Squirrels are Turkeys

June 28 – Just had a bath and could have made a mud bath with the stuff left in the tub after the water went down. Working most of the day outside in this weather isn’t good for cleanliness! Not only is the lawn very dry, with signs of the moles that are working around underneath, but whenever cars or trucks or tractors go by on the wood, big swirls of heavy dust float into our yard and sometimes way behind our house. Wish other folks would take pity on us a bit and not go so fast. Of the four houses on this road, we are the only one near enough to the road to get the dust. Our son-in-law’s folks and his sister’s family live about a block off the road, so they aren’t bothered.

At least we have enough water coming up in the pipe to take care of our water needs. In the city itself, Kansas City water mains seem to be breaking much more often than they used to. We sure are glad that we don’t live in the city! Some folks just enjoy city life so much, but we are NOT one of them.

160309_Squirrels

[ Squirrel City ]

We have a real circus with the animals around here. I just called Dale to look out the window where four young squirrels of the gray variety were making off with as much of the bird food as they could. They were just stuffing it into their innards with great joy. On the other hand, a mother rabbit and her baby were chasing around across the lawn and under the trees. Not stopping to eat or do anything mundane, but just having fun with the mother doing all of the chasing.

But back to the squirrels. When we first moved here we had two or three; then for a couple years it was five. As of this morning, we saw the most we have ever seen at the feeder! Five gray squirrels, and three of those with the big bushy red tail. Our poor cat didn’t know what to make of the little time I just spent out with her as she sat on the back steps watching the whole circus. I stood at the door and yelled “Arrragggahhhag,” at the top of my lungs till the squirrels shot off down to the woods. The cat looked up at me as if to say, “Who in the world are you? I sure don’t recognize that kind of talk!” It worked, though, because right now there are no squirrels gobbling up the bird food.

160628_ChestnutBurrs

[ Nicely shucked chestnuts ]

At the store a couple days ago, we checked out one section of the store where people buy guns and ammunition. We didn’t buy either of those, but managed to find a sling shot we were looking for. In the beginning we thought the squirrels were the cutest of all creatures and were happy that they found the bird seed good to eat. We have definitely changed our minds on that score!

Dale hasn’t started his program of sending a small stone or two at the squirrels yet because he has been putting out chestnuts we froze last year. Unfortunately, they didn’t taste as delicious as they did right after they were picked off the tree or gathered from those that had fallen off on their own. As a result, we ended up with a big bunch in the freezer. He wants the squirrels to have a chance at those before he sends them off packing! Pretty interesting what a neat and orderly job they do when they clean the chestnut meat out of the shell. They don’t leave anything behind!

160628_Turkeys

[ A turkey or two ]

For the last few weeks we have been seeing a turkey come walking slowly down the road past our house. Often it will stop in front of the mailbox and just check out the environment. Then it will meander off down the road till it picks its way under the fence and disappears into the tall weeds at the end of our property.

Sometimes it chooses to walk on the pasture trail that I keep mowed so we can use it for our walks. Doesn’t seem at all afraid, and we have wondered if it might not have a nest off in the woods.

Today, while I was out mowing with the riding mower, I didn’t know what Dale had seen, until I stopped in for a nice cold drink of water. He asked me if I had seen the turkey, but I hadn’t. It had come from the other end of our property and had walked right across the lawn on its way to the bird feeder to enjoy a different kind of meal. Unfortunately for the bird, I arrived about the time of its decision, so it left quickly. And where did it go? Off to one of our big mulberry trees to enjoy the dark purple fruit lying on the ground. Then later when I was mowing on another piece of ground, I happened to look towards the big patch of bamboo, and there was the turkey! Since I didn’t leave right away, she decided to move off into the still unmowed pasture where the farm guys will soon be mowing down the tall grass. The turkey won’t be able to hide then!

Today I spent about five hours mowing the lawn with the temperature and humidity rather high at times. I started out early to do the hand mowing, but then sat on the riding mower for the rest of the time. Friday I did about three hours worth, but didn’t do the trimming, so had to do it today along with other trails, etc. that I didn’t do earlier in the week. The farm guys mowed two of our four pastures last week, so when the hay was baled, HUGE bales, there was some left along the edges where the overhanging trees made it hard to cut the grass. I cleaned that up today as well. Looks a lot better.

160628_Cobbler

[ Cherry cobbler ]

Tomorrow I plan to go over to the pond area and finish that up. Poor Dale, with his RA and neuropathy, can’t do quite what he used to do, but he is always doing something—today he watered the garden, carting around a big pile of hose, but didn’t have quite enough to reach all of the plants, so we will have to buy another piece. For a special little something special for Dale, I made him a sour cherry cobbler for supper. We picked about 15 plastic bags of cherries this year and put them in the freezer. Would have had more of those, but the birds and a raccoon made off with a number of them first. I can’t remember having so many pests making off with so much as they have this year.

160628_Radishes

[ Really Red Radishes ]

Speaking of the garden, I had a real surprise last week. As I was mowing alongside one of the tomato rows, I thought I saw something yellowy orange, and my immediate thought was, “No, it couldn’t be a tomato, already! We’ve never had a ripe one this early in the season!” I was wrong! I picked a couple little ones on the first plant and then found a couple more on another plant. I told Dale that was his Father’s Day gift…

Added to that were some beautiful big blackberries, our first picking of those as well. Along with the other things I have mentioned, we have picked a lot of Romaine lettuce, (boy is that stuff costly in the store), turnips, giant radishes, cabbage, and Swiss chard. Nice to have our own vegetables. It’s easier to buy them at the store, but it’s a lot more satisfying to raise our own. That way we can give some away as well. – CHRIS

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