Saturday, May 22, 2010

Two squirrels.

I’m basically passing time on a real nasty day. It’s trying to rain or SNOW here past the middle of May! A strange year for sure.

Anyway, I’m experimenting with different ways of posting video here, and using different hosts. Here is a piece of video showing the 2 most common squirrels found here. It was actually shot last fall when the squirrels were gathering acorns from an oak tree in my yard, and was taken right out of my dining room window.

The squirrel on the stump is a California Ground Squirrel. You might compare them to the prairie dogs of the Midwest, except that these squirrels don’t live in so called “towns”. They dig their holes or burrows indiscriminately, pretty much scattered all over the place. They can really be pests, and neither gardeners or hay farmers are very fond of them.

The other squirrel, the one busy burying acorns in my yard for later use, is a California or Western Gray Squirrel. The Gray is a tree squirrel, and rates high on the menu at my table. I know of no one who eats the ground squirrels, although I have no doubt that the local Native American Indians weren’t as picky and ate them in years gone by. The ground squirrel’s habit of living in burrows makes them prime candidates to carry mange, and in some cases plague. Of course plague was unknown here until it was introduced from Europe by fleas, carried by the rats aboard the early sailing ships; so up until that time it was probably pretty safe to eat the ground squirrels. If push came to shove, and I was really up against it, I’d still eat the ground squirrels today. After all, the chance of catching plague is pretty remote, and as long as the squirrel shows no sign of mange it is probably safe. But until then I’ll continue to avoid the ground squirrel and eat the tree squirrels.

Friday, May 14, 2010


As usual, the seasons tend to change almost over night around here. Yesterday morning the thermometer on my front porch read 40 degrees F. By mid afternoon it was 78. After lunch I saddled Sis, took Bear and Chigger along, and went for a little ride on the mountain behind my house. Old Sadie wanted to go too, but she is 14 years old and just can’t make it anymore. She still has all of her teeth, sort of surprising at her age, but she has cataracts in both eyes and doesn’t see well. She tires quickly, and a short walk is about all she is up to anymore.

I’m far enough along with spring chores now that I can take a day off to play now and then. As warm as it was, the dogs stayed pretty close instead of ranging out hunting. I wanted to check out an old logging trail to see if it was still open, or at least passable. It is getting pretty overgrown with young trees and brush, and there were several down trees, but by making a few detours through the timber we made it through. I stopped in a clear spot to snap this picture of the mountain valley where I live. This is the kind of scenery I get to look at every day.

View from the ridge.

Today I will run a rototiller over a garden spot. I don’t intend to plant much of a garden this year, but I may put a few things in the ground just to see how they do with minimum care. If things go according to plan, I don’t expect to be around much this summer. The mountains are calling, and I’d rather be camped somewhere than scratching in the ground.

Sunday, May 09, 2010


Spring is a long time coming this year, and winter just doesn’t want to go away. I’m getting itchy feet though, and today I decided to check the road to a trailhead up on the mountain. The Forest Service usually grades that road in April, but the way the weather has been I knew they hadn’t got around to it yet. I heard from a neighbor that there was a bad spot in the road that might be impassable to a truck pulling a horse trailer, so today I loaded the dogs in the truck and headed up the mountain to check things out for myself.

I had hardly left the paved road and started up the mountain when it began to rain. It rained most of the way, but the sun was out at the trailhead. There was some loose rock in the road in spots where it had slid off the banks, but the road was a long way from impassable. A piece of cake really.

While I was still a mile or so from the trailhead I turned the dogs out and roaded them in front of the truck for some exercise. I left them loose at the trailhead while I walked around and looked things over. A couple of dead snags in the corral had snapped off, but little damage had been done to the fence. Someone with a chain saw will soon cut that up for firewood.


I had to chuckle at a notice that had been posted on the Forest Service sign board. I guess there really are some people who need to have this spelled out for them. The notice is under glass which picked up my reflection as I took the picture.


There were still a few patches of snow laying around, so I know it would be a waste of time to haul a horse up there for awhile. If there is snow at the trailhead, there will be a lot more of it just a short distance up the trail. Deep rotten snow that is treacherous to try to cross with a horse. Oh well, I still have plenty of spring chores to do around home, and I can get in a little riding time just up the hill behind the house.