December 4, 2016: Hola everyone! Winter has arrived in Milwaukee and there are snow flurries today. Despite several hard freezes remarkably my "spikes" in two of my patio planters have absolutely refused to die. The rosemary and thyme plants I nursed inside the house through last winter spent the summer in their pot outside next to the side stoop off the driveway, where they get plenty of sunshine all day long. I transplanted them into a cozy sheltered spot right next to the stoop in October and they are still green and growing, too! With the delay in getting the drywall patching done in the relatively minor "reconstruction" work I had done in my kitchen, I am way behind my time in getting the house decorated. But yesterday I got my wreath decked out with extra lights and dressed the front door of the house, and my battery-operated traditional candles were put up on the window sills all around the house Friday evening. It becomes a ritual to go around at dusk and turn the tops to the right to turn the candles "on" and at bedtime to go around and turn the tops to the left to turn the candles "off." Today I put some "glittery" throw pillow covers purchased new last month from H&M on three of my sofa pillows to glam things up a bit in the living room and add some sparkle. Later on, after I sufficiently fuel myself up with wine and snacks and probably to distract myself while I listen to the Packers game on the radio, I will huff and puff and pull my artificial tree up from storage in the basement. I will decorate it simply this year. Every year I say that, and every year I end up throwing just about everything except the kitchen sink on the tree. I am very proud of myself this year, though. I did not buy a single new ornament or Christmas doo-dad for the house (throw pillow covers don't count!!!) Happy Holidays to all, with hope and fervent prayers for 2017. I've a feeling we're all going to need a lot of help from Goddess in the coming year. Jan

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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