-Having a point is so over-rated.

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23 Mar

Lifes little updates, part 3,423,531

I was going to post a few more squirrel pictures and other odds and ends, but became distracted by:

1 - An extremely bad case of “Unmotivateditis” and mental “CrashandBurnism”
2 - A general lack of interest in “doing” anything besides staring at the wall.
3 - A simple but fun single-player PC game called Mount and Blade. It’s a strategy/rpg type game about medieval Kingdom relations/war/combat that is completely open-ended/non-linear. Great horse-riding combat, too.

I haven’t done much gaming in a while, but it appears that whenever I’m struck by a bad case of the first two things, I tend to retreat back into spurts of gaming. Mount and Blade is an easy game to pick up and then drop, repeatedly, with no plot or escalating “missions” to make you feel you have to finish right now. The game doesn’t even really have an ending, you could play forever. Anyway, I enjoy it.

–In other news, after looking at, then deciding not to buy, another used van similar to the one he already has, hubby decided to just have his van painted. His van has had a bad case of flaking-off paint for some years and had a lot of rust on the roof. Not attractive. The van itself still seems to run ok, which is kind of amazing, really … and now it looks all shiny and new. Well, kind of. At least it’s not a rusting hulk anymore.

–During a couple of days where the sun was out and it felt like Spring I did some weeding in the yard. The dirt patch near the front door had become a hive of weeds seemingly overnight. As I picked and shoveled them out, I came upon the realization that I don’t like empty dirt patches, and I don’t like tanbark ground cover. Oh sure, it’s pretty when new, but a few years later…plus, with all the leaves that fall here, when you try to rake leaves over the tanbark, half the tanbark comes with the leaves.

–Baby-kitty still seems determined to outlive his human owners. Ok, not really, since if he did, he’d be the oldest house cat EVER, but he is one determined senior kitty. Every time I think “uh oh, might be put-down time” he bounces back again and seems fine. A little wobbly and weak hipped, which means he’s beginning to have a hard time balancing while squatting in cat-litter (sigh) but … yup, he’s enjoying his time being the only cat in the house, and he means to enjoy it for as long as possible.

–I’m apparently mildly allergic to hazelnuts.

–The constant stream of new allergies as I get older becomes more irritating all the time, especially when I don’t know what it is causing the problem for a long while. And despite all the “free” detergents they have now, I seem to still have reactions from those now and then, too. I think I’m at least mildly allergic to all the dust the sycamore tree leaves on our street put out - more contact than nose, but some of both. For instance, after weeding the front yard and stirring up a lot of that dust, I didn’t shower or change clothes, and later that day I had some bad contact rashes on the torso. I’d guess from the dust getting into my shirt and through to rub on my skin. A few hours after showering, it calmed down and by morning it was gone. Sigh. I should live in a bubble.

Well, that’s enough babbling for one day.

25 Feb

Squirrel taking almonds

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This is that most friendly male squirrel, who apparently loves almonds more than chasing female squirrels. Actually, perhaps he’s not sexually mature yet. Don’t know. While his claws look sharp, I have yet to receive a single scratch from him or any of them. I wouldn’t generally advise anyone to finger-feed squirrels, because they can’t see directly in front of their nose very well. As you can see in the top pic, when they make a grab for it, they seem to gauge the distance then close their eyes during the actual lunge, so if you move during that micro-second you might get a nip. You’ll notice I hold the almond by the very end so there’s a bit of room for aim-error. I do the same thing w/peanuts. Everything else I toss on the ground at my feet. Occasionally if they seem too eager/hyper that day I won’t finger-feed at all.

Even with auto-focus, it’s difficult to hold a camera in one hand to get a good photo of the squirrel. Half the time the pictures come out blurry, haha.

25 Feb

Brave squirrel or wimpy cat?

