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September 2007

August 2007

Twine time -- squirrel update


The story thus far:

   Mrs. Squirrel moved into the box in mid-June, and had her babies on July 21, making the squirrel babies  four and a half weeks old now.

   The babies stay in the nest for roughly 10 to 11 weeks, I have read, so they should be leaving in late September, in plenty of time for owl season.

   Unless, of course, Mrs. Squirrel moves them for some reason or another.

   As far as I can tell from the squirrel cam, the babies are still blind and pretty hairless.

   Mom either is feeding the babies, sleeping, or outside the box.

  The babies are either feeding or curled together.

  Twine  I noticed over the weekend that Mrs. Squirrel was bring bits of twine into the box.

   I noticed this morning that the twine has been separated into strands, which now cover the babies.

   Concealed_squirks I think the twine is for concealment and insulation. The babies are under that tangle.

   Resourceful, that mother squirrel.

Deer velvet -- who knew?


   I posted a photo of a white-tailed buck in the Celery Farm a while back, but failed to point out the fuzz on his antlers.

  I am told that this is called being "in velvet."

   Incredibly, a health-supplement fad seems to have sprung up around the sale of ground-up deer velvet.

   No, seriously.

   Here is a blurb from a deer-velvet supplement Web site:

   "Deer velvet was well known to the ancient Chinese. A silk scroll dated around 168 BC, found in a Chinese tomb, includes some reasons for taking deer velvet. Deer are familiar figures in Chinese mythology and often accompany the god of longevity.

   "As far back as 1596 Li Shi Zhen described deer velvet as a herb which tonified the Yang. He listed several functions including increasing vital forces, strengthening the muscles and bone and harmonising the energies within the body.

   "In modern times deer velvet is beginning to take a prominent place in the West. It is used for systemic exhaustion, improving strength and helping to maintain immune function."

   I guess if you go to some new-age health-food stores, you might be able to buy some organic deer-velvet supplements off the rack.

  That last line is what's known as a feeble attempt at humor on a dreary August Tuesday morning.

  As for magic potions, I think I'll stick to the fresh fruits and vegetables.


Squirrel update, August 20


Mrs. Squirrel and the four squirks appear to be doing well, although Mrs. S does looks weary sometimes from all the feeding.

   There is a bit of drama, though, because it is a wild world out theRactracs_3re. My totally unsubstantiated hunch is that the mom moved the babies away 16 days ago because of the presence of raccoons.

  I saw two small raccoons about 10 yards from the box, and also noted raccoon tracks by the brook behind our house. The next time I checked the video monitor, the squirrel family was gone.

   They returned a week later and have been ensconced in the box ever since, though a new predator has been hanging out near the box -- our friendly red-tail.Rt

  We have seen him three or four times in the past week, often near the squirrel box.

  I have noticed that when Mrs. S leaves the box, typically for long periods of time, she now covers the babies with a straw-like material (see below).



Doddering plant


It looks like some sort of organic spaghetti, and it is growing strong at a few places at the Celery Farm.  A friend of the blog wondered just what that weird stuff is, and I'm not sure I can be very helpful.

  It's dodder.

  The good news is that it appears to be native and not horrendous, bit the operative word is "appears."

  This is the best description I found on the Web: "Dodder, a parasitic plant that lacks chlorophyll."

  If anybody else can provide more info, please do.