Drunken Squirrels

And so my husband is a nut, we all know that. He was telling me last night about squirrels and the availability of fermented berries and pumpkin? Yes, fermented pumpkin, and the rise of alcoholism in squirrels.

I googled this nonsense and came up with a story about country clubs in the south and how the alcoholic squirrels there, yes by cracky, here we go again, alcoholic squirrels have been harassing club-goers begging for sips of their mint juleps and spiked sweet teas.

I declare! In all my born days.

Squirrels are not only friendly and cute. They are also the animal you’re most likely to see wasted in your yard. Squirrels get intoxicated from ingesting fermented crab apples, squash, magnolia petals, and cherries among other delicacies.

Oh fiddle dee dee, Magnolia petal wine! We could be missing out here kids.

And so all these good-intentioned, well-meaning homeowners are being a bit lazy and leaving their backyard fruit to ferment. Not knowing that they are practically providing an open bar to the neighborhood squirrels along with any raccoons, stray cats or rodents that may show up.

This would explain a lot of the loopiness common in squirrels and other animals. I sure as heck know how silly even the most serious humans can get when they are “feeling no pain.”

I am fine with our backyard squirrels imbibing. It might make them more fun. As long as I don’t have to live with them lying on my couch all day and complaining about a wicked hangover and wanting sympathy and their nuts shelled for them.

 

The squirrels who inhabit our backyard are definitely peanut happy. Unfortunately there are no fruit trees or liquor stores nearby but they are content, and probably better off, with the nuts and seeds we feed them. They also like the clean water we give them in one of our cat’s old kitten dishes.

They have trained us to do this and we have found we like it very much. My husband plays music on his guitar and we dole out the peanuts. The squirrels run around and our cat Mocha loves to watch them and the many birds that visit us too.

These little creatures just bound up and they are so happy to see us. You can see it on their faces; the look of happiness and that little happiness spreads to us too. It’s “like a little jolt of electricity, a little high” as my husband put it.

This is our kind of partying.

 

 

What I am really trying to say, as nutty as it sounds is: We need more “drunken squirrels” in our lives. Fun little interactions with nature. Connections with other lifeforms other than ourselves. These creatures share our environment with us. Even if its just a cute squirrel in the park. I think we humans are becoming more and more separated from that connection with nature everyday. This makes it all the easier not to notice it all trickle away.

~SBI

“If we can teach people about wildlife, they will be touched. Share my wildlife with me. Because humans want to save things that they love.”
Steve Irwin

 

The Birds of Westmoreland Park

 

Westmoreland Park is a lovely park in Southeast Portland, Oregon.  It encompasses roughly 42 acres in the Westmoreland neighborhood. The park has many features including sports fields, a playground, and ponds. 

Today we just visited one of the smaller ponds in the restored wetlands area of the park. This part of the park was revamped adding the wetlands which is allowing for the return of migrating salmon to the stream. 

We didn’t see any salmon today but we did see other urban wildlife

 The much larger rectangle pond has been drained for the season but there are still places to swim. 

This Mallard was particularly friendly. 

He swam right next to me and I started talking to him and he just kept getting closer and closer. I could see the water droplets on his feathers. He seemed to like my voice so I just kept talking. I told him how handsome he was and “Wow! What a good swimmer.” and all that. 

Someone high above my head watched it all play out. Little did the crow know that I had peanuts for him. Sorry nothing for you ducks, not today.

Crow got his peanuts and the Mallard and one of his cohorts followed along.  

I hope this family has food for them although there is a sign that states “Do Not Feed The Ducks”. I think people do anyway. 

I googled what to feed ducks. Don’t feed them bread!!

Don’t feed bread to Ducks
So, if you  feel compelled to feed your local ducks, try these instead of bread:
  1. Corn (canned, frozen or fresh)
  2. Duck pellets (sold online and at pet stores)
  3. Lettuce, other greens (torn into small pieces)
  4. Frozen peas (defrosted)
  5. Oats (rolled or instant)
  6. Seeds (including birdseed or other varieties)

from The Mother Nature Network 

This is my daughter Sara. She loves animals too. That makes her all the more lovable herself. 

 We will revisit this place, much more to see as the weather warms. 

 

❤  SBI

 

 References and related articles 

Westmoreland Park    

 

The Hide Inside

“You can keep as quiet as you like, but one of these days somebody is going to find you.”
Haruki Murakami

I have wondered how it is to try to understand me when I sometimes do not understand myself. I have put up a barrier between me and the rest of the world. I can and do retreat into the small quiet place inside where no one can get to. I would hide there as a child whenever the world became too big, too bright, too loud. I would retreat there whenever my heart would break at the smallest of upsets, when I could not understand that there were things I just couldn’t understand. Whenever I realized no one understood me, I would go there. When I would do or say the wrong thing, this became my protection, my wall, my shell, my sanctuary. I have never let anyone in.

