Not Just a Tree Rat

When I was about ten my mother and I would sometimes take and afternoon and walk across town to visit my elderly, Aunt Edna and Uncle Ed. While mother sat in the kitchen and chatted with my talkative aunt, I would settle in on the metal, porch glider beside my uncle, with  his huge, black dog resting at our feet. There we would slowly rock back and forth and talk about nothing in particular as we watched the wildlife in the yard. (Birds, squirrels, and the occasional cat)

My Great, Uncle Ed was a man of many unusual talents. Unguarded valuables seemed to stick to his fingers and vanish without a trace. He could avoid work while appearing to be busy. He could lie far better than he could tell the truth. I wouldn’t have trusted him with my meager allowance, and I would never have repeated one of his preposterous stories as gospel, but unlike a lot of people, I liked the cantankerous, old villain.

It was Uncle Ed that gave me my first close up look at squirrels. Ten of them to be exact. Skinned, gutted, and pasty white they floated in a kettle of salt water upon Aunt Edna’s  old, gas stove. When he proudly lifted the kettle’s lid to show me the results of his morning, hunting trip, I gasped in horror.

“Uncle Ed, you’re going to eat rats!” I exclaimed. Needless to say, my reaction took away a little of the old man’s joy. No, I’m not emotionally scarred, and I am not anti-hunting, but every time I hear a person say that a squirrel is nothing but a tree rat, I see those naked carcasses floating in that pot. Sure, if you take away the soft fur, the fluffy, twitching tail that curls in question marks as a squirrel watches you through the window, if you take away that feisty personality and funny, expressive face, you may have something that looks like a mere rodent, but you don’t have a squirrel. Not the whole squirrel at least.

The squirrel’s intelligence always leaves me in awe. They can get past some of the most advanced, squirrel guards, raid candy machines, and train humans to do their bidding. They can lope across high wires and leap incredible distances onto branches that wouldn’t hold a song bird. They can fall from the treetops, leap to their feet and bound back to the tree to try again. They are gentle mothers, fearless combatants, and brimming with attitude. They can bury a nut and find it three months later under six inches of snow, when I can’t even remember where I put my car keys five minutes ago. A squirrel is not “just” a tree rat. A squirrel is one of God’s more miraculous creations, placed on this earth not only to fill a nitche in nature, but to entertain us and teach us to take a chance, have fun when we can, and always prepare for tomorrow.




Filed under Sue's Corner, Wildlife

Princess Goes to the Vet or Do I Actually Have a Death Wish?

Well, the day had come. Princess was actually going on her first vet visit. Was I worried? You bet I was. I tried to lock her in the storage room during Thanksgiving dinner so I had an idea of what was to come, but this time I was going to shove her into a cat carrier. At a rabies clinic once I watched a vet and her assistant turn a cat carrier upright, grab a maniacal cat by the tail, drop her into the carrier, and slam the door. I was having visions of doing the same, but my visions included frothing at the  mouth, claws flailing, and blood… plenty of blood. I should have checked on line to see if there was a “Taking an Insane Cat to the Vet For Dummies” book out there. I thought for a while about taking photos, but it’s difficult to maneuver a camera while pulling teeth from your leg.

We decided it would be best to take this adventure in baby steps

Step 1:

Choose a carrier

We have two. The small one looks pretty nice, and the large one is about forty years old and looks like we got it from the free pile at a yard sale. I had placed the large one outside last fall as a shelter for the strays until we built their winter house. I decided to bear the embarrassment and take the one Princess was accustomed to.

Step 2:

Use kitty drugs and comfort toys

A catnip soaked bed pad became a blanket and Princess’ favorite squeaky mouse was tossed in to the carrier as an extra comfort.

Step 3:

Everyone is doing it

Just to show her that the carrier was safe, every cat in the house was placed in the carrier for a minute or two. (One at a time of course.)

Step 4:

Resort to bribery

Then I packed a bag of chicken in my purse, and placed some right inside the carrier.

With everything in place, we went to the storage room in search of our crazy, little floozy.

I pulled Princess out from under the dresser and placed her in the carrier. She put up no fight!!! On the way to the vet, she quietly played with her squeaky mouse. No yowls, no howls, no frantic attempts to escape. In the vet’s office I repeatedly warned the vet and his assistant that Princess was a FERAL cat, and that she was going to be a handful. I pulled her from the carrier, she sat patiently on the table while the vet examined her and gave her shots. She then got back into the carrier and played with her squeaky mouse the entire way home??? Either our plan worked or she just wanted to make us look stupid. We’ll never know for sure.





Filed under Pets

First Wildlife Photos With the New Nikon


I got a few moments this morning to take a couple of bird photos with the new Nikon Coolpix B500. I have pretty shaky hands and didn’t use the tripod so I expected them to be pretty bad, especially since I had to zoom in. So far it’s proving to be a good little camera. I can’t wait to see how well it does with the tripod.


Filed under Photography, Wildlife

Where’s the Kibble?

Hey! She went shopping. I wonder which bag has the kibble?


Forget the kibble! I’m digging for the tuna!

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Filed under Pets

Laundry Day

There is nothing like having kitty help to do the laundry.

Folding laundry is hard work!


Filed under Pets

Yesterday Replayed

I honestly don’t know what little Boots’ obsession is with the remote, but he is quite determined that this toy belongs to him.

Mine! Mine! All Mine!


Filed under Pets

Possession of the Remote

It’s really surprising to me that so many of my new cats will sit for long periods of time and watch television. What is even more surprising is that the kittens have also decided that they should have possession of the remote.

No, you can’t have it back. It’s my turn to choose.

Now, which button is the kitten channel?


Filed under Pets