November 12, 2017:


It's hard to believe, but winter has arrived early in my hometown. One week it was in the 70s and gorgeous outside, the next week it dropped down into the 40s and then boom, less than a week later, into the 30s. We've already had several hard freezes, the earliest that's happened since I moved here in 2014. Anyway, the trees had not even begun to turn color yet in the neighborhood - and now most of them are bare due to the many hard freezes and strong winds that blew most of the days last week. Wowsers! Today, however, the sun stayed out all day, there was no wind to speak of, and the temperatures felt positively balmy outside. I was very glad because I had to be out and about today.

So, the poor trees did not have a "fall" this year but we did get enough rain to ease my mind that my pines and shrubs will have enough moisture in the ground to survive the winter. The squirrels are SO fat and SO furry, I can't help but think they know we're in for a bad winter. Sigh. I'm way behind in everything including lots of garden clean-up that now I won't get to unless we get a few days of "Indian Summer," which doesn't seem likely this year. I did, however, get everything outdoors pretty much put away, except for the area rug (it needs to be "washed" with some soap and rinsed off) and the mosquito net curtains on my Shezebo. Now I'm already thinking about Christmas, and soon it will be here, before we know it! So, I figured it's about time I put up my "autumn" photographs from prior years as the seasonal header here at Maison Newton. Enjoy your Thanksgiving, that will be here soon and then it's into full-tilt Christmas decorating. Take care, everyone!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Ooks! Goofing Off Instead of Painting the Kitchen...

Geez, my backyard is really a mess!  It rained buckets last week Friday, was gloomy and soggy all last Saturday, and was nice -- too nice to do yard work -- last Sunday.  That same pattern is being repeated this weekend, except yesterday and today it's much colder, by some 30 degrees brrrrrrr, and we got a good inch of rain around here, so it's soggy again! Tomorrow, though, is promised to us by the weather people to be in the 70's and sunny.  We'll see.  At this moment, I'm finding it hard to believe as I've got the furnace turned on, it's cold and damp outside and inside, and I'm thinking about firing up the fireplace and moving to my workstation at the desk in the living room rather than continue here in the family room.

But I digress, darlings!  I shouldn't be doing this at all.  I should be busy up on my genuine antique ladder (I think it was made in 1340, around the time the Huns started invading Europe) putting painters tape all around the ceiling and trim where I'm going to paint my kitchen soffit and the area underneath the cabinets that lovely dark taupe color that will - eventually - be going into my family room, too.

I started out good, honest!  I got up before 7 a.m., fed the squirrels, had my coffee and croissant, checked the news, and I actually spent $1 yesterday and bought a Mega Millions ticket -- so I checked to see if I'd won.  Nope, did not win.  Can't hire painters.  Can't buy a house with a view on an island somewhere or way up on a mountain (but not a volcano). 

Then I started checking the blogs, and that's deadly to getting work done around here, oy!  Then I fed the squirrels again and that's when I noticed this little fellow - with a red (foxy red) tail!  Haven't seen him or her around before, and he or she sure is scared of me, and even of the other animals, so I know he or she isn't local.  Wonder where he/she came from?

I wasn't able to get close, and my camera, although it is a good Nikon, is a point and shoot from 2006 - practically an antique by now, darlings!  But I love it still.  It's only got 3x zoom on it and that does not give the best photos:

Squirrel is nearly centered in this pic - facing toward me, down below the slowy dissolving retaining wall.  Can you see the red in the tail?  Hmmm, no, this is not the best shot.  Also one big fat regular grey squirrel in the forefront!

There!  Now do you see that red tint?  It's not paint - at least, I'm fairly sure it's not paint; I mean, how could a squirrel possibly get just his tail painted red, but nothing else? 

Looks like the same photo, but it's not.  You can see the little flash of reddish tint in that tail.

He was down where I toss the bird food, no doubt nibbling away on the plentiful sunflower seeds.  Green stuff and my perrenials and volunteers coming up all over the place, and the wild honeysuckle shrubs that nothing can kill, not even my saw, are blooming out too, and I haven't cleaned out last year's detrius yet. 

He/she got really spooked by me and disappeared, finally, behind the picket fence on the west.  I'll keep my eye out to see if Red Tail returns.  I've had gimpy squirrels, aged squirrels, and squirrels with something like epilepsy (I call it the falling-down disease) hanging around in my yard for years, but I do not recall seeing a red-tailed squirrel before.  I have read that in Central Park in New York where generations of grey squirrels have bred in peace and relative security, some squirrels with red fur sometimes crop up.  I wonder if that is what happened here?  These aren't the English red squirrels, which are smaller and have differently shaped ears -- these are grey squirrels who have turned partially red because they don't need the grey-black-brown coloration to "hide" in their environment (trees).  Sometimes a squirrel can be right on the trunk of the big tree out back (you can see part of it in the first photo) but if it stays still the human eye doesn't readily pick it out because it blends in so well. 

Pleae see Part II...

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