Monday, January 20, 2014

King of the Hill

They feed peacefully at the bird feeder that hangs in a big spruce tree a few yards from the cabin window.  Juncos, chickadees, blue jays, a bright red cardinal, several nuthatches.  And then, unannounced, the menace arrived from the west, from the big black willow trees that have provided a windbreak for the cabin since 1912.

 A dreaded red squirrel, much smaller than the gray squirrels and fox squirrels.  So small that it doesn't weigh enough to trip the “squirrel proof” mechanism that closes the feeder door to unwanted critters.

The birds leave the feeder, some fly into the spruce tree, some sit on the ground.  And the arrogant red squirrel sits in the feeder and eats and gloats, while the hungry winter birds patiently wait for this bully of the natural world to leave so they can once more return to lunch.

 I notice that even birds have limited patience.  With more than a dozen of them waiting on the snow-packed surface beneath the feeder, occasionally one will do a fly-by at the red squirrel enemy, taunting it.   But the action disturbs the fat and saucy little squirrel not at all.  It sits munching on bird feed, seeming to enjoy its position of  “King of the hill.”

When the plump and satisfied squirrel finally scampers away, the birds return to feeding, I’m sure hoping that something will be left for them.

Is there a lesson here?

THE OLD TIMER SAYS:  Often nature provides an insight into human activity, helps us see who we are from a different perspective.


January 22, 6:30 p.m. UW-Eau Claire Woodland Theater (in Davis Student Center). TV show with live presentation. (Winter on the Farm) Book signing of THE QUIET SEASON.

February 8, Sat. Garden Expo, Madison Alliant Center, 2:15 p.m. Garden Wisdom presentation.

February 9, Sun. Garden Expo, Madison Alliant Center, 10:15 Three Sisters Garden presentation.

February 23, 2:00 p.m. Gard Theater, Spring Green.  Showing of Winter on the Farm with questions and discussion.  Followed by book signing of THE QUIET SEASON. Sponsored by Wisconsin Public TV and Arcadia Bookstore.

For those interested in purchasing DVDS and Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fund raiser for them):
A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps, DVD $20.00 shipping included (An hour-long documentary that has aired on public television.)

The Quiet Season by Jerry Apps $25.00 shipping included (Hardcover book about winter memories—A Farm Winter is based on this book.)

The Bundle: A Farm Winter DVD and The Quiet Season hardcover book - Save $5.00 only $40!
Order from:
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division St.
Wild Rose, WI  54984

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