Tag Archives: fun

Chocolate Chips and the Guzheng

23 Dec

Chocolate chips are about as “native’ a United States food item one can get that are not readily available or used  in much of the rest of the world.

Back in the 70’s I was an exchange student to the Australian Outback–near Walgett, NSW.  When I wanted to make something typically American for my host family I thought of chocolate chip cookies.  They had never heard of such an item.  My mother sent some, a big undertaking, and expensive, in those days.

To the best of my recollection, I saw none for sale and ate no foods in Panama, Mexico or Bolivia in the 70’s, 80’s or 90’s containing chocolate chips.

There were lots of chocolate bars in Mongolia, but no chips.

Ditto in Israel.

Back in the 90’s my friend Soon, from Korea, wanted to make Rice Crispy bars.  To her _they_ were the quintessential American food.


The daughter of one of my friends from China plays the Guzheng.  I finally saw a photo of one yesterday and listened to a musician performing on one here today.

The Guzheng similar to a harp.  And a piano.

Free At Last, But Not Really

4 Oct

They are on their own.   They come and go as they please.  But they are not free, really, because they are dependent upon us to provide food for them.  Like some people.

This was in the hutch before we moved the box.


This is the day of the move.


At home up high.

Earl, who had the broken leg?  He bullies Merle.  Merle has figured out he must fight back or run and hide when he has food that Earl wants.

They come down two to three times a day for food interaction.  And they eat as they wish from food we leave out for them on the woodpile.

We gave them a small antler:  they have chewed over 1/2 inch off one tip so far.  Is that not interesting?  I think so.  That is how they are getting their trace minerals and calcium now.  And we didn’t have to teach them!


Momentary Fur Neckpiece

28 Sep


They are both on nuts, corn, antler, fruit, bread and water now.  Hickory nuts!  Chinese horse chestnuts!  peanuts!


27 Sep

Today two adult Monarch butterflies were flitting about in the field where all the larvae were.  Visiting their natal area?  No larvae have been seen since Sunday, one on that day, which was finishing up a leaf on a Milkweed , stripping it down to the center rib.

Two flocks of geese went over, eyeing the newly shorn corn field.   They saw Hawthorne snuffing in the field and opted not to land.  I had concealed myself in the hedge row hoping they would.

A smallish red pepper heisted from someone’s garden turned out to be hot.  I cut it up and put it in a pan of turkey garlic soup.  Raw it seemed fine and not at all hot.  But in the soup?  I almost choked!  And now, hours later, the fingertips of my right hand, which held the pepper while it was diced, tingle and burn as if they are being slowly broiled over a very small flame.

Sunday was the pumpkin harvest.

And the gourd harvest.  A smaller someone seemed tonight to appreciate the ones that came home:

This morning Earl drank about 11 ml of cream mix.  Merle?  Pshaw!  He has not lowered himself to milk products in a couple days.  He is eating nuts and drinking water, thank you very much.

Merle is also thinner than he was.  Not unusual.

They are both starting to jump and are much quicker.  They run and leap now.

They come in most days in the morning and evening for some bonding time.  Their nest box will soon be moved to the tree and they will have more room to roam at will.

New Box

13 Sep

Banner’s old home box was well loved and used up.  Jay moved it to the large white spruce this spring because the starlings were using it as a nest box and he could shoot them coming out of it easier there.  But it had seen its best days: the roof and corners had been chewed; it no longer kept out all the wet.

So last night jay finished up a new box for the Earl and Merle Squirrel. Then we rearranged their cage.  They slept in their tissue box on top of the wood box last night.  We want to see if they will move their things into the box on their own.



Ooh, a hole!

Yesterday morning we took a spin together.

And this morning 11 new Monarch larvae were seen.  I walked in areas of the field I have not before.  How happy seeing each new one made me. 32 + 11 = 43.  At least.

Fish and Squirrels

8 Sep

Over six inches of rain have fallen here since Monday.  The county roads are all closed.  The girl’s second day of school cancelled.  But thanks to Jay’s efforts, our basement is drier than it would normally be after this much rain.  He spent a long time working on redirecting roof water into and onto eaves troughs pointing away from the house.

Monday during the downpour he went fishing and brought back: Two bass and a catfish.  We had them for supper last night and will have them again for lunch today.

Monday Angela came to visit.  We played games, napped, watched a documentary on origami and Angela served as comforter for Merle.

He took a long nap on her.

Yes, the squidgjums now have names: Merle for the larger and Earl for the smaller.  Other names I liked were vociferously shot down: Nic and Nac, Zig and Zag, Ric and Rac.   But Jay liked Earl and Merle Squirrel. And Isabelle conceded the point.  I, as little red hen, thought I should be able to name them what I wished.  You understand the allusion, do you not?

Last night Sue and Max came.  They are the ones who brought us Earl and Merle a a week ago Tuesday night.  They were pleased to see how well they were and how much they had grown.

Notice Earl’s nice new splint.  The fourth he has had.  This one is Tygon tubing held in place by duct tape.  The last one, also Tygon, was held by masking tape.  He removed it after two days.  Here he is basking in a typical squirrlkin pose.

It is not only children who get in one’s hair.  Squirrels do so in a more direct fashion:

I am busy feeding Earl.  Merle decided he needed to go hunting for milk and worked his way up through my hair.  And then back down.  Ow!

All the way to where there was actual food.

Both Merle and Earl are now grinding walnut pieces to very small bits in between milk feedings.  I am assuming some bits are being ingested.  Although there are a terrific number of  nut granules to shake out of their bedding.

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.

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