Posts Tagged "birdfeeder"

Squirrel Wars 2016 Have Begun

Dear Kid,

Dad is at it again.

Or perhaps I should say the squirrels are at it again.

Either way, someone is at it, and “it” involves birdseed and removing tree limbs.

Dad was convinced that the squirrels couldn’t reach the birdfeeder, or that the one clever squirrel had reached the end of his time here on planet earth and was stalking birdfeeders in squirrel heaven.

And so he (Dad) happily went about his business.

Until I refilled the birdfeeders and Dad happened to look outside.

(Insert stabbing music from Psycho.)

Squirrel Wars 2016 Have Begun. Dad is --once again -- trying to keep the rodents off the birdfeeders. DearKidLoveMomWhat followed next was something out of a scene from Caddy Shack. A scene that hit the cutting room floor, but a scene nonetheless.

Dad raced out of the house, shouting at the squirrel to mind his (the squirrel’s) own species, and inviting plagues of curses upon the house of said rodent. The threat of his lineage being cursed didn’t seem to upset the squirrel in the least. The threat of a crazy man descending upon him waving a cell phone made him reconsider hanging out on the birdfeeder.

Once the birdfeeder was squirrel-free (temporarily), Dad went about assessing the situation to make it squirrel-free (permanently).

Saws, loppers, dynamite, drones, schematics, ladders, a laser pointer, and eye of newt were all involved.

Squirrel Plotting to Get Birdseed Squirrel Wars 2016 Have Begun. Dad is --once again -- trying to keep the rodents off the birdfeeders. DearKidLoveMomIn short, one of the nearby trees had its bangs trimmed. And the squirrels seem unable (or unwilling) to leap from the branches to the birdfeeders.

But the hand shears are still on the porch so that Dad can race out and prune away if the need should arise.

Perhaps this should be an Olympic sport.

Love, Mom

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Happy Draw a Bird Day!

Dear Kid,

Today is Draw a Bird Day.

I don’t know why, but it is.

Rodney the Bird Outside Our Window offered to pose for a picture, but between my (lack of) artistic talent and his demoralized attitude, I decided it might not be a good experience for him.

The most famous of all bird-drawers is probably John James Audubon (shown in a photo on Wikipedia holding a rifle which is probably not how most people think of him). JJ went out into Nature to identify and paint birds so that he could have a society named after him.

John James Audubon went out into Nature to identify and paint birds so that he could have a society named after him.

My second favorite bird drawer is probably Charley Harper (first favorite is you when you were about 4 and drew me a picture that had a bird in it). Charley Harper went into Nature wearing a pair of 5D glasses and drew what he saw. He lived in Cincinnati which is another thing that’s good about Our City.

Charley Harper Cardinal

Still up there in the Excellent Bird Drawing category is the little guy from Are You My Mother?

Are You My Mother by PD Eastman

And all the birds Dr. Seuss drew (none of which were ever spotted by John James A.).

Despite my best efforts to learn absolutely nothing about birds (what can I say? I was a rebellious twit), I love watching avian life in our backyard. I filled the birdfeeders over the weekend and the cardinal (significantly more dimensional than Charley’s version), the woodpeckers, flickers, chickadees, and other flying folk are having a marvelous time filling up at the buffet. The chipmunk family (did I tell you a family of chipmunks has moved in?) and squirrels are happily picking up whatever falls uneaten, and the rabbit is barreling through like he owns the place, checking on tables but not eating anything himself.

Spring is here.

Happy Draw a Bird Day.

Love, Mom


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Sunday is a Good Day for Enjoying Life | The Porch, Squirrels, and Ash Trees

Dear Kid,

Sunday is a great day. Whether you are a church-on-Sunday person or not, it is a day for taking a deep breath. The newspaper (remind me to explain to you about newspapers) is full and designed to be read over several cups of coffee or tea (or some other beverage if you prefer).

Spring is a wonderful time! DearKidLoveMom.comAt this time of year, I particularly enjoy breakfast and the newspaper (and my beverage of choice for the day) out on porch. (When we first built the porch you were a wee bit of thing and referred to the room as the “forch.” This makes me smile.) While our grass is something of a hot mess, the birds are enjoying the birdfeeders (at least now that we put the right seed in the right feeder) and the plants are sprouting up cheerfully. It’s a nice place to be. Today it is my favorite room in the house.

