The Backyard Science group regularly features the Daily Bucket. Too many aphids? Brush fires from the drought? Having a good carrot harvest? Please add your own observations in a comment. Insects, weather, meteorites, climate, birds, and more are all worthy additions to the Bucket. Include, as close as is comfortable for you, your location. Your impressions will provide additional viewpoints of the precious life around us.John Muir once said, "you everywhere find this little squirrel the master-existence. Though only a few inches long, so intense is his fiery vigor and restlessness, he stirs every grove with wild life, and makes himself more important than even the huge bears that shuffle through the tangled underbrush beneath him."
I'm beginning this diary by quoting John Muir. Because if I began with my own words, I might exceed the limit for how much cussing is allowed in a Bucket.
A couple of weeks ago, It was Ms. 6 who actually starting the cussing. I heard her yelling, and then the back door slammed as she raced out to chase away a squirrel that had just evicerated a recently-purchased and newly-bloomed sunflower blossom.
Then I began hearing a new sound in the trees, a "chirrrr." At first I hoped I could finally claim a new bird in my backyard solely by identifying its call, the way some of the Bucket pros can. You know who you are.
And one morning, as I picked up fallen fruit, I heard the "chirrr" in the pear tree, and looked up quickly, anxious to see this new bird.
Instead, a small, dark squirrel edged up towards me on a pear tree branch, acting friendly. It behaved squirrelly, of course, with the jumpy frantic movements I know too well.
But it was cuter, with more concise features and a smarter look in its white-ringed eyes, than the invasive, larger Eastern grey squirrels that decimate my bird feeders and vegetable garden at every opportunity.
Nope. The mugshots matched perfectly, and I now have a resident Douglas Squirrel. The Douglas are actually natives to California and the Pacific Northwest.
According to Wiki:
"The Douglas Squirrel (Tamiasciurus douglasii) is a pine squirrel found in the Pacific coastal states and provinces of North America. It is sometimes known as the Chickaree or Pine Squirrel."
Wiki also said that while its main diet is pine cone seeds, it also eats berries. I think I'll edit Wiki to add in sunflower blossoms and pears to its known diet.
Just what I need. Another !#$@^&^ squirrel, even a cuter one, right during pear harvesting season. Nonetheless, I have a plan. I'll ally with the Douglas Squirrels, and encourage them to chase out the Eastern Grey Squirrels. The Douglas Squirrels can't be worse, can they?
The Greys eat strawberries, grapes and pears out of my yard. Several of my neighbors claim they never get a single cherry, apple or pear from their trees; the squirrels got them all. I calculate the Grey Squirrels on my block must eat about 2000 lbs of fruit annually. How many of the !#$!%@$^% can there be?
So that's my current scheme. Side with the Douglases against the Greys. What could possibly go wrong? After all, if you're going to side with a squirrel, pick one about which John Muir said, "I cannot tell you much unmistakable humanity I have found in him."
After a hiatus of over 1 1/2 years, Meteor Blades has revived his excellent series. As MB explained, this weekly diary is a "round-up with excerpts and links... of the hard work so many Kossacks put into bringing matters of environmental concern to the community... I'll be starting out with some commentary of my own on an issue related to the environment, a word I take in its broadest meaning."
"Green Diary Rescue" will be posted every Saturday at 1:00 pm Pacific Time on the Daily Kos front page. Be sure to recommend and comment in the diary.