Hi! It’s me, Olivia, with a big report on garden visitors and things our mom and dad have been doing. I can tell you they aren’t spending enough time with us (that would be my mom and dad I’m talking about, not the garden visitors), but they (again, mom and dad) say they had things to accomplish outside in the backyard this year. Oh, can you say excuses? Uh huh.
Let’s ignore whatever mom and dad have been doing until the very end. First, let’s see who all has been visiting our backyard.
Limpy, the squirrel with the broken/deformed front leg, has raided the squirrel nut box on and off the past few weeks. Mom finally remembered to get a current photo of him. He seems to get around well and eats a lot when he comes by.
This is Lily, our third generation raccoon, also stopping by to raid the
squirrel raccoon nut box. Mom says Lily hasn’t been by in a couple of weeks and that usually means she’s had her babies and is just looking for the right time to bring them by for introductions. Those babies will be the fourth generation of raccoons to learn the sound of mom and dad’s voices. Also, to learn about the nut box and any leftover visitor cat food!
And if there isn’t any leftover visitor cat food left for the raccoons (something the neighbors absolutely hate happening so mom doesn’t do that), this would be part of the reason why. This mystery tuxie keeps visiting us just long enough to dine and dash. Mom has yet to see his face or to get within thirty feet of him. Sometimes, tuxies can be aloof like that, I hear.
You know visitor Scruffy. He’s lived up the street for something like ten or eleven years now. He’s a morning cat, like I am, so I see him almost every day.
Our frog buddy, Joe, is still around. I don’t remember when he was a tadpole or little frog. Mom says he’s been in our backyard for about five years now. How long do frogs named Joe live anyway? I don’t think he eats from the nut box or any leftover cat food but he’s big so, maybe!
I know some cats don’t like birds or burdz. Me, I can take ’em or leave ’em. But every great once in a while, one will catch my attention. This one woodpecker had my sister Tessa all a twitter with her chirping, “Come inside” invitational voice. The bird just glared at her and that’s just as well. Mom says she has enough to clean up. Don’t need feathers and beady eyes added to the mix.
A little while later, a bunch of birds called Grosbeaks took over the fountain and yukked it up during their bath. Must have been telling good jokes. They didn’t even notice my sister Tessa really chirping away at them from inside.
And not to insult anyone with even more bird pictures, I had to report we apparently have some wise crack birds. There I was, sitting in the window as quiet as a mouse while my sister was… yep, still chirping away at whatever appeared to have wings out there, when suddenly, this yellow bird looked me in the eye, stood on his tippy toes, and pulled up his feathers to flash me his white pantaloons! How dare he! Why, I’ve never seen such insolence in a bird. So I acted like I’d seen bird tighty-whiteys every day of the week and jumped down to go find something else to investigate for my next report. Stupid birds!
No, I didn’t forget my mom and dad’s backyard work (not intentionally, perhaps). So this is the stump from a big red maple that needed to be removed from beside our fountain because a) a big windstorm last fall broke up half of it, and b) the roots were threatening to cause havoc. Mom doesn’t use the word “havoc” too often so I know this was something serious.
Anywho, they dug this huge stump out by hand and it weighed something like two hundred pounds once it was out of the ground. Dad took his trusty electric saw to it over and over and just last week, after working on it for months, the last of the stump went into the yard debris bin for recycling. See what I mean by not spending enough time with us? They’re outside being urban lumberjacks!
And one more project that’s kept them outside for far too long in my opinion: Mom insisted our sloping side yard had to be…. um…. not sloping. Plus, all the heavy-duty retaining blocks used to keep dirt from falling all over the sidewalks my brother Quint likes to walk on, blocks my mom called Ugg-Lee, had to go too. It’s hard to see the sloping part in this photo but it’s the best mom had. She’s even slacking on photos now! Mom, can we be added to your projects list? Perhaps added to the top of that list? I have it on good authority you need a supervisor.
Finally, after months of digging and some HBO words I’m sure because there were five other maple tree stumps in there to take out, the slopey side yard has these nice level terraces, as Mom calls them, and the water won’t run down the side yard like a river now when it rains. She also gave all those Ugg-Lee blocks to the local Habitat for Humanity people who said they could really use them.
Well, that’s about it around here for the time being. But you never know when that might change. I’ll keep my eyes open in the meantime. At least one of them. My project list shows I’ve got napping to do.