22 September 2007

Snakes alive

Garter snakeWe've seen quite a few of these Eastern garter snakes around the garden and barnyards. They're not venomous (in fact there are no venomous snakes in this area) and they're not very big - about 18 inches (45cm) long. This one seems to have taken up residence on our mosquito-killing light in the back garden. We turned the light off in case it electrocuted itself (a frog had already managed to kill itself on the light earlier in the summer).

Squirrel-damaged peanut feederI finally got around to buying a squirrel-proof bird feeder (a Squirrel-Be-Gone, to be precise). It certainly seems to work - the squirrels have had a good look at it but they haven't cracked it yet (unlike my peanut feeder). There is an outer sleeve which comes down over the seed openings if something heavier than a bird tries to get into them. We mostly get Black-capped Chickadees on it at the moment. They are a bit like Great Tits and are named for their alarm call which goes 'chicka-dee-dee-dee'. Blue Jays tend to come along and clear up the seeds that the chickadees drop underneath the feeder.Squirrel-be-gone feeder and chickadee

I'm heading off for the UK later today for a week and have very mixed feelings about the trip. I'm really looking forward to catching up with family and friends, but leaving here is a real wrench and I feel like I'm abandoning Mike, the kids and the dog. I did a lot of travelling in my old job, but was rarely away for more than a day or two at a time. After three months of being constant companions it is going to be horrible to be leaving them. I'm packing a lot into the week, so I'm sure it'll go very quickly.

The trees are really beginning to turn now, the maples in particular, so I think that after a week away I'll really notice the difference in the landscape. I'll be bringing my mother-in-law back with me and I'm looking forward to her reactions to our new home and lifestyle. She's never been out of Europe before, so it's quite an adventure for her.

Fall starts

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