Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Chicks Taste Freedom

The chucks (chickens & ducks) are just over a month old now, and this means old enough to have some supervised recess out in the garden.  It was a nice day out, so I thought, what the heck!  There just really isn’t much cuter than watching those little chickadees bop in and out of the lavender like they were on the clock and had better find every last little bug.  Such sweet girls!  We break ground on the coop this weekend, so soon they will be permanently outside, and can go to work for real!

Little Packets of Happy


It’s seed-planting time again!  Actually, if I’m being honest, it’s been seed planting time for probably about two months now, since I’m in SoCal….but….I lag.  Apparently.  I try not to put too much pressure on myself about this; the seeds don’t seem to mind, so why should I?  Right?  Right.

Round one are already sprouting nicely.  To label them, I made these weather-proof flags out of duct tape and bamboo skewers.  Scotch makes some fun-colored duct tapes that are a little narrower than normal duct tape, which works well for this application.  Then, just Sharpie the seed name onto the flag!

I planted this batch of seeds in these snazzy self-watering seed starter kits that I got from good old Target.  But I gots too many seeds!  Oh, the horror.  So, instead of going and buying more of these modestly-priced contraptions, I’ve decided to MacGyver up a few of my own.  Total experiment; I have no clue if this will work.  I will post again in a few days with results.  This is groundbreaking stuff.  Heheh.  See what I did there?

The Seven Squirrels of the Apocalypse

Don’t….make….eye contact…..

A juvenile squirrel taunts the dogs through the door.

Is it just me, or are these things getting eerily smart?  I remember a time when squirrels were doe-eyed, fluffy little sacks of preciousness that you were really lucky to see at the park.  Or on a family camping trip.  They certainly were not the honey badgers that have infiltrated the cypress trees along our driveway.  What are these things?!

Don’t look in its eyes!!!

They are tree-demons.  That’s what they are.

When we first moved to this house, I was enchanted with them.  But that was before the war.  Things were different then.  I suppose it was Chance (our yellow mutt, see ‘Menagerie’ page) who started it.  It was a fateful day when he discovered that the trunk-hugging, low-set branches of the cypress trees could be used as a ladder with enough speed behind him.  That was probably the moment when it all changed.  When the tree-demons realized that their boundaries had been breached.

Chance went immediately on the defensive.  Every single day of the four years we have lived here, he has spent patrolling the driveway, his face turned to the skies, watching those cypress.  Any sign of the enemy, and he is up those trees so fast it’s breathtaking.  You haven’t lived until you’ve seen my sweet-tempered, twelve-year-old dog with his jaws viciously clamped on a tree branch ten feet off the ground.  You just haven’t lived.

Chance monitors activity in the cypress trees.

Those squirrels, though.  Nothing phases them.  If Chance is swinging ten feet off the ground, well, one of them is relaxing at eleven feet, barking (laughing) at him.  This was the extent of the madness for awhile; a bunch of fun and games really.  Fun and games until the damned squirrels began to arm themselves.  It started with persimmons.  When those weren’t in season, it was tomatoes or little cypress pine cones.  But the secret weapon?  Rocks.  I hear them more than I see them: a rock dropping twenty feet to the pavement makes a very distinct sound.  But really, I did not believe it until I saw it with my own eyes.  It was an especially active squirrel day–Chance had been on guard all afternoon as I worked in the garden.  I just happened to be turning on the driveway to head back into the house, and Abbie (our white boxer) was sitting just up the drive, waiting on me.  Right at the second I made eye contact with her, I watched a sizable rock sail out of the nearest cypress and miss her ear by less than an inch.  She flicked that ear, but was otherwise unaware.  Chance, however, saw it all, and, accordingly, went ballistic.  As he raced to that tree, calling the alarm, not one, but two more rocks, popped out of the tree.  Nobody, yet, has gotten hit by one, but from what I have seen, the aim is improving.

It is constantly suggested to me that I should get a pellet gun.  Sigh.  First of all, my aim is not as good as the squirrels’.  Second of all, they are just so….damned….cute.  I can’t do it.  I can’t do it!  This is how I know that I have truly lost….because despite it all, they are still such fluffy sacks of preciousness.

Chance still doesn’t seem to agree.

Two juveniles…why do they have to be so damned cute?!

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