I’ve taken to carrying a handful of peanuts in my pocket. I was just out scattering coffee grounds on my veggie bed when the little Sweetie Squirrel girl spotted me. She ran up to me and sat on her haunches a meter away with her hands folded across her chest. I can’t resist. So there I was, squatting on the grass, in the rain, hand feeding a squirrel peanuts. I am so whipped.

As I walked up the deck, I noticed Dina in the window next to her doggie door watching me with growing concern. Inevitably, I gave her peanuts, too. I can’t have her thinking I favor the squirrels over her. She’d never let me sleep at night. I know who rules this house and do all I can to keep some small advantage – outside of the obvious opposable thumbs and height. Maybe that’s why I curry the favor of small critters… at 5’2”, I rarely can claim a height advantage.

Speaking of opposable thumbs, I have been watching the squirrels manipulate and, when seen up close, observe that they have a proto-thumb. It’s just a little nub that juts out at a 90-degree angle from their fingers. I don’t see that it moves like ours, yet it seems to be a stationary brace for the fingers to use. Hey, it’s more than those useless little dewclaws the puppies have. It’s all about exploiting advantages. Yay for opposable thumbs!

From: [identity profile] sbloss.livejournal.com

I love your posts. Squirrels, little arctic pygmy wolves, gardens...it's all very uplifting. I miss you terribly. *hugs*

From: [identity profile] miladycarol.livejournal.com

I do my best. I figure we can all use as much of the uplifting as we can find. I miss you, too. No one meets me for coffee any more. We're all too distant, busy and/or broke. *sigh*

From: [identity profile] karjack.livejournal.com

Um. I would meet you for coffee. Half the time I can't reach you when I call.

From: [identity profile] miladycarol.livejournal.com

I know, Sweetie. It's been stressful here. This was more a comment on my own lack of time and money, too. I've been having most of my coffee at home. Perhaps a coffee date on the deck? When I'm not wrestling with finances and business things, I'm taking out my frustrations with a shovel and rock in the back yard.

From: [identity profile] wyliekat.livejournal.com

I was doing that when we were at Tall Pines Lodge last weekend. I kept a pocketful of salted sunflower seeds to feed the deer - in amongst the random handfuls of carrots I was also giving away.

It seemed appropriate to pay homage to Mother Nature in this way.

From: [identity profile] miladycarol.livejournal.com

Hmmm... is that a carrot in your pocket, Deer, or are you just glad to see me? *cackles with mirth*

Did the deer take them from your hand? I've never fed a deer in the wild.

From: [identity profile] wyliekat.livejournal.com

I'm not sure tall pines constitutes "the wild". I mean, the animals are wild, to be sure. But they've been tamed through years of feeding and gentle treatment. Buddy likened them to dogs, where we were. Me? I think they were more like cats. Curious, hungry, friendly and yes, willing to eat out of your hand (or lick it for salt if there was no food available). But they weren't much for being touched. One of them let me pat his cheek a little bit, but by and large, it was all on their terms.

Cats more than dogs.

It was disorienting to open our little cabin door and see a deer standing three feet away, wondering if you were bringing treats outside. We were frequently woken in the morning by their perambulations across our porch.

Seriously - that close.

From: [identity profile] miladycarol.livejournal.com

I've been to some areas where the deer are pretty relaxed about humans, nothing like what you're describing. Apparently, I train my "wild" critters to expect and demand. I am now merely She Who Provides Upon Command. The culmination of a life's work. Le sigh

From: [identity profile] wyliekat.livejournal.com

Well, if you're ever in a truly roaming mood, I'd highly recommend tall pine lodges for you - if for no other reason than the deer experience, though admittedly, the heart shaped jacuzzi tub is a nice bit, too.


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