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    

 

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

Muddy trail kind of life

The air is fresh and chill. The wind blows tiny droplets of rain onto my face. I close my eyes and it feels like I am flying but the honking of geese above me remind me that I am not. I am walking, and walking on a muddy trail at that. My eyes quickly scan the ground and I scamper up a rocky hill like a little mountain goat.

These trips have gotten me in great trail shape. I spend a good portion of my free time out here in the wildish trails around my home in Portland, Oregon. It is a necessary component of my life to get out in whatever nature I can get to. We have no car, by design , my husband and I. We walk, bike or take public transit which is pretty good here. We like this sort of life, this muddy trail kind of life. I am very fortunate to have found someone who likes this as much, or more than I do. We are best friends, pals and companions as well as a loving married couple. He encourages me to be me and he smiles and shakes his head in amusement as I run up and down hills and even sometimes climb into the trees to snap pics and talk to the animals, real and imaginary. This is great fun to us and we are lucky to live where we do. So in spite of the rain or maybe because of the rain we are here at one of our favorite spots.

Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge is a swampy, wetlands area smack daub in Portland, Oregon. Lots of birds live here especially ducks. I like to greet them as we pass by. We see lots of animals on our adventures. We have seen deer, beavers and nutria,  possums and a plethora of birds especially the waterfowl.  This is one of the places we go in all kinds of weather. Today it is super rainy and the trail is super muddy but we love this.

Pluviophile. a lover of rain; someone who finds joy and peace of mind during rainy days.

 

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”~ John Muir
I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples. -Mother Teresa

Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge is a city park of about 141 acres in southeast Portland, in the U.S. state of Oregon. Located in a floodplain along the east bank of the Willamette River near Sellwood, the park is known for attracting a wide variety of birds. Wikipedia

 

Errol Heights Natural area is cute in a boggy sort of way. This is a short walk  but has become a favorite of ours since it is so close in the city.  On our first visit we met a curious man who popped out of the bushes.  He told us in breathless Kiwi accent about the 10 beaver dams there as he was running around trying to photograph all of them in order before the sun set.

One meets all sorts of interesting people in places like this.

Beaver Dam

 

The beavers are pretty shy but you can see evidence of them not just by the dams but but by the trees they are in the process of cutting. Many of the tree trucks are protected by wire netting but there is still ample wood available. The birds are typically out in full force here as it is a haven for waterfowl and songbirds. I love to just stop and listen to their beautiful music. Today the soundtrack is dominated by geese who fly overhead in their famous V formation. It is amazing a place like this exists in the middle of the city.  We are lucky to live here.

Dusk at Errol Heights Natural area

Errol Heights Park & Community Gardenlocated at SE 52nd Ave & Tenino St, is 12 acres acquired by Portland Parks in 1996. Its amenities include a great walking path through the site with views of the Errol Creek wetland area. Many native plants and shrubs thrive in Errol Heights – part of the Johnson Creek Watershed.

The New Adventures of MochaCat

 

 

Introducing Mocha

 

The hippest most right on cat in Portland. He’s dark, he’s smoooooth, he’s so cool.

We adopted him through an agency that helps find homes for homeless mom cats and their soon to be born kittens. They were great, they gave him all his shots and were very helpful in giving us care instructions.

 

What they didn’t say was that Mocha is no ordinary cat, not by any means.

Never have I seen a kitten jump so high, or run so fast. Never have I encountered such a keen intellect in a cat his age. He is only three months old but reads at a sixth grade level.

He is witty and charming but has a bit of a temper. And whatever you do, don’t trust him with your marbles as he is bound to steal them and put them in your shoes for you to discover later.

I don’t know who his mother was exactly. The adoption agency won’t tell me. I have a feeling she was born of noble blood and so was Mocha by the size of his ego and of his bank account. I didn’t know that kittens came with their own stock portfolio’s but apparently this one does. Once we took him home he immediately got on the phone and called his broker and then his accountant. I didn’t know cats had accountants.

I have a feeling that Mocha is money obsessed and it’s not good for him. He is a bit artificial and frankly snobby with the other cats that have come by and welcomed him to the neighborhood.

And he keeps buying things!  Like fancy pet furniture and cases of canned Mackerel. I don’t know where to put it all.

He goes down everyday to Starbucks and gets himself the Vente size Java Chip at Starbucks, he loves it there. And they love him!  They have named a drink after him, just shows how persuasive he is!

In fact he is paying me to write this fascinating and favorable post about him. Money does talk and since I am temporarily unemployed the money comes in handy. So watch for more stories about his antics. Maybe next time we can find out how he got such a silly name.

 

 

~nlm

 

Adventures in Mocha

 

Tuxedo Mocha Frappuccino

 

Mocha Quotes 

The voodoo priest and all his powders were as nothing compared to espresso, cappuccino, and mocha, which are stronger than all the religions of the world combined, and perhaps stronger than the human soul itself.

Mark Helprin

The modern mocha is a bittersweet concoction of imperialism, genocide, invention, and consumerism served with whipped cream on top

Sarah Vowell
Mocha Cheesecake Bites
Mocha Pancakes With Mocha Syrup

 

Cats in Space

 

cat-my_god_it's_full_of_stars space cats funny

This is a scene from the upcoming musical remake of the Science Fiction classic 2001: A Space Odyssey. It features an all-star all cat cast and is directed by and stars my famous feline Mario.  I know what you are thinking: How can a cat direct a movie?  I thought that myself at first but when he explained to me that he had attended “directoring school”  in one of his previous nine lives and that he was, and I quote, “Golden”   I felt he may be onto something. I mean he isn’t famous for nothing.

 

I had the impression from him that this would be easy but it has been anything but easy.    Cats never do what you want them to do, even the so called “professionals”.  They are demanding and picky. The cast members would send me out for tuna sandwiches and almost every single time they were dissatisfied with the quality of the fish and would meow mercilessly until I returned to the restaurant and demanded better. Half the delis in town thought I was a nut.

tuna cat

These actor types, what prima donnas…and the director himself you ask?  What a hot head. He was driven by some sort of vision but what that vision was, I had no idea.

Mario had no sympathy for me and no time.  Whenever I tried to talk any reason with him he would suddenly get up from his easy chair and utter in his heavily accented husky voice: “This conversation can serve no purpose anymore, goodbye” and sashay out.

 

The power has gone to his head I tell you. ( He’s gone quite mad you know)  

cat dance 1

 

Mario would stay up late at night practicing his dance moves and sing old bawdy sailor tunes from his past life as a ship’s cat. My goodness, those songs can get raunchy. The neighbors complained. The police have been out several times due to the loud music and the gang of mewing groupie cats that sit outside on the front lawn at all hours stupefied on what I think was very potent catnip.

 

space cat face

Seriously I had my doubts. I mean the whole thing was filmed in our backyard and most of the sets were imaginary.  I was never allowed back there during filming. I would go to the side gate and leave the tuna sandwiches. I had no idea…but it just goes to show why my Mario is as famous as he is…

 

cat space burger

 

The advance reviews have been “stellar”. I don’t get it, but the critics loved it.  I hear it is a “tour de farce” and a “cinematic meowsterpiece”. I can’t believe it but my cat’s movie will premier at the Canne Film Festival.

It’s just goes to show that you never know and don’t doubt the dreamer until you see the fruition of a dream.

~NLM

 

Pink Floyd Echoes and 2001 A Space Odyssey 

(Pink Floyd Echoes synchronized with 2001 A Space Odyssey – Jupiter and Beyond The Infinite. 720p version.)