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Squirrelkin, Squidgum, Squidjum, and Soap Foam

5 Sep

The Castile girl and I have been having disagreements about what to call and how to spell different ideations of the babies.

Last night and this morning the little squirrels are up to about 10cc total of their milk replacer which is about half Esbilac and half heavy cream.  A combined total: one takes about 6 cc and the other about 4cc.  Then the next feeding the one which took 6cc takes 4cc and visa versa.

Rather than a syringe, I have found that a glass 1 ml pipette works best for feeding.  Last night and this morning I used a 2ml pipette for the first frantic dose.



The smaller one with a broken upper front leg one now has a rubber tubing splint  wrapped with masking tape and with the elbow joint also taped so the arm can not slide out.  That baby is not as happy; pain, probably.

They are housed in a tissue box in the large cage the three flying squirrels used this winter.

A stray antler, a 2.5 inch diameter log chunk, a dry washcloth they use as a latrine,  a couple pieces of dog food, a raspberry and a dab of peanut butter on a spoon complete their abode.

They are fed about 6 times per day and have noticeably gained weight, though I did not weigh them upon arrival and have not yet done so: making their food, feeding them and then cleaning them and the tools up is absorbing plenty of time.

This morning at about 3AM I was washing pipettes.

For a few months we have been using a home made soap solution in a Bath and Bodyworks dispenser that makes soap foam: an ounce or less of a mix of Bronner Eucalyptus Castile soap  , a Tea Tree oil soap  ,  and water, sometimes with a little food coloring for fun.  Those soaps were forms of delayed gratification impulse purchases on my part.  But they have been useful and a very little goes a very long way in the soap foam distribution method.   The Castile soap foam solution cleans the milk fat from the inside of the glass much better than dish washing detergent.  It works well for cleaning eye glasses, too. And, it was first made in Spanish Castile from olive oil and plant ashes.

Anyway, as cleaning progressed,  I recalled that much of my adult life has been spent feeding milk or other food to young creatures.  My MS thesis research involved different strategies of milk replacer delivery and weaning to orphan lambs. That was over 25 years ago.  There have been  more lambs, along with kittens, squirrels, birds, and of course children since then.  It is still fulfilling for me as much as for them.


12 Aug

We went to the BTI picnic yesterday afternoon into evening.  Played volleyball, tug-or-war, ladderball–a new game to me–participated in a pipetting contest, voted for the best tie-dyed t-shirt.  Isabelle checked out the large bubble making and the little pool with floaty things.  I had my first experience with face paint.  Just not on my face.  Sam, who played ladderball with us, has dark black skin and had the most wonderful bear/lion showing its teeth on his arm.

So I waited my turn very patiently and after numerous little children had gotten cheetah and tiger faces, bracelets on their wrists, peace symbols on their faces, the lady finally realized I had meant it that I would wait for my chance and obligingly gave me my very own lion.  She said Sam’s creature had been a bear.  But it was golden–perhaps a brown bear would not have shown up on his arm.  What I wanted most, though, was the open roaring mouth with fangs.




12 May

This week has been so warm that trees are leafing out rapidly.  Lawn mowing.  Weeding.  Planting. Transplanting.

The gnats and black flies are out and biting.  Every outdoor surface is covered with a layer of yellow pollen from the spruces.  The beginning of the week I could still hang out clothes. But not now.  I took Goldilocks (the snake) outside for a couple hours yesterday.  It was interesting how she watched me.  I put her in the grass just near the edge of the garden where there was plain soil to see which she would choose.  She chose the sun-warmed soil and slithered over to the cold frame and proceeded around its perimeter.  When I would walk over from my weeding to see what she was up to she would freeze when she caught sight of me.  After I was out of her sight for a couple minutes she would proceed her slow way.  She eventually turned the second corner into shade, started to turn around, then just went up and into the cold frame.  After awhile she started coming out but I walked over to see where she was and she froze.  Like a small child–“maybe if I don’t move she can not see me”.  She went back in the cold frame under the lettuces and poppies and coiled there.

Pounce came walking over.  He smelled that snake, following the path she took and eventually jumping himself into the cold frame.  Which I put a stop to. Which makes me wonder, after reading an article this week: scientists have “discovered” that mice “sing” in voices too high for us to hear.  Can snakes hear mice sing if cats can smell a snake’s passage?

The Orioles have been back for about a week.  They are eating the nectar from the flowering quince.  Earlier this week one was catching small insects in the blossoms of the plum tree.  Can you find it?  This is a close-up of the photo taken about 40 feet away.  I sat at the base of one of the large spruces and waited for them to return to feed.

For those who are squeamish: do not look at the next picture.  It shows the snails that were in the large brown trout Jay caught yesterday.  They are on newsprint for relative size.  Is that not interesting?

