Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Floods, Toads, Squirrels, and Sparrows

We have had a tremendous amount of rain in our area and flooding in our fields. The creek running through our property is running full force. I can hear it still from my bedroom. The wildflower garden by the road was washed away and is now filled with mud, but I ordered more crimson clover and purple prairie clover seeds to re-plant.

We are expecting more rain over the next few days. I am worried about all the lizards who were living near the creek bed. We have many living around the house, particularly the younger ones who realize it's a bit safer up here than it is down by the road where the road runner likes to hunt. But I did see quite a few by the creek bed before the floods.

The evenings are much cooler now and Mrs. Toady has left the toe of my garden shoe and has buried herself either in one of my potted plants or in the garden itself. I hope she is in the potted plants. This is the time of year when I rearrange my garden and it's so difficult trying to dig when I can only go down very slowly, a nudge at a time, searching for toads. I hope she stays safe. I have grown very attached to her.

I saw Uno the one-eyed squirrel on the back porch this morning. I continue to pray for him every night, though I know now that his eye will not heal. He does seem to do very well with just one eye, though. Of all the squirrels that visit our property, he also seems to be the most comfortable with me. When he hears the sound of my voice he always stops what he's doing and watches the door, then seems to calm quite a bit and hold his own at the seed dish in spite of the current competition with the flock of grasshopper sparrow babies who don't seem to want to share anything with anyone anymore. Uno is a tough little creature. I really do admire him.

The most exciting thing happened over the past few days when I noticed a momma squirrel with black dots on her belly, indicating that she is nursing. She was at the seed dish on the patio, but the flock of sparrows were pestering her, so I ran to the opposite side of the house with more seeds and the birds followed me over. When I returned to the bedroom, the momma squirrel was gone.

However, the next morning as my husband and I were surveying flood damage, we noticed the tiniest baby squirrel we have ever seen scampering up a tree. I was so relieved that the dogs did not see the delicate little creature. The nest is on the opposite side of the creek and I have decided to discourage the dogs from going over there until the babies are large enough and strong enough, and wise enough to stay out of their way. I have not seen them chase a squirrel in a very long time, though. Hopefully I have broken them of that habit.

I am still working with Chewy, the orphaned chihuahua, to teach him not to chase the little creatures, but he is learning. The biggest problem with Chewy is that he is very competitive and loves to bark, but this can also be a bonus. When we open the door and he chases after the chocolate labs, yipping and barking, he is actually very successful at warning the bunnies and squirrels and other little creatures that we are coming so they can scamper away to safety.

No comments: