Fun memories were made and a
lot of fun was had in the spirit of fun at the Farmer's Market
Fernandina Beach this past Halloween. All of the vendors were in costume with decorated
booths. I still think that the farmers dressed as farmers was cheating a bit.
Most of all as I roamed the market I noticed the happy smiles.
Many had dressed their
parts, the honey merchant dressed in her bee keepers garb, the organic
farmers in their hippie clothes but ummmmmmmm the farmers as farmers, I'm not so sure they were
in costume since this is what they wore the week before.
|If you missed this happy event then you missed the best in town even with it coinciding with Florida-Georgia weekend.|
But the cutest of all was the fairies
with their Trick or Treat pumpkins who visited the market to get
their treats. The market is always a treat to visit but this was an especially fun one.
Many have asked how Miss Shelly is
doing. Here is your answer. It been about a month since she
has been on her own in the wilds of my back yard. Although that sounds like a safe world it is full
of perils from hawks and owls to being rejected as an interloper shunned by her own kind. We are
playing a cross between tag and hide and seek here earlier this week. I at one time
only a fuzzy tail was visible.
This was an especially sweet week with her as I found that by wearing the denim shirt, which I
always wore as my "squirrel armor" for scratch protection during her inside the house days, she
seemed more relaxed. The chill in the air giving her lots of energy to romp and play. She would
scamper up the tree, jump on my shoulder then run around and around my body and
legs (long pants required).
If she was full or I gave her a nut
in the shell instead of just the meat she will bury it in the ground.
Squirrels bury hundreds of nuts some to be later moved to larger stashes but remembering mostly
where they put them. The number of Oak trees tells us they don't always remember-the Johnny
Appleseeds of the oak world.
|A break to take a long drink of the fresh water I had just brought.|
|This is the old "I'm getting ready to jump on your shoulder look".|
|A shot between my legs as she is running around me in play mode.|
A break to take a bite of
the fresh pecan's I collect each day from the tree behind the
I know, I know, just how many photos of a squirrel eating nuts can I inflict on you?
Thursday I enlisted
Bruce to take pictures of the two of us since it is hard to
get anything but a
squirrel eating nuts by myself. She really likes to get her back rubbed. Maybe it is the only unthreatening
play she gets since the bully squirrels wouldn't dare bother her with "her own Big Momma" around.
The shirt used to be her snuggle and
nappy pouch when I would tie it around my waist Daisy Mae
style so she could crawl inside where she would sleep for as long time while I worked on the computer
or in the house. I think that it was like a comfort zone for her.
Its nice to have a friend to lean on sometimes while you just want to relax with a snack.
The first thing she did was jump on
my head and sit so the hairstyle is by "Shelly". She has
always liked that back and butt scratching and will stay put for a while in her busy squirrel
movements to enjoy that treat.
My hand is her play toy which one day
I learned was OK to let her do. Early on she would run
up and nip at my arm and fingers and it made me really nervous. I thought she was going to hurt me.
One day I decided to let her have my hand and just see if she would bite me. She proceeded to
play with my hand, wrestling and biting it but never hurting. I realized it was part of socialization
in squirrel world.
|More back and butt scratching. How can a girl resist that.|
If she starts to get too rough in her
play then I just pull away, but she just uses my hand as she
would another sibling engaging in squirrel play. Playmate invention is a necessity in an only child world.
We trust each
other so I keep coming out each morning to keep the contact established. Maybe that
is wrong and I should just let go but she has so few friends out in squirrel world that she also seems
to need a friendly face. She is a wild animal and in every way is wild except that through an act of fate
her mom and dad were human.
I am spoiling her by picking
out the sunflowers from the squirrel feeder which are her
eats them as fast as I can separate them out of the corn. It is amazing how they can do that with
their teeth...split and separate the husk from the good part in only seconds.
She is reaching out from the tree for
another pecan which she will hang by her back feet and eat.
Squirrels are one of the few animals which can descend a tree head first thanks to a backward
pointed toe on each back paw.
She is my sweetie and I have counted
it a privilege to share in her wild world this short time. I
if she is sleeping in her perfect little nest now or not. The older squirrels made her life so miserable
trying to chase her away that I am not sure where she hangs out at night. It offered such complete
protection from the weather that I hope she will use it since it was her first choice but I must trust her
animal instincts to know what is best. It would be nice if she were to raise her own children there
hopefully not before next summer. Although squirrels can mate at 5 1/2 months usually they wait
until they are almost a year old which would put her into the May to June breeding season rather
than the December to January one--my baby is too young to be a mother just yet.
Sometimes I can't get the nuts opened
fast enough and she offers to help. I know that she can
open them herself but if I give them to her whole she buries them and it is hard to
find enough fresh pecans to satisfy her so it is selfish on my part to open the nuts prior to feeding.
It is always such a relief to see her climbing down the tree when I call in the morning. I know
then that she has made it another day and night in the wild and with each day
she is closer to becoming wiser in the ways of nature and also in growing into adulthood
where she will be more capable of taking care of herself. Squirrels in captivity can live to be
20 years old but in the wild the life expectancy is about 8-10. Here's to a long and happy
life for Miss Shelly.
Return to Story Book list Return to ASJG Main