Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Stretch and what thrives in the hot

Stretch sideways
Meet Stretch, our resident pine squirrel, a furry creature who does not seem to be wilting as  are the rest of us in this heat, so unlike south eastern MN summers.  Stretch is so named because he is apt to be spotted stretched over any of the best pickings down at the bird feeders, he has his preferences peanuts to be sure, but also the apple cores and stale bread offerings coated in peanut butter that I toss along to the winged circus creatures.  Stretch can spot an apple tid bit from out of nowhere and immediately flies to the ground from above in the tree tops or below, pounces upon it, stretches out and guards it while chewing on a piece that he snatched amidst his pounce.  He is a remarkable acrobat, a flying squirrel.   Today I was checking  out back camera in pocket seeing what's thriving in  the heat when Stretch appeared; he makes a strange sharp noise to announce his presence; notice his sideways cling, still as can be and there he remained until I left. I have been trying to photo him for a few weeks, his activities can be annoying and yet simultaneously comical.  I suspect that the other squirrels  mostly greys and some black do not share our amusement of him.  In fact when they see him coming they flee; Stretch is the backyard bully and runs off other squirrels twice his size as well as a rabbit and some birds.  He is content to allow the doves to graze with him.  But  mostly when Stretch appears the feathers fly from the birdfeeders. He is small but mighty, from his nose to the end tip of his tail, maybe 10 or 11 inches.  Every year we have one or two of these creatures around,  thankfully not more of them because they do run the roost.  When we first moved here in 2005 we had a pair that confiscated a small birdhouse near the clothes line as their home, such chattering when I was hanging clothes.  Fortunately I spotted them and did not go near their house, where they stayed for a month or two, an unwary hand and I am sure I'd have encountered teeth and a squirrel bite can be dangerous.  Wikipedia says:  Pine squirrels are squirrels of the genus Tamiasciurus. This genus includes three species, the American Red Squirrel T. hudsonicus, the Douglas Squirrel T. douglasii and Mearns's Squirrel T. mearnsi. All are native to North America: pine squirrels can be found in the northern and western United States, most of Canada, Alaska, and northwestern Mexico.

Amaryllis enjoys the heat
But back to the heat, how unnatural for south eastern MN, yet the old timers assure me it was just as hot in the late 30's at times, but back then "we had no air conditioning and we just got used to it."  Used to it, indeed; I know that was the case in western PA  growing up as a child, sleeping on the second floor of a 2 story house with no air conditioning, no fan.  Who ever heard of cooling; go to the basement to cool off but we kids did not seem the least bit bothered.   I can say we were used to it.  For now, I have started my  morning walks earlier and earlier, today 7:00AM and that was even warm as after my hour I had worked up a drench sweat.   There are quite a few of us morning walkers usually about but today I saw only two other women.  I think everyone is either getting out even earlier or giving up the walking in the heat.  But I am engaged on my own health improvement project following my annual medical check up which had warnings, bit of weight gain which I do not need and some upcreep in fasting blood glucose and cholesterol numbers, nothing I have had before but I have not been 68 years old before either.  My Mayo doc advised I take this as a warning and indeed I am.  As he said, "you have really good health, do not let this get away from you."  I take the warning seriously and will be back with normal and below normal reading when he checks me again in December. 

So the week of heat is here which makes us even more so looking forward to our Alaskan journey all of August.  Ahh,,cool and cold, that's for me. But for now, some plants seem to thrive, here are just a few happy bloomers like these tiger lilies and the Russian sage along the side of the house where the sun beats hot in the afternoon:

Back in May when it was wet and windy, I knew summer would come so I visited the local nursery and spotted a new combination of pale yellows in a lemon lime coleus and vanilla marigolds for the back flower box.  I am pleased with the serene calm appearance they present in this weather

Blogger is not cooperating with my posting photos so I am out of here for now....isn't Vanilla lovely?


  1. I am a fan of tiger lilies too, both orange and yellow. Exercise is the way to go, I agree. Stay cool.

  2. Blogger is not my favorite when it comes to posting photos or even text. I much pref using Live Writer, which unfortunately does not work on Macs. Recently, I have been using blogger to schedule,posts, but it is not photo friendly as far as layouts. And it's also hot here in RI where we are visiting for granddaughter's 2nd birthday celebration. Stretch is quite an amazing creature.