Sunday, April 16, 2017


Now that the spring season is coming on shaking off the winter blahs and bringing on the warm yellow snow, it is time to understand what is happening in your environment.

When you enter the kingdom of Puppywoods, as a tourist you should know what events occur here and the players who make this a special wilderness of constant joy and entertainment.

The cast of characters:

Grey Jay: Not actually a Perisoreus Canadensis but a Grey Catbird, Dumetella carolinensis, but the name has stuck. Migrates from Florida to Puppywoods then back again at the end of summer. Something mystical about this bird that is very familiar. 

Petie (aka Yard Monkey): Grey squirrels, the most populous of Puppywoods. 

Robben: Not to be confused with Mr. and Mrs. Robin, but a rouge Petie who brazenly walks into the studio to gather more grub when supplies are low outside. After some stern talking too he always gets his way and waddles off with his prize. I like Pirates. 

Beau-Beau (aka Scooter): Black striped brown ground squirrels, chipmunks. Descendents from the original Beau-Beau, the roommate of my first wife, who escaped his plastic palace and entered the wilderness that was to become Puppywoods. Several families live in different directions. Beware, they will run you over. 

The Ladies: Morning doves. They bring the song of the start of the day and provide a bit of properness to the rag-tag bunch that inhabit here. 

Mister and Misses Robin: The Commonwealth’s Official bird since 1950. Hangs around all year. Especially touching how he will get some seed and then take it to his mate. Colorful couple who hang tight and never cause any trouble. 

Bluejay: The warning system for the yard, peanut fancier. For such a large and loud bird, he is a big chicken and the first to run. 

Woody: Two different types of woodpeckers come around to keep the beat. 

Al: Barred Owl, very proper and can look right through you with those large eyes. Seems to be somewhat wise yet feels comfortable enough to rest here during the day. You will never hear him leave, but he announces when he arrives. He gets the respect he so deserves. 

Ollie: Al’s old lady. Interesting to hear them talk to each other. Don’t be messing with her or you get Al’s wrath. 

Mister Hawk: There is a large one and a small one who scan this area, neither are welcomed at Puppywoods and will be chased away. They don’t come around when Al is here. 

Mister Vole (aka Lil’ Dodger): one of our smallest residents. He doesn’t cause much chaos but pops up in darndest places. 

Black Cap:  A feisty Chickadee that loves sunflower seeds and will take on any opponent, no matter the size. 

Possee: The quiet slow opossum that wanders through now and then but is mostly a night visitor. 

Rocky: The masked striped tailed bandit who comes through in the dark rummaging through the shadows. 

Bun-Bun (Mama, Bun-Bun(s), baby Bun): All the white cotton tailed bunnies, various sizes. Mama is the Official Puppywoods Yard Boss. Sleeps in the sunshine and tall grass, hides in the ivy and stays dry under the studio when it rains. Are fond of blueberries. 

Ratboy (aka Ratzo Rizzo aka Ratty Mac Ratface): All critters with feathers and fuzzy tails are welcomed to Puppywoods, but not this guy. [Editor’s Note: I live in a city. I know that it is full of rats. At night and out of sight they can do what they do but during the day they are NOT invited to the buffet.] 

KAT: Also unwelcomed to Puppywoods. [Editor’s Note: There are fewer cats wandering the neighborhood but when one is sighted they are chased away to break the habit of their natural hunting instincts, at least in this spot of ground. Puppywoods is a designated park for wild creatures to run and play in the safety of its confines.] 

Clean-Up Crew: At dusk, a variety of wrens, chickadees and other assorted feathered visitors are invited to finish off the daily buffet. 

Frick & Frack: The two Peties who are constantly chasing each other around the grounds and up and down the trees.

Bike Buddy: A little rolly-polly nuthatch that between catching spiders rest on the bicycle handlebars. I think he’d ride off but his legs don’t reach the pedals. 

The Crows (aka The Holy Trinity): The three crows, Sheryl, Russell, and Counting, make a lot of noise and chase Mr. Hawk. They also clean up leftovers, like Possee and Ratboy. Always looking sharp in their black gloss undertaker coats. 

Eureka & Hoover: Two Beau-Beau partners who can clean an area quickly filling cheeks and scurrying off to unload and return for more vacuum duty. 

Flutterby: The colorful flowers on the wing.
 There are many, many more characters too varied to number each with their own activities, noticed or unnoticed, that make this a sanctuary wilderness for native life.

“There you go”: Approval of grabbing a peanut or seed or blueberry.
“Hello Ladies”: Formal welcome to the doves.
“Get A Peanut”: Instructions to the newly arrived Blue Jays.
“OK guys. Come and Get It. Soups On”: Announcing to the yard the buffet is open.
“Good job”: After a Bluejay warning of danger that gets me out in the yard to chase away any threat. Usually followed up by a treat of peanuts.
“Scoodly Doo”: The skipping patterns of critters playing.
“Zoom”: The sound of the scooters zipping about.
“Pisssssss”: Shoo cat noise. (ps. This really works)
“Tich-tich-tich”: Walk slowly through the yard with this sound to announce your movement without danger to those sheltered.
“Roll & Tumble”: The wrestling (or more amorous interaction) between critters. Some are moves by the alphas to establish their dominance while others are just good-natured play.
“Ooop!”: When one critter gooses another critter making them jump into the air.
“Stick”: A favorite Petie game of grabbing a stick and rolling and tumbling with it then running off only to return moments later and jumping on the stick again. Followed by the sound of “Grrrrr”.
“Hello”: The formal welcome acknowledgement to everyone from a moth to a spider to a butterfly to the moon. The proper society approved welcome as oppose the Carolina vernacular of  “Hey”.
“Mess Pots”: When the critters are acting silly.
“Raining Peanuts”: When the critters are munching down on seed and they see me and hear the rustle of paper their forecasters say, “It will be raining peanuts”.
“Blueberry Time”: Normally at 3PM and 5PM, fresh blueberries are placed in a constant spot and announced to all around “Blueberry Time”. Bun-Bun’s and Robin’s favorite, but a special treat to all.
“Put Up Your Umbrellas”: Informing the Peties it is raining and fold their tails over their heads.
“No, not that way, follow me”: When a bird flies into the studio and tries to fly out through the skylights. Stay calm. Open the door wide and walk out on the porch while talking quietly. After some panic and frustration they figure it out, fly to freedom and have a great story for the family that night.
“You Got Your Hungries On”: When the critters stand around the feeding ground before the buffet is open.
“Cutie Pies”: They can’t help themselves from being adorable.
“Cool The Tummy”: Critters way to cool off. Lie flat on a cool shady slate or some mulch to chill from all the antics of running around on a hot day.

Now you know the cast of critters and the script, walk softly as not to disturb for this is their territory and we are just visitors. Keep your hands behind you and no sudden movements or noises. Stop occasionally and just look up. Stand still a few minutes and listen to the activity going on around you. You can’t see it but it is always going. Take time to observe an area and suddenly you will find camouflaged nature provides a social network no Internet can compare to.
As caretaker I will try to provide the basics so nature can have the freedom to continue. In the meantime I get unlimited entertainment and unexpected antics from this cast of characters.
Thank you for the privilege of providing you with space and necessities to allow me what people take vacations to national parks for.

1 comment:

TripleG said...

The Fast and the Furriest!