Friday, March 13, 2009

Soggy Seeds

It has been raining here for days now. We had a sudden cold front move through the Hill Country and I was worried the little creatures might be shivering in the cold, so I've been checking their snacks and water supplies four times a day. The seeds get soggy on occasion when the rain gets heavy, but so far no one seems to mind. I try to keep the seeds dry and dump the ones that get too soggy so nothing molds.

The momma squirrel now makes a regular afternoon trip to the covered patio outside my bedroom door. She sits on the bright red table top and munches her sunflower seeds, watching me through the glass as I do my yoga routine. She's no longer bothered by the cat watching her through the door. She obviously understands the cat cannot get to her. Nevertheless, Niblet stares and chatters and makes funny noises as if he's actually considering taking a leap at the glass. I've noticed, however, that the cat doesn't even try to sneak outside anymore. I think he enjoys watching the little creatures as much as I do. It's his kitty television.

The birds have been making their regular appearances, as well, even when the rain is falling. It surprises me that they'll brave the chilly weather for a quick nip of bird seed, but they do. I am diligent about making sure they have clean water around the house. I was surprised by how much they appreciate the bowls of water I've set out for them.

I was watching the baby squirrels eating on the back picnic table this morning when I noticed two new creatures. I still can't figure out what exactly these creatures might be! I thought they were ground squirrels, but they look nothing like the pictures on the internet. They look a bit mousy, but they were much, much larger than mice. They weren't marmots. They were not rats. My husband and I both watched them through the binoculars, but neither one of us could come up with a logical guess.

They were the size of baby squirrels, but they didn't have the white lines around their eyes that most squirrels do and their tails seemed shorter. They came out of the hundred year plants near the base and ran beneath the table, then buried themselves in the dried leaves and mulch. They appeared to be searching for seeds that the squirrels were knocking through the gaps in the picnic table. They got along fine with the squirrels, too, which was interesting because the brother and sister squirrel, who were babies last year, tend to chase each other around now and get into all kinds of playful trouble. Perhaps the squirrels were just too cold to notice there were intruders on the ground!

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