Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Report on Squirrels & Us

I've caught Erin's sore throat and cough and have felt miserable for several days now. Didn't go to Church on Sunday, spent yesterday in bed. Today my throat hurts ferociously. (Erin, how long does this last?) But at least today I feel up to doing something - blogging, reading, or knitting, none of which I wanted to do yesterday.

It's - snowing! It never snows here this early. I've lived here since May 1, 1991, and in all that time, it never snowed before January. Last year we had no snow at all. This is our second snow. The first one fell two nights ago, in the middle of the night, but had melted by daybreak. I only saw it because I got up in the wee hours.

The two gray squirrels, at last fully furred and with thick, bottle-brush tails, are outdoors. Their cage, which a couple of days ago I doubled, stands 4 feet high; the top half of it is covered with a clear, plastic tarp anchored by a metal roof with a brick atop it.

Their nest bag I made out of a king-sized, quilted pillow sham I found at Goodwill. It's folded in quarters, with two baby receiving blankets between the layers, the whole pinned shut with large safety pins on two sides (a third side being the fold and the fourth side, the entrance). Around that is a king-sized flannel pillowcase, also from Goodwill, which covers the outside of the bag and lines the inside. The pillowcase is pinned shut at the bottom. The squirrels will be warm in any weather this location can throw at them.

They are fully weaned. The proof that they are the ones eating most of their food (and not marauders from outside, such as chipmunks, small birds, or flying squirrels) is that whenever I go out to change their nest bag for a clean one, I find assorted shells, seed cases, and crumbs in their bedding. Another proof: they're fat.

The four flying squirrels I just couldn't stand to put outside. I've put them in the sunroom. I've discovered I can keep the odor at bay by washing the cage itself every morning, inside and out, with a solution of baking soda and dish liquid. A chore, but worth it to me, to be able to enjoy these cuties all evening long as they scamper about their cage.

It's getting to be time (sigh) to procure another cage and to separate the males from the females. Hankie is already humping Roxane, although to no good effect so far; I can see that he is consistently missing his target. But he'll learn quite soon. (Interestingly, he is not attracted to his sister Pankie, and Roscoe, who may be retarded, isn't interested in either female.)

Roscoe sleeps in my pocket for long stretches of time every day.


Elizabeth said...

Take good care of yourself !
I hope you feel much better very soon.......