Up in one of the small trees being grown for some Christmas  a robin keeps making a noisy exit each time I am near weeding the flowers.  This is why:

The three fish are in the process of being ready to be smoked.  The flesh of the last is bright orange-red–like a wild caught salmon.  Jay attributes this to crayfish in its diet.  And perhaps living in a spring-fed pond?

This is another kind of currant.  It is a shrub: the flowering currant.  The small flowers are incredibly fragrant.  They have a clove-like scent which wafts over the lawn all times of day.  Wonderful.

The first clematis.  A shrubby kind and the first time it has ever bloomed.  For years it got trampled and barely survived; it lives just above the garden too near where we walk.  So I have been pampering it the past couple years; this year it seems happy and has a couple dozen blooms coming.

Health Information

3 May

From an eight year old blog post of mine originally via Angela’s cousin and Suzanne.  Sounds like the Mongolians are on to something…

Q: I’ve heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life. Is this true?

A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that’s it …. don’t waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that’s like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.

Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?

A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vegetable slop.

Q: Is beer or wine bad for me?

A: Look, it goes to the earlier point about fruits and vegetables. As we all know, scientists divide everything in the world into three categories: animal, mineral, and vegetable. We all know that beer and wine are not animal, and they are not on the periodic table of elements,so that only leaves one thing, right? My advice: Have a burger and a beer and enjoy your liquid vegetables.

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?

A: Well, if you have a body, and you have body fat, your ratio is one to one. If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?

A: Can’t think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No Pain…Good.

Q: Aren’t fried foods bad for you?

A: You’re not listening. Foods are fried these days in vegetable oil. In fact, they’re permeated in it. How could getting more vegetables be bad for you?

Q: What’s the secret to healthy eating?

A: Thicker gravy.

Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little thick around the middle?

A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger. You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.

Q: Is chocolate bad for me?

A: Are you crazy? HELLO ….. Cocoa beans … another vegetable!!! “It’s the best feel good food around!”

Well, I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets. Have a cookie…flour is a veggie!

Single, Sunny, Still, Songs, Spiral, Squirrel, Sauce

3 Mar

Single digits but sunny.  And no wind; a wondrous stillness.  Yesterday was a howling whipping wind day.  On top of the thick crunchy sugar crust of snow is a light dusting that fell before the wind.  That thin layer looks like a fine painting this morning: fine brushstrokes covering the surface.  Wind work that artists try to imitate with feathers or fine hair brushes.  And through all the whiteness bright crystal sparkles of reflected light.

Even with the bitter cold, the birds are singing.  It is light earlier and later.  The Northern Mockingbird was at the feeder yesterday.  And the Brown Creeper returned to the suet tree. I had never seen one before last week.  It uses it tail as a support and spirals only up, flying down to work its way back up the tree.  Hawks, crows, jays, nuthatches, chickadees, finches, woodpeckers, the creeper: all are sounding off that spring is coming.  On the road trip last week we saw a pair of yellow-shafted flickers and some turkeys.

Our pussy willow is exceptional only for a few of its branches rather than its gray pussies.  Those are wide and flattened at the end with buds sticking out on every surface.  This one is best–a spiral.  The photo does not do it justice.

I have been contemplating moving the flying squirrels up to an enclosed porch to enable them to acclimate somewhat to the outside temperatures.  I didn’t think it would get into the single digits again.  So not yet.  But they continue to have to work for their food.  I give them whole English walnuts.  They chew one hole and eat some of the nut, then move to another nut.  To encourage them to do better, I put only as many nuts in as have been more thoroughly eaten.  This entails them chewing another hole to get at the other end.  So now I have a few necklaces worth of squirrel-slave-made “beads”.

Jay thinks they should be made into a garland for the Christmas tree.  I think maybe necklaces or buttons?  Each nut needs to be sanded.  Maybe strung with other large beads?

Isaac saw a gray squirrel on the feeder yesterday.  I saw a squirrel– could not tell the color–red or gray–crossing on branch tips from spruce to spruce outside our bedroom window this morning.  The same window Banner used to visit and come into our room through.  Sigh.

Daren harvested five grays Tuesday for me.  We were having guests for supper that would appreciate game.  I boiled them up yesterday morning.  They were noticeably smaller; the meat lighter and more tender than the big ones he gave us at Christmas.  Five yielded about 2.5 cups of meat.  It was ground up and went into homemade sauce for pizza.  Squirrel pizza.  Yum!  Quick sauce recipe: three large cloves garlic, three shallots (bought five pounds of them in the fall–must use them!), a medium onion all chopped fine and cooked in butter.  Add one quart home canned tomatoes (a red-Sungold mix), spices, extra frozen basil, salt, pepper, the rest of the ajvar and the ground squirrel.  Cook for a bit.  Really marvelous.  It got my 20-yr old out of bed.  Well, not until 10.30AM.  But he said he smelled it all the way upstairs.

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