To be honest, there are times when I like it in there.

In my adult life, during the 17 years that I lived with an emotional abuser. I would go to that place inside myself. In my imagination I created a nice place in the sun on a sandy beach that I had frequented in real life as a teen. I would sit back and watch the river flow, listen to the birds and bury my toes in the warm sand.

This sustained me during the times I could not defend myself because I was not strong enough to even realize I was worthy of defense.

I seldom go there now; that protected place as my life has changed, I left the abuser and definitely I have grown stronger but that barrier remains, the bubble that protects, the facade that makes me seem just like everyone else.

It is only through words on this screen that I type to you through my keyboard that I am able to say this much. My brain is somehow connected better this way than verbally. The words flow right from the source, actually speaking words is not my best thing, but I try.

It has taken me forty odd years to find someone I feel a deep enough connection to not only want to share myself and my inner world with.It is a thirst long overdue sating.

I try to imagine the way I must come across to him. I don’t think he realizes how different I am with him than with other people. I know he knows that I can shut down, he has seen the blank look come across my face, he has watched me instantly withdraw, he has felt my body become limp. He has seen my at my worst, he has seen what I have been able to hide from others, he has seen the exhausted me that can’t speak, he has seen the burned out me that jumps at the slightest sound. He has never judged me or made me feel bad about who I am. He has held me tight and loved the pain away. He has loved me and has tried to understand more than anyone including my own Mother. I still can’t let him in fully and I still can’t tell him in words what I am writing here about I feel. This is a curse and a blessing to me.

It is said that Asperger’s is developmental and I do continue to develop everyday. I have worked on myself my entire life. Writing this blog has certainly helped me in an abundance of ways. I hope to inspire others in this way; you matter–you are loved –you are not alone–although you are special and unique there are others who feel like you–and you can change your life.

♥SBI

Believe

You have to believe. Otherwise, it will never happen.
~Neil Gaiman

 

What do you believe? Do you believe in rational notions, in well explained, well thought out reasonable reasons? Do you believe everything has an explanation ? Or needs one?

 

Do you also believe the fairy tales you were told as a child about the things that go bump in night? In strange magical creatures, in aliens? Do you believe in the power of positive thinking? Can you stretch your imagination to believe something you have been told is not real? Can you go where your heart leads and believe what it tells you?

Albert Einstein said that reality is merely an illusion, a very persistent one but a illusion nonetheless. I believe everyone has their own separate realities that are all unique unto themselves and that we do have a choice in what our own reality is. Of course I can’t wish a terrible president away or think happy thoughts and start to fly but I can take actions to direct my own destiny and I can believe whatever the hell I want to. And so what  if I believe in unicorns, fairies, talking crows and humans with good hearts I can
If you want to believe that too, you can,  but if you don’t believe that is okay , I still think you are wonderful and it doesn’t make my beliefs any less valid. 

 

Part of me is more rational than the other and I choose which part to believe at certain times. The whimsical one is getting more power all the time as I grow wiser with time.  The whimsical side has a much better use for time than the practical side I imagine. 

 I believe that people generally want to believe something, something beyond or greater than themselves. Our time here is so short and the universe is so very big and we are so very small.  

The best beliefs are those which you cannot prove to be true, the invisible ones you hold your heart. somehow I think people lose sight of that along the way, we are told what to believe and not to believe by our parents , our peers, by society. 

I feel I can believe whatever I want to, no matter what, as long as the belief is good and pure and honest, as long as it does not hurt anyone or anything, as long as it does not contradict what my heart, what my soul tells me to be true. I can believe whatever I want to and I can can disbelieve any biased , hateful crap that comes my way. I can choose to believe in the good of people and that there is hope in the world and that with love and cooperation and wisdom to see the truth for its own sake we can all live together and save ourselves from ourselves if we just believe. 

♥ SBI

Related articles

Whimsy   (strawberryindigo.wordpress.com)

Cottingley Fairies

 

Mocha’s School of Kick Ass Mousing

Riding on the cat tails of his recent success in catching a little mouse in our apartment our cat Mocha is now holding weekend seminars in our storage closet intended to teach his fellow cats and other interested parties how to succeed in the exciting world of mousing and competitive catting.
I told him this wouldn’t work and I am eating my words as he is now booked well into July. This is crazy. He has no formal training or licence. I am afraid this is all gone to his head and its already costing me money. He has had business cards made , a website designed and has hired a couple of neighborhood cats and my own daughter to assist him, all with my credit card!

He says not to worry “baby”, yes he called me baby!

He said that once his school gets going he will be making the “big bucks”and that he’ll be so successful that he will be able to pay me back with “a gazillion percent interest” so that I never will have to work again.  Seriously, he told me this.

😀

Heard that story before….

Wish me luck..

