Maternity Ward

“Do you have any peanuts?”

It seems all the critters around here have had babies. We’ve seen baby squirrels, baby chipmunks (too cute) all manner of baby birds and baby bunnies. It’s been hard on Maddie. We go out into the yard, her yard, and we find it occupied. Considering what she mostly uses the yard for, I think we can all relate to the notion of occupied.

Some of the occupants scatter at the sight or sound of Maddie and her humans. Some, well the bunnies, give us the: “Can you guys go a different way? I like this spot and I’m hungry” look. We oblige. Some of the squirrels and chipmunks know that when we bring Maddie out, we are likely to be carrying peanuts. So, they come to beg.

Maddie doesn’t mind them. She either ignores them or studies them. She only tries to chase them, if they run. I guess it’s those instincts coming to life and saying: “excuse me, you are a dog!

They all seem to know that Maddie is not much of a threat when she’s on her cot. Sitting with Maddie used to be a chance to relax. These days, we have to be vigilant – on the lookout for beggars – because some of the critters don’t seem to know that Maddie is a dog. We’ve had squirrels come close enough to put their paw on Maddie’s cot! Maddie is on a leash, but she can still cover a lot of ground. We try to distract them, hold them at bay, by tossing peanuts farther out into the yard. It works for some, but not all. Some of the squirrels aren’t very good at finding peanuts unless you hit them on the head with one (yes, we’ve done that).

We had heard that squirrels are territorial and encourage their children to find their own place. Reminds me of my dad. I’m beginning to wonder. Perhaps these squirrels have been reading about human children who are extending their stay in the nest, as it were. I think it’s about time for these guys to hit the road.

We try not to make them dependent on us. I’ve noticed them feasting on maple seeds and other typical springtime food. I think they are capable of finding food. They, also seem to be capable of storing food. Sometimes the squirrels will bury their peanut. We usually stop giving them out at that point. If they can’t find the peanut six inches off their port bow, it’s unlikely they’re going to remember the one buried in the garden. The chipmunks must be storing theirs, because they aren’t much bigger than a couple of peanuts. They fight for them, even with the squirrels, and they take them down one of the gazillion holes they’ve dug.

They are fun to watch. Maddie seems to enjoy watching them too. She alerts us too them with a kind of: “I think that guy needs a peanut” look. Not quite dog-like, but then again…Maddie.


76 thoughts on “Maternity Ward

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  1. I love them all Dan …. although I have a sister who hates chipmunks for the same reason I hate raccoons. It’s a constant battle to keep them from breaking into her house 🙂
    Baby bunnies must be the absolute cutest though. One of nature’s gentlest little animals 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Joanne – We do worry a little about the chipmunks, but there are so many around this neighborhood that I’m not sure there’s much we can do.

      The bunnies are adorable. They just sit and quietly munch, We stop and turn Maddie around so they can keep eating. They are so small, they need to eat.

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  2. Maddie’s right. That Is the life. Southern critters are a lot pickier about handouts. They wouldn’t touch our ‘in the shell’ peanuts. And the chipmunks seem averted to anything but walnuts, also my favorites. Since they aren’t cheap, once Winter departed we stopped putting them out every day. There is plenty out there for them to forage for. We keep the bird feeder supplied with a suet block. They are just too beautiful not to want in the yard. No bunnies that I have seen though. It’s funny. When we are in a park hubby points out how cute the squirrels are, at home he thinks they are a menace! Lol. Ever since they nearly trashed his garage with their nests he has held a grudge…..

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    1. I do worry about these guys getting into the garage, shed and house. Right now, they seem content to be under my workshop and under our porch. Walnuts became an untenable expense, because everybody prefers them to peanuts.

      I think Maddie might be thinking, “I;m glad they feed those guys, otherwise, I’d have to chase them.”

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  3. Maddie looks like she is certainly enjoying her cot in this June weather. She is a beautiful girl. :-) It is kind of funny that you feed chipmunks and squirrels, and I do everything, and I mean everything, to deter them from hanging around. We have numerous oak trees, and they have plenty of acorns which they bury in my landscaping fabric, after they have ripped it to shreds, and then they provide me an opportunity to pull all those acorns out as they sprout. I know, I know – I need exercise, but I’d rather do something besides clean up after four legged visitors. I don’t know who is helping themselves to my zebra grass, but I noticed yesterday there are numerous branches on the ground that have been chewed off. Hmm, maybe they invited some new relatives to stay for the weekend. :-)

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    1. We started feeding the squirrels that were orphaned when their mom was hit by a car. One peanut led to another. We did have to add fencing to my wife’s garden to keep the bunnies out. They like to eat the soft shoots of everything. They clipped her beans last year.

