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Friday, February 16, 2018

Idle post, with squirrels

Photo by H. Dominque
The Squirrels have won the Battle between the Squirrels and the Cardinals and their allies the Juncos. They have wrested the roof from the expensive, supposedly indestructible magic house, and have shaken all the seeds from the other feeder. The snow is black with seeds, and the roly-poly squirrels have dashed homeward. Their fur is shiny, their tails are lush: they look like fat, quick-changing ribbons, crossing the yard at the highest speed they can manage, given their feasting on black oil sunflower seeds.

The Cardinals and Juncos now have the abandoned field and are gleaning from what remains. Off in the distance, a chipmunk pokes its head up out of snow--a comical little face looks around, checking for the kestrels who occasionally dart in to dine in the back yard.

All morning I have been sitting by the big kitchen windows and rearranging the poems in the cut version of The Book of the Red King--that is, putting them in the right order in the digital copy, a wearisome, fiddly job. I take a break to delete the ever-entertaining and idiotic blog spam. While I'm there, I notice the stats, and am not one whit surprised to find that this is my most popular post ever (aside from another post that was spam-attacked, but that's not readers.) Still, five thousand reads for a idle moment's quick blog post seems a lot. Time to take a better break and march around in the snow and ice, see and talk to some winter-bundled human beings...


  1. A fellow I met once or twice in the Maryland suburbs had set out a bird feeder and found that the squirrels were getting into it. He acquired an air rifle, and stocked his freezer. I think that it not a coincidence that his daughter, who told me this, was nearly a vegetarian.

    1. A restaurant near where we lived when my husband went back to school was fined for serving Unacceptable Animals. Of course, we were poor then and ate there!

      My mother had a magnificent feeder on a sturdy pole, and my father the ingenious analytical chemist decided to electrify the pole. I'm sure it gave him satisfaction...

  2. Squirrels really are dirty little beggars. Unlike many other rodents, they don't have the decency to wait until after dark to creep in and feast. They use the birds to figure out where the food is, and they don't care what they destroy to get to it.

    A couple years ago, I watched a pair of bluebirds defend their house from a squirrel. I wrote the sight into the calendar poem; they flew back and forth as if working together to sew up some invisible seam in the air. The squirrel was flabbergasted.

    I'm envious that you have kestrels in your yard. Despite the clear presence of songbirds, rodents, and rabbits in ours, the birds of prey prefer adjacent farm fields bordered conveniently by tall trees. I built and installed a box meant to accommodate smaller breeds of owls, but what moved in? Squirrels...

    1. Hi, Jeff--you must have been writing this while I was answering George. Just back from Oneonta to see "The Shape of Water."

      There's a big arched window in the kitchen, and one day I was staring out and saw a kestrel stoop and catch a sparrow in mid-air. Impressive and startling.

      Squirrels are horribly bold and destructive. Ours are starting to look like groundhogs with bushy tails. They bound about, so fat and tight-looking, bursting with health!

  3. Let's see, something positive about the statistic you quote. That the algorithms which have brought about that figure of 5k are - in their dehumanised way - being exposed to your intellect. They're supposed to adjust to whatever they find. Thus subsequent versions of these algorithms will now contain the Marly-factor. You'd agree you're a force for good, wouldn't you? Voila!

    1. It is astonishing how many people we touch in some way in contemporary life. Whether for good or ill, I wouldn't presume to say of myself. That post is not a particularly important thing, nor are most. I'm just a mote, moving around in my own minute mote-world!

    2. For a benison to fall,
      On our meat and on us all.

      You should be able to do this one without recourse to Google.

    3. Just back from a trip to Glens Falls, where I picked up my new-made Ziggy glasses and sunglasses and went out to lunch with my husband at a lovely Thai restaurant. Then we wandered around Saratoga, stopped in Schenectady to see our daughter for a mere eight minutes on her work break, and made it home ahead of the forecast snow.

      And now, to be greeted by the alliterative R. R. in company with that charming man, Robert Herrick: thank you.


Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.