Thursday, May 26, 2011

It gets a little nuts.....

Urban, or backyard, camping, that is. Goodness knows, the last time I tried camping in the backyard John Kennedy was President. I probably showed my kids, Melissa and Brian, how to do it once; but those two were practically born in tents and raised to gather firewood, so I saw no need to stick around and coach.

Come to think about it, this whole family camping thing started because of those kids. When Joy and I had any time off from work, we rarely had money to Go or to Do anything more than a pack of wieners and a state park. Luckily, a lot of our friends at the time were ex-, unreformed Boy Scouts. Funny, sometimes, how traditions get born.

Now come Melissa's kids, Michael and Diana, 21 years since leaving Texas; and all of a sudden, it seemed, this Old Man was backyard camping again and kick-starting the Memorial Day bash without so much of the former debauchery.

Although I didn't know it at the time, preparation for this coming weekend began over last Mothers' Day weekend with a simple act of cleaning out an old garden shed; but that's another story, being told on my other blog, Miller's Cave. Consequently, some three weeks on, I've got this guy pictured above, an eastern fox squirrel, dining just outside our tent door!

Squirrels have been around for some 40 million years or better, back to the dawn of mammals. Biologists with nothing better to do break squirrels in general into 50 or so genera with about 280 species. Texas is home to two of the three species of tree squirrels, the fox (seen here) and the gray, the fox squirrel being the most commonly seen in backyards across much of the Rolling Plains.

Clearly, at least one eastern tree squirrel who roams the tree top canopy of Brook Village has a taste for black oiled sunflower seeds!

I nearly walked into this guy yesterday, and he scarcely glanced up from stuffing his cheeks. Nor did he show any concern when I stepped into the cave for my camera. Not until I was close enough to literally reach out and touch did he reluctantly take all the seeds he could carry and scamper some feet higher into the branches.
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