      These guys are cute, but they are getting demanding. We now have to pay a toll to get out of our driveway. I did urge the chipmunks away from my garage yesterday while I was working. I don’t want them in the habit of coming there.

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      1. We use to be able to keep our garage door open when we were outside, but now we have to keep it closed so that no one runs in there. It was much easier to grab a tool when the door was open, but now we have to go around the side of the house and go in the small door that we also keep closed. Since they don’t pay any of the upkeep, it annoys me that I have to adjust to their schedule. :-)

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  4. So adorable to see! We have none of this wildlife in our yard–we have outdoor cats and the word had spread through the neighborhood. But I do see the same range of critters on my walks. I do a bunny count every time I go out . . .

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    1. Our cats are indoor cats, and I doubt they would present much of a threat. In the winter and early spring, our neighborhood is visited by a hawk, but we haven’t seen one for a while. The neighborhood is full of chipmunks right now, and the bunny count is up.

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  5. I think the chipmunks and squirrels are super cute but I’m not much of a rabbit fan. They’re a shocking pest around here.
    Yesterday I got to run past bleating and gamboling lambs. Those are always cute. And both a friend and my nephew’s wife had babies last week so it’s definitely maternal season here even as winter kicks off.

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    1. Rabbits, a shocking pest? Our only problem with them was last year when they sampled my wife’s beans before they had a chance to grow. A second planting and a little makeshift fencing took care of that. A more substantiation fence went up this year. No lambs or little humans in the area.

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      1. Well, in a generalised sense. Not to us personally. Too high up on the hill away from the river. But as a nation, they’ve been a terrible nuisance. All because Mr Thomas Austin thought he’d miss rabbit hunting so brought a breeding pair with him from the Mother Country. We’ve been trying to stop them overrunning the country ever since. Ever heard of the Rabbit Proof Fence?

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  6. So cute! A family has taken up housekeeping in the base of a big tree and it seems to be slowly dying. There are peanuts all around the “opening”….could it be? lol. A friend had an attic full of squirrels munching on her insulation and electrical wires, cost her 6,000 dollars to get rid of them.

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    1. Thanks! We try very hard to keep these guys out of the attic and off the roof. They have done some damage to our flashing, on several occasions, but they haven’t hit a wire yet. We don’t actually have a tree that’s big enough to support a nest. They live in the neighbor’s oak trees and come here for take-out.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha – her loyal subjects – I can see that. I think the “go find your own place” is a good lesson. It seems as if the mom bunny comes here, deposits the kids and then moves back out to her larger feeding ground. Our yard is safe, but the Husky in the yard behind us has taken a few bunnies – they need to be careful not to cross the fence.

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  7. Like you, we love our little yard visitors. A few years back, we were overrun with rabbits; this year, it seems to be the chipmunks’ turn. The cycles fascinate me!

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  8. Our back yard is a bunny haven too. Sooooo cute. Our dog Murphy doesn’t bother them at all, and the bunnies aren’t afraid of her or us!! The squirrel and chipmunk population is growing this year. Not happy about the holes they dig or the fact that they tear right through the weed block we so painstakingly put down.

    I love the expressions you capture on Maddie’s face when she’s outside. Her personality seems to brighten when she’s surveying her ‘Dogdom’ and checking out her subjects.

    I laughed out loud at Steve W’s comment. Last week, in the middle of making my comment, it just disappeared from the screen and then popped up “Anonymous”. WTH? Was it something I said? Lol. Sorry Steve, but I feel better now. 😂😂

    🔹 Ginger 🔹

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ginger. Bunnies are just the cutest things. Maddie only grumbles when they force her out of her routine. If they’re eating by the fence, she can’t walk the “complete” perimeter.

      I never thought about the chipmunks digging through the weed block fabric.

      Maddie does seem to be surveying her space.

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  9. We have one pregnant squirrel and a bunch of baby squirrels running around the yard and baby birds at the feeders. We really enjoy the downy, and red-headed woodpeckers, except for the holes they drill into the trees and the house. We really get entertained sitting on our back porch. Love it!

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  10. Maddie looks especially good in these shots and you can tell her I said so. I love the baby rabbits, particularly in the park and far away from anything I’ve planted. In our house in Cleveland, I planted lettuce and other goodies in pots on the (flat) garage roof to keep them safe from deer, chipmunks, etc. One day I found a chipmunk on a tomato plant eating one of my Sun Gold tomatoes. That was SO not cool! I’m not big chipmunk fan because they eat things they shouldn’t as well as dig in places we don’t want them. But I don’t wage war on them.

