Sunday, May 8, 2016

Warm blankets

Two weeks or so ago I was complaining about rabbits, now my beef is with squirrels.

More specifically, the cheeky one you see below. He, or more likely she, has decided to make a nest in an old bird house just outside the garden.

That is not a problem, what is a problem though is what she has decided to line up this nest with.

You will notice that it is a small red squirrel. We are in North America, the land of the big grey or black squirrels, but these big thugs are city or suburb dwellers.

In the country, at least around here, our only squirrels are red and not very big (but quite feisty - in the city I have often seen big grey ones chased off by the little red ones).

They look a bit like the European squirrel, but their ears are not tufted. By the same token, we do not have any starlings or house sparrows. They are also city birds.

To come back to my squirrel, I think she has been told about the fact that row cover material (also called floating row cover) you use to protect crops can make a difference of several degrees on cold nights. There she is, pulling at it.

She spent a whole evening tugging at that fabric, pulling from one side and then from the other.

She did not mind my taking pictures close by her. She was busy and did not have time to waste with humans.

She seemed rather mangy. Or perhaps squirrels shed a winter coat in spring.

She did manage to get a few pieces, but not many because, instead of tearing the fabric, she kept on trying to bundle up the whole length of fabric. The pieces she managed to tear off ended up in the old birdhouse with a great many dried leaves. The house is filled to the gills with leaves and fabric.

This happened a few days ago, and I have not seen her since. Perhaps she changed her mind, deciding that this was not a good spot after all.

P.S. I have not made many comments on other blogs recently for the most unexpected reason: the fire in Fort McMurray.

Fort McMurray is 2,500 km west of us. Consequently, we would not expect to be affected by the out-of- control fire in northern Alberta. 

Our internet service comes via satellite from  a company in New Brunswick (a 1000 km east of us). A few days ago, we got a recorded phone call from our Internet provider to let us know that, although their head office is in New Brunswick, their ground station is in Fort McMurray, and Internet service might be interrupted!

It did stop and we were without Internet for a while. We are actually surprised they were able to fix the problem and resume service, given the situation in Fort McMurray. I expect it might stop again. It is a small and interconnected world!


  1. Our thoughts have been with the people in fort McMurray, it has been on our news every night, I hope the weather changes soon and that rain comes.
    Your squirrel seems a determined little lady, we had one once that tried to stuff a pampas grass flower plus stalk into a hole in the oak next door. This hole has now been taken over by jackdaws and the squirrel isn't pleased!

  2. Hello Alain, it may be that the squirrel finds it too warm with all that insulation now that the weather is warming up.

  3. Little blighters! Mice have shredded fleece covered cloche tunnels here, I never manage to keep one over winter. I would imagine their nests are very cosy indeed.

  4. I had the same experience with Mama squirrel. One of my best covers was pretty badly mangled for Mrs squirrel to build a nest. later on I found her in the shed with her babies in the blanket.

  5. That is one determined squirrel! We have mostly Eastern Gray Squirrels here at home, but Fox Squirrels up at our cottage. The Fox Squirrels seem a little tougher and territorial...less friendly, maybe? ;-) It's fun that you took some great photos of the little guy pulling at the row cover. Wow--surprising that your internet service would be affected by the fires out west, but it illustrates how connected we all are in various ways. We've had hazy skies on the horizon, and the meteorologists say it's from the fires. Such a difficult situation.

  6. I never realised thar you had squirrels other than the greys. The American grey squirrel is now more common than our own red.
    A friend tells us that one is digging up his seed potatoes

  7. We have seen the terrible news about the fires. Absolutely awful. Squirrels are a nuisance, but yours is a very pretty one. Our grey ones are like rats with bushy tails.

  8. I hope they get those fires in Alberta under control. It would be terrifying live close to them. The squirrels here are almost all grey - your red ones certainly set ambitious goals.

  9. I am completely enchanted with this pest. How cute does she look wrestling with that fleece? How could anyone be annoyed? (says the gardener who hasn't got a squirrel hanging off her floating row cover!) The fires sound terrible. We have been thinking of all those affected by them. It is astonishing that your internet has been interrupted.

  10. I have to admit,the photo of the squirrel pulling at the fabric made me smile :)

  11. The effect of the fires seems to be far reaching touching even you in Ontario. How I feel for those poor people in Fort McMurray!
    Your squirrel story is hilarious. That is one ambitious Momma!
    I got your iris. Thanks so much! I have something to send to you and will be in touch shortly to get your address.

  12. I've seen the fire in Fort McMurray in Euronews TV, Alain but I didn't know you have internet from there. I hope you have it without problem.
    Yes, there are the same type of red squirrel in Northern Russia. They are smart and curious, live near my garden as well.


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