~SBI

What the Crow Told Me

A lone crow caws at me from atop a tall tree. The wind tosses my hair into my eyes. I push it away and squint to see despite the rain. And there it is. It looks down on me. As if to say…

“Don’t forget about me. I remain your spirit animal until I teach you what I have to teach you. Silly human.”

And I carry no peanuts, not a one. Not today.

And so it soars off into the unforgiving gray sky and I am left humbled in the rain by a tattered old bird in a parking lot in the first hours of morn.

I would feed them, these birds, every morning at my old job, the one that burned me out. It was only a couple of months ago but it still is very recent in my mind.

My interactions with the crows were my only joys during a joyless day. They became my spirit animal after a similar encounter with one months before the one I just described.

I was sad with nothing to hold on to. I would notice the birds on my way to work. it was wintertime and obviously not an easy life for them. I know from reading and from firsthand experience that that crows which are in the Corvid family along with Ravens , Blue Jays and other birds are extremely intelligent. I admire that intelligence and I admire the tenacity and determination these animals display just trying to eek an existence alongside humans.

So there is was in the same parking lot as before, in the very early morning and it cawed at me and kept cawing. I had time to take out the camera I was carrying and take this picture. I have since had the image blown up and I have it framed in a small frame. It is up on the wall to remind me.

It came to me that I could learn a lot from those scrappy but majestic birds and so I began to carry peanuts in my pocket to reward them for being so inspiring and to maybe give back a little to animals who have had so much taken from them by humans.

The winter came and went and so did spring and summer. My work life grew more difficult and it began to take its toll on me and through me, on my family.

All the while I learned from the crows and I grew tougher and more resilient and smarter. I realized that I needed to escape that job. I am learning that just because I am able to do something doesn’t mean I should do it. Nothing is worth having these burnouts. I have overcome so much in my quest for having a simple life, one just like everyone else despite my Autism. I think I need to work wiser, not just harder. I don’t need to torture myself. I need to celebrate myself. And I need to seek help. The crows are seldom alone, they thrive in groups, they are social and therein lies a strength for them . This, among much, much more I have yet to learn.

I am fortunate to have such wise and resilient teachers.

❤ SBI

Crow Quotes

When a crow says an intelligent thing, chickens may laugh at it. This is the laughing of the sand castles at the powerful waves!

Mehmet Murat ildan

Crows are incredibly smart. They can be taught five things on the drop.

Robbie Coltraine

I saw a crow building a nest, I was watching him very carefully, I was kind of stalking him and he was aware of it. And you know what they do when they become aware of someone stalking them when they build a nest, which is a very vulnerable place to be? They build a decoy nest. It’s just for you.

Tom Waits

“If men had wings and bore black feathers, few of them would be clever enough to be crows.” ~ Rev. Henry Ward Beecher

RELATED ARTICLES

Crow Symbolism and Meaning

Corvidae is a cosmopolitan family of oscine passerine birds that contains the crows, ravens, rooks, jackdaws, jays, magpies, treepies, choughs, and nutcrackers.[1][2][3] In common English, they are known as the crow family, or, more technically, corvids. Over 120 species are described. The genus Corvus, including the jackdaws, crows, rooks, and ravens, makes up over a third of the entire family.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corvidae

The world between two pines

A mystical magical foray through the foggy forest

“The richness of a moment comes when it’s both full and empty at the same time. The truth is, we live simultaneously in time and timelessness.” ~ Ram Dass

Where does reality leave off and imagination take over? Does it matter?


All at once the light of overcast day turns to fog as we step between the two tall pines and descend into into darkening wood.

I proceed with an uncharacteristic reverence, my steps slow and deliberate.  

The air is damp. Tufts of fogginess elongate, curving and curling between the trees trunks like an asp lending an air of mystery to the atmosphere. Although I am inside a natural area that’s inside a large park, I could be anywhere. 

There is a sense of timeless here, of ancientness. I can smell it. The pine needles, the mud, the old leaves, the moss. Ancestral memories encoded in my DNA have been awakened. I feel oddly at home, every twist and turn takes me deeper and deeper in. 

My usual gleefulness is gone, replaced by a watchfulness. Where my causal romp through the woods has become more than causal. I notice my steady breaths and I notice the birds are quiet. It seems as everything is at a standstill, but me.

It’s as though I am walking through a dream. The haze grows murkier with every step, my footing has been lost in the fog. The path twists and turns and suddenly I find I have lost the path altogether. The mossy floor feels like soft clouds and I imagine I am high in the sky feeling the cool fresh air. I feel so relaxed and at ease , I am compelled to sleep…

Then I spy glossy black wings in the corner of my mind’s eye and hear the cawing of the crows…
…suddenly I’m back on the ground slipping in the mud, catching myself in dreamland and jolting myself awake. 
Better watch my step…haha.

 

~SBI
All photos taken by me on The Wildwood Trail in Washington Park in Portland, Oregon. 

 

 

 

 

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