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If I tell her that, Janet, she’ll have an even higher opinion of herself. We put a fence around my wife’s veggies this year. Last year, bunnies ate her beans before they had a chance to grow.

      Eating your tomatoes is very not good.

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  11. yeah, it does sound like you’re running a baby-sitting operation:) We don’t see many bunnies, but instead bambies. Thanks for commenting on the oojamaflip. She’s a character and knows how to move people’s hearts:):) (am running out of blogspace, and the little thingie top right is on s-l-o-w motion!)

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  12. Dan, I read your post this morning, but didn’t have time to comment. It was a great way to start the day – with bun-buns and chippies and Maddie girl. I hope everyone finds a place to sit where they can relax and have a peanut…or a beer. ;-)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mary – We don’t have a very big yard, but they all seem to be getting along. My wife has a picture of a squirrel jumping over a bunny this afternoon. I do sometimes take a beer and a book out with me, but these guys keep us busy.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Hi Dan – Maddie looks pretty special to me … we could do with a few more of her ‘sort’!! But yes … we have lots of nursery critters too … one little squirrel on the outside picnic table we’ve got here … just waiting – we ate over the road on the other farm – so they lost out this weekend … cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Hilary. Maddie is nice to these guys, but she’s unpredictable with our cats. She has issues, which we are aware of, but it’s hard to explain. Sitting outside helps to calm her, which i why we do it when we can. It’s funny, it was easier to sit in the cold than it is on some hot and humid days we get in the summer.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Deborah. Snoopy has also hatched a couple of babies (who have fledged) but I never had the right camera to capture them. It’s probably a different bird, but she sits on top of the birdhouse the way Snoopy sits on his doghouse.

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  14. We all snap photos of the bunnies and we never get a decent shot, so I’m totally jealous of your “larger of the two babies” photo! Wow. Nice.
    Maddie is a gentle soul, it seems, watching mostly, concerned about hungry squirrels, absolutely precious. She is a gorgeous girl <3
    I never see chipmunks round the house. They are around, but I see them houses from here, round the alleyways and the fallow field. Maybe that's good. We do prefer our bunnies and squirrels :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks – I should steal some of the pics my wife has of the bunnies. I like hers better than mine. Maddie is a gentle soul, at times. At times, she goes off on a nasty tear in the house, chasing the cats. We never know why, and it really is scary. We know she has issues, but we worry. We try to keep the little guys away from her cot, because we don’t know what might cause her to realize she’s a dog.

      The chipmunks have gotten braver and braver this year. Last year, we saw them, but we were only able to ever get one to stay long enough to take a nut. Now they are out there, mixing it up with the squirrels.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sadie chases the cats on a similar tear. But then, the cats also do that, more often than she does. I’ve always thought it was supernatural. Somethin in the air, makes em all nuts.

        In y’all’s case, nuts for nuts over there! :)

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Well, I liked the Maddie Squirrel relationship you mentioned in here. Sarah had a pet squirrel long before we first met and she has great skills in understanding what they want. I’m more of a dog person. However, since I met Sarah I have become a bird person as well. Overall, there is so much to learn from nature. The learning never stops.

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    1. You are right, Sharukh, nature has much to teach us. These guys get along, and they deal with common threats (hawks and cats). It’s funny to see them all out in the yards, especially when there’s food on the ground for the birds, too.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I and Sarah often just stand in the wild and observe things. From small insects to chameleons and birds and the way plants move. It is so relaxing.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. laughing at you hitting the squirrels with a nut.
    My husband’s grandfather hated the squirrels in their yard and it robbed them of enjoying feeding the birds – he said the squirrels took over.


    and your story of maddie was fun and reminded me of a lady who used to bring a dog to school for dog therapy.
    She said that her dog was fully trained and was a good girl – but one weakness – sometimes a squirrel could distract and she would bolt – weak spot

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We abandoned bird feeders, but we toss a bird food and nut mix on the ground. Everybody eats, birds, squirrels, chipmunks – they seem to work it out.

      We like to say that we are Maddie’s therapy humans.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. that is a great idea and I might have to go that route. I have fighting around my feeder and it is only week 3 over there.
        Empty nest (no kids) to now have birds banter – no thanks! ha
        so I might take you up on that idea

        Liked by 1 person

  17. What a great visit with you, Maddie, and the new crew. I love it that you’re encouraging the critters to be wary of dogs and people, since not all are as friendly as you and Maddie. The chipmunks are SO ADORABLE! But I have a weakness for the bunnies. Maybe because they remind me of my grandchinchilla. :)

    Liked by 1 person

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