Gloomy… sunny… snow!

Michigan’s official motto is Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice (If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look around you). The state, composed of two peninsulas that jut into Great Lakes, has truly beautiful areas around every corner.*

However, the unofficial motto is “If you don’t like the weather in Michigan, wait five minutes.” The photos reflect the hazy coolness,  sunshine… and wind and snow that occurred over just 14 hours in my hometown, where I checked on my aged parents.**


* Its smallest state park is the 22-acre “pocket” around Wagner Falls.

**My official excuse in case I was pulled over while driving to see them last week, when Governor Whitmer tightened her shelter-in-place order.  I wasn’t. Nor were the many out-of-state drivers pulling boats to their cabins.

Survival

I have a favorite little squirrel. It’s rather ugly. This winter it looked so scrawny and its fur so patchy that I thought it was diseased. There’s a big, bald knob on its spine.

It fattened up over the winter – a rare occurrence when most animals are living on their reserves.

Eventually it lingered on the maple tree long enough for me to get a good look. A parchment-colored scar runs along its neck. The fur along its back is thin where other scars run like seams on a badly-patched stuffed animal.

I think it’s the young squirrel that a neighborhood cat attacked and carried off. The cat must have kept it alive to play with it.

It’s still more skittish than other squirrels, but occasionally it feels safe enough to hang by its back feet from the feeder. Or explore the deck, as in the hastily-snapped photo below.

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A Walk on the Wild Side

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A young, filthy raccoon left a trail down the driveway.

Most of the neighbors bring out their bins and cans Thursday night, making it a weekly street carnival for furred foodies. A raccoon left its mark on my driveway but not in the yard (unlike the new neighbors who had bits and bones strewn about).

My garbage bin sits outside all year-round because the critters haven’t figured out that when they sit on the hinged lid, they cannot pry it open. Not that the young ones don’t try.

In the day, squirrels turn the overhead wires and fences into highways. Two squirrels in particular have an aversion to ground travel. Perhaps they had a frightening encounter with one of the neighborhood’s cats in a yard or simply figured out that most predators can’t reach them. At any rate, it’s delightful to look up from gardening and see a pair or trio of squirrels following each other like acrobats walking a high wire.

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A squirrel strolling on the privacy fence.