Booker is out here with me and is happily enjoying the sun spots on the floor. He is also keeping a sharp eye out for invading cats. He is ready to jump—at a nanosecond’s notice—out of sun-induced sleepiness into full on I-am-an-entire-pack-of-large-angry-barking-dogs frenzy should the dreaded yellow cat appear.

There are two squirrels chasing each other through the trees. I have it on good authority that they are not juveniles playing a friendly game of tag.

Speaking of trees, it looks like the ash tree borer has bored our ash trees to death. Scientists are not sure where they get their lecture material but it appears to be much more toxic than anything you sat through this year. As of yet, we have no plan for taking down the dead-or-dying trees or for replacing them with something less ashy. Perhaps while you are home you might acquaint some of them with the sharp side of a saw?

It’s good to take a little time out every now and then to enjoy life. Hope you enjoy today.

Love, Mom


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Lessons from a Brilliant Squirrel | ReThinking the Problem

Dastardly Squirrel eating from birdfeederDear Kid,

Once Upon an Age (defined as Before You Were Born), Grandpa was faced with a squirrel conundrum not unlike our very own Squirrel Challenge. Specifically, he was unable to find a way to keep a squirrel off a bird feeder. (Obviously, this was a Most Ingenious Squirrel, because it would really take a rodent of Higher Than Average Intelligence and Foolhardiness to take on your grandfather.)

Rocky SquirrelThe smartest squirrel on record is Rocket J. Squirrel, known to fans as Rocky of Rocky and Bullwinkle fame. (Yep, his full name really is Rocket J. Squirrel.)

Try as he might, Grandpa could not find a way to prevent the squirrel from getting to the birdseed. Before you ask, high explosives were not used—the objective was to protect the birdseed for the birds, not demolish all wildlife within a twelve mile radius.

Turns out that squirrels are quite smart especially given the size of their little brains. They demonstrate all sorts of devious behavior (have I mentioned the stare-down?) like pretending to bury nuts or seeds when another squirrel is watching. They also learn from other animals (like people) and they have a complex communication system (although not quite as complex as the communication network of a teenage girl).

Was Grandpa frustrated? He was. Did he dive into a pit of despair? He did not. Did he head to the freezer for ice-cream inspiration? I have no idea. What did he do? He re-framed the problem.

Let’s recap. Grandpa’s problem was that the squirrel kept getting to the birdfeeder and eating the seeds. Grandpa’s solution? Rename the equipment Bird and Squirrel Feeder. Ta-da! Now the squirrel was an official, expected guest and there was no problem left except for filling the feeder slightly more frequently, and he could handle that.

Why do I tell you this story? (Aside from the fact that it is amusing, I mean.)

Too often when faced with trying to solve a problem, people overlook the question of whether the problem is correctly defined. Then they get stuck in a place where they can’t solve the problem—generally because there is no solution. By redefining the problem so that they can look at things differently, new solutions pop out of the birdfeeder.

Here’s an example of a company that did it right: Xerox. Once Upon an Age (see above definition), Xerox was the copier company. One did not go to the copier, one went to the Xerox (regardless of the manufacturer). [This is all true, pay attention.] If Xerox management had insisted on thinking about their business in terms of copiers, they would probably be out of business by now. But they redefined the question of what they were and created a strategy to be the document company. That left room for them to get into the printer business when everybody and his brother had a home printer. Now Xerox has moved beyond the document company (cloud storage anyone?) and is a business solutions company. They redefined the problem.

The next time you are faced with a problem that seems insurmountable and/or unsolvable, suck in a deep breath and take a moment to think about whether you’re asking the right question (or whether there is another right question to ask).

And please make sure the bird feeders are full. (I haven’t given up the battle yet.)

Love, Mom


I would give Uncle David credit for reminding me of the story of Grandpa and the Squirrel but I have strict policy of never listing sources on the grounds that I generally don’t have any.

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