Now that I am semi-retired, we have a new routine. Whenever possible, we sit on the deck in the early morning, drinking coffee, watching the birds at our many feeders, and welcoming the day. Many mornings we spend an hour or more this way.
We also have a few chipmunks. Last year we just had one – Mama Chipper. Of course, we didn’t really know if she was a girl. Over the summer she became somewhat tame – allowing my husband to pet her while she enjoyed some sunflower seeds. Once in awhile, she allowed him to pick her up – but not for long.
This year she was back and soon he was feeding and petting her again. However, she was not alone. At least five little chipmunks also appeared. (So perhaps she was a mama.) Because the baby chipmunks were skittish, my husband decided to put sunflowers seeds in a bird feeder that can no longer be hung in the tree (due to several falls to the ground, caused by a raccoon and perhaps a bear). The bird feeder looks like a school – so now the baby chipmunks go to school (to get sunflower seeds). He also gives them fresh water in what used to be a dog dish.
After the first few weeks, the mama chipmunk would jump on my husband’s leg – looking for sunflower seeds. One day he came back from the store with unsalfed peanuts. He placed a peanut on his knee … and waited. At first, Mama chipmunk would do a hit and run – she would jump on his leg, grab a peanut, and jump back down. Then he put more peanuts on his leg. Pretty soon she would sit on his knee and stuff as many peanuts as possible in her mouth, jump down, carry the peanuts away, and then come back for more. She would even take them out of the belt loop on his pants.
Alas, Mama Chipmunk has not appeared for the last two weeks. Now training has begun for the baby chipmunks. They are still a little skittish – they won’t allow much petting but they sure love the peanuts. Maybe next year they will be ready for more advanced training. In the meantime, we will just sit on the deck, enjoy the mornings, watch the birds, watch the baby chipmunks chase one another – and wait to see what other wildlife comes strolling by – like these two who came for a visit.
Coming soon – a wrap-up of the garage sale season – the best bargains, the best signage, and the best displays.
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