… or maybe a bit of both? …

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Baby-kitty likes to sit in the sun, but the squirrels want their almonds. Lucky for the squirrels, Baby is a first-class wimp peace-lover. Don’t worry, the squirrels still run from all the other neighbor cats. Baby’s just special. I can leave the door open all day and Baby doesn’t go outside, too. Same with the bedrooms (he won’t step past their doorways). He’s well-trained.

19 Feb

Backyard squirrel #4

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This is the squirrel that was the first one to be brave enough to come close to me. I thought it was a female for a long time, but recently realized it was a male. I have a feeling it’s a fairly young male, which may account for his ability to be less scared of humans … less time to have had shoes tossed at him or something. He’s the one that will trot to the living room table to be hand-given an almond or walnut in a shell, as well as jump onto the shelf where I store the bags of nuts to try and rummage for them on his own. Very friendly, intelligent, and extremely gentle … he’ll wrap a paw around a finger while reaching for the nut with his mouth, and has yet to scratch/puncture me with his claws. At first he liked peanuts in the shell, but once I started buying almonds he fixated on those almost exclusively. If I hand him a peanut he’ll take it but then drop it on the floor and stare at me as if to say “What are you trying to pull by giving me that thing?”

If he’s close by and hears the door open, he’ll hop the fence and come running. And sometimes, if he’s on the fence and sees me walking around in the kitchen through the windows, he’ll come to the door to see if I’m in the mood to give him an almond. Which is really cute. It always makes me think of that old Mervyn’s store commercial, where the woman is standing by the window saying “Open, Open, Open.”

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That’s it for introducing the more in-your-face squirrels. From now on it’ll be general pictures of any squirrel I happen to acquire a cute photo of. Problem is, I have so many photos it’s hard to choose.

19 Feb

Backyard squirrel #3

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I can recognize this male because of his scarred right eye. There is lumpy scar tissue around the top of the eye, giving him a somewhat sad expression. If you view him from the left side, however, he looks like any other squirrel. It’s a bit disconcerting, really. :) I haven’t settled on a serious nickname for him. Sometimes I refer to him as “Sad” or “SadEye”, but that’s because I can’t think of anything else. At any rate, he’s a fairly aggressive, territorial male as far as the other squirrels go, often chasing others out of “his” yard when he’s here eating out of the dishes. He is constantly after the female squirrels (it’s mating season), running behind them all day long in the eager hope that he can get some lovin’. I think he might be one of the older squirrels, but as usual, impossible to tell. The male squirrels definitely tend to have more visible injuries or scars, likely from mating-season squabbles with other males. He’s not afraid of me, but is rather reserved, although he is one of those that will come to door and peer in to see if I’m there to hand out a treat. He prefers walnuts and almonds, and has an impatient/bold personality. He also will only take one almond at a time to bury, whilst many of the others might take multiples.

18 Feb

The cat that thinks it’s a bird

Yup, it’s a cat sitting in an abandoned bird (or squirrels, not sure) nest. Made me laugh. :)
Sorry it’s an overly poor quality pic - it was almost dark outside and I had to push the ISO to 1600 and brighten the image in a photo editor.

One of the houses next door to us is a rental, and the people living there has changed once already, since we bought our house. The new folk are quiet and thus tolerable (heh), and they are cat people, which makes them automatically cool. The only problem is they have at least 3 cats, and they’re all outdoor ones, which means I find a lot more cat-poop in the dirt/tanbark areas of our yard. Drives me crazy, and is one argument for indoor-only cats. At least (most) pet dogs can’t jump six foot fences to poo in prodigious quantities in neighbors yards….

Also, the cats (naturally) like to annoy the squirrels/birds, so I tend to shoo the cats out of our yard when I happen to see them. Not that these cats are much danger to the squirrels - they’re small cats, maybe 6-8 pounds, and we’ve seen the squirrels actually jump at the cats in a threatening manner and make the cats back off. But since I prefer the squirrels to neighbor kitties, I’d rather the kitties learn that our yard can’t be their playground -at least during the day.

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