Presented without commentary:
Maine’s autumnal show ain’t over til it’s over! There is still much to appreciate right now including my new chipmunk friend, Cider. At first I thought he lived in my neighbor’s yard but I followed him home and see that he’s living on the other side of my house. About four days ago Buster and Ricky went south (a few feet) underground for the winter so they aren’t here to chase Cider away. Sunny is still awake but I know that she, too will soon be in torpor for winter and the passing of summer’s growth will be complete once it’s covered with a cold white blanket. Thankfully that’s not happening in the near future!
Here are some pics I just took to share all this remaining loveliness with you, including Cider’s audition to be a model.
Unlike any other chipmunk I’ve know or read about, and going against all instinct, there was a chipmunk eating seeds on our deck instead of stuffing his cheeks and bringing them back to his burrow to store for the coming winter. People wonder how I know the gender of a chipmunk. It’s always been a guess and this one was a give-away: Ricky, as I named him, would gladly eat what I served him but then always left the shells behind so that I had clean up his mess. “Typical man!” friends would say when I shared the latest chipmunk news. (It warms my heart that people ask and take an active interest in their antics. If they don’t ask I tell them anyway.)
In reality I had no idea what was actually in store for the future. Ricky was not all what he seemed to be, and neither was Tailor, the chipmunk living in our side yard with a black “ring” around her tail and named after Elizabeth Taylor who loved and kept many chipmunks as pets and had a famous fondness for jewelry.
Early in July I finally found a charming weathered hand-painted concrete set of the Seven Dwarfs at an antique & collectible shop in Cornish for $45 that costs around $900 new when painted. Those who have been following my blog for a while know I adore vintage kitschy garden statues of animals and gnomes. Since it’s not unusual for people to call me “Snow White” when I tell them about my yard pets I wanted to complete the cast of characters. I also figured they would make terrific props for chipmunk photo sessions. Tailor, however, did not agree! Check out the little linked video for her reaction. A couple of days later, she disappeared!
I snapped this pic in the golden light of yesterday afternoon. Right now it’s pouring rain and we have a high wind advisory with gusts up to 50 mph, so by tomorrow morning most of the leaves will be down. I’m so glad I savored them and I hope you’ve enjoyed my fall foliage blog posts!
(Almost to) last on the autumn “honey do” list for Wayne was to pressure wash the deck, so after mowing and raking leaves he got right to it. First step was to clear the deck. When he first started, the sky was overcast and a bit forlorn looking but then clouds quickly gave way to a golden splendor as the sun highlighted the brilliant fall foliage in our yard.
I have extraordinary news! Buster is back!!! After a week’s disappearance he emerged from his burrow, came running to me when I called him and is acting like it’s just another day! Also, one of Chippie’s offspring, Sunny, returned…without a tail! But she is acting like it’s no big deal and she has made her home in our woods. I felt a release after I published yesterday’s post, and now I feel so much gratitude for the gifts in front of me, like our first WATERMELON!
Last week I noticed what appeared to be a large bird in my woods. I walked closer and saw that it was a hawk. Hawks eat chipmunks and are not welcome on my property, especially when they are dangerously close to Buster’s burrow at the edge of the woods. In animated NYC fashion I told it to get lost. Perched on a branch up high it watched my little performance, and when I was finished it flew away. There! I showed him!
My yard is full of surprises. I was deadheading roses and noticed this Wooly Bear caterpillar. On a cabbage, what looked like detritus simply hopped away. It’s this garden variety of unannounced visitors that I welcome. What was absolutely terrifying was when a mystery object came crashing down from above!
One day Wishy wasn’t his usual “chipper” self.
“Are you sad, Wishy?” the teacher asked.
“Yes. I wish that summer would last all winter long!”
Summer in Maine is a beautiful season. The teacher wished it would last longer, too. She knew not all wishes can come true even though they are nice to have.
Excerpted from Wishy the Bookworm Chipmunk.
Although Maine will not become an endless summer, one of my dear wishes has magically come true!