poop are occasionally left.

While walking two rows in on the north long edge of the corn field, holding up an arm to shield my face from  two corn leaf layers that are just at neck and head height, admiring the cathedral-like aspect and contemplating that at Hawthorne’s height it would be even more cathedral-like since the arches would not smack one in the face, I walked into a pool-like scent arena filled with the dusky smell of buck deer.  Had one or more been sleeping in the corn?  Or eating?  Or hiding?

Wednesday night was warm and still and clear when we arrived home from a meeting.  The stars in their myriads were bright in the blue-black sky.  The milky way, that highway of stars, was stretched in a curve across the vault of the sky.  Depths upon depths of stars were visible.

Later on, about 3.15AM, we were woken by a tremendous tearing explosion of thunder.  Outside it was still, not the faintest breeze stirred.  And warm.  But high above our earthly layer a big storm moved by fast, shattering the peace of the night, eventually dropping a quarter inch of rain.  The thunder and lightening went on for a good 45 minutes.  A slight breeze came up towards the end but by morning all was calm and warm and wet once again.

During that storm, Hawthorne needed attention.  Not only did the thunder upset him, he was vomiting.  Grass eating and vomiting continued until late Thursday.  He just will not stay away from the fallen corn the deer are pulling off.  Corn cob chunks can cause nasty obstructions in the intestinal tracts of dogs.  This afternoon he continues to lie down and sigh.  No food.  No water.  We have prayed for him.

Pounce slunk (is that the past participle of ‘to slink’?) upstairs and hid under our bed.

Now it is Saturday:  Thursday evening I started scoping out veterinarians who still do exploratory surgery on domestic pets without the extras many vets now think are warranted and which essentially treat the animal on the level of a human.  We do not fell at peace having a complete blood work-up, scans, and x-rays and, and, and…  Kept praying, asking for God’s mercy.

Friday morning Hawthorne was weak but went outside with me.  His urine was the color of dark buckwheat honey; scary, but there was no blood in it.  And then he slowly walked up into the field; the leading edge of his poop: a hunk of corncob with corn still attached.  He was lighter on his feet after that but after a walk and eating slept most of the day.  Thanks be to God!

Today he is himself.  We walk together now, with him on a leash until I can either buy or make a muzzle that will keep him and his beloved corn cobs apart.

40 Livers and a Flying Squirrel

23 Aug

And 40 hearts.  We helped slaughter 40 Cornish Rocks today and our friends did not want the hearts or livers.  I did.

So after cleaning and freezing most, I had fresh chicken livers fried in butter with sweet pickles.  Yum.

Last night S and her son T came to supper.  Rocky liked her very much and stayed in the sleeve of her shirt for an hour or so.

And he liked T, too.

Rocky goes home tonight, I think.

12.5 hours and 333 miles

20 Aug

Those are the bald measurements of the day Isabelle and I spent going up to Uncle Harold’s memorial service.  In the process we stopped at the farm twice, stopped to take Aunt Janice with us and then deposit her back home, and went for a quick shop at Sephora at a large mall on the way home.  Oh, and ice cream cones for supper along the lake.

Uncle Harold was a large man who did a lot of things large.  He loved to fish and hunt.  He loved to eat.  He grew vast crops of fruit and vegetables.  He grew pigs to which he fed the rejected ice cream from the plant where he worked.  He grew mammoth sized turkeys.  Who ever heard of cooking a 42 pound turkey? Harold is the tall one in the center.

Harold is on the far right.  He helped people in the same manner in which he did all other things:  largely, joyously, generously.

Harold in the middle.  Jay on the left, Daren at right, and our first dog, Boomer licking his chops  over the large buck.

His last month was, as his daughter aptly put, “brutal”.  For him, for his wife, for those who loved him and watched him suffer.  He died on the day and at the time he usually met his best friend each week for breakfast and then a fishing outing.  This week it was his Savior.

Since we left in a rush early this morning I forwent making breakfast.  But here was yesterday’s: Uncle Harold would approve if meat had also been involved.

Before.  Yes.  It is orange.

Ready to eat.  The orange tomato was slightly sweeter than a regular red.

Tomato, Wasp, Raspberry, Deer Eating Corn season

18 Aug

If you are a pale gray or white small moth, though, you better watch out.  The birds are eating you.  I find their wings in the mornings on walks.  The deer rip off the young corn cobs and take one bite before leaving them lay on the ground.  Or they break off the top of a smaller stalk and chew on the inflorescence and young leaves.  Either way, the edges of the corn fields near the woods are mangled and battered.

It is tomato sandwiches morning and noon for me these days.  Don’t knock an open-faced sandwich of toast, mayo, and fat red slice with salt for breakfast until you have had it!

Three different wasps this week have made my acquaintance.  One was already dead.  The other two species died .  The ichneumonid  wasp and the dead wasp I have yet to key out which is metallic blue with lovely tight “c”-curved antennae are being readied for use in cards.  The yellow-jackets were showing way too much interest in my window washing for comfort and were poisoned.

Yesterday we harvested the first watermelon.  The first we have ever successfully grown.

It weighed 5 pounds, 9 ounces. 

And it was very good warm.

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