Out in the Wild

Spring is definitely here, and it has brought all of the animals out of hiding in my backyard again. The turkeys are serenading me under my bedroom window, as they do every spring. Deer are jumping out from behind every tree to try to hit my truck, and little 4-footed critters are everywhere!

I saw something odd today when I was sitting out on the back deck for a few minutes. I was sitting fairly still; the squirrel must not have noticed me. He ran up the stair railing, all around the deck on the deck railing, jumped down and ran across the back of the deck, climbed back up a post on the other side and then back down the stair railing on the other side. But he stopped every few feet and rubbed his cheeks along the wood. It didn’t look like he was scratching himself, and in fact, he stopped at one point and gave his neck a good scruffing with a hind paw.

It made me wonder… Do squirrels mark their territory?

Categories: Home, Wildlife, Wonderings | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

In My Neighbor’s Front Yard

I was driving home today and took a small detour to check on the new houses going up on the side street near my house. As I returned and pulled up to the stop sign, I looked out of my window into my neighbor’s front yard.

Now I understand why some of their plants have been looking a little ragged lately!


And she didn’t seem to care that I was all but falling out of my car window to take pictures of her, either. Talk about tame…

Image 1

After a few minutes, she took off and ran off…right into my back yard.

Categories: Home, Wildlife | Tags: | 1 Comment

In My Back Yard

I came home from running errands this evening to see a large shadow fly past the kitchen window. The flight pattern wasn’t that of the usual blackbird, so I ran to the window, hoping to catch a glimpse of a hawk on the tree branch just outside.


Not a hawk.

This is probably the culprit who likes to divebomb my head when I forget to take my trash out to the street before 2am. I decide to retaliate by taking pictures!

But then he quit googling back at me and dove down to the grass…


I’m not sure if that’s a very large worm or a small snake, but in either case, he’s welcome to dinner! He went back to the tree branch and disposed of the wiggler in about 3 quick gulps. I stepped outside to get a better view, since he didn’t want to step out from the leaves for his close-up, and he let me get a few quick snaps before he flew off into the sunset.

The other morning, I had more ground-bound visitors!


The blur at the bottom of the pic is the frame of my kitchen window. I was shooting almost straight down at the sidewalk directly outside the back of my house to get these cuties. Their mom saw me in the window and waved her wings at me, then just kept walking in closer, bringing her little ones up for a quick hello that day. I think they’ve been roosting under the deck at night.

Categories: Home, Wildlife | Tags: | 2 Comments


Every so often, I am reminded why I built my house exactly where I did. It’s so I can come home in the middle of the afternoon and see this just a few feet from my kitchen windows.



Those little guys sure are fuzzy this winter!

Categories: Home, Wildlife | Tags: , | 1 Comment

It’s Been a Week

A relatively rough one at that, and it’s time for the weekend to start. Nothing overly huge and devastating, when I look back at it, but each little thing just kept piling up until the break point was almost reached.

I’m now a one-hamster family. I know that the little critters don’t have a forever-long lifespan, but a year is a bit young for one to just up and drop without warning. She was running full-speed on the wheel one night with her sister, but then a day or two later, I realized that I hadn’t seen the two of them at the same time for a couple of days. I went to investigate and found what I didn’t want to know. So ThingOne is getting more petting and a few more treats, even if her little pea-sized brain doesn’t make the connection as to why.

It’s been a bad few days at work for everyone this week. There have been some communication breakdowns at work lately that are getting more and more egregious, and they’re to the point where people are going to start getting hurt, if they haven’t already. We’re too tight-staffed to be sloppy or to let things slide, so when things happen, feelings get bruised and are difficult to soothe (and they should be…we feel strongly for our patients and are willing to fight for them).

Doing what I do, there is no easy way to deal with bad news. Not for us (be it the doctors, the nurses, or others on the staff) and most definitely not for the families whose lives are turned upside down. Parents seem to know as soon as one of us walks into the room with bad news just what it is that we have to tell them. There’s something in the way we walk, the expression on our faces, or the way we hold ourselves in preparation for delivering news of this sort that alerts them to it. Sometimes the tears come before we can even get a word out and half of the discussion comes in trying to calm a parent enough to hear what it is that needs to be said. Other times, the parents refuse to hear the words, to listen, or to engage in the discussion at all. It’s as though their worries and fears have deafened them, made them unable to cope with the news, even for the sake of their child.

In some ways though, having a conversation with the parents of a child with a known chronic illness can be more difficult, especially if they’re not prepared for their child to have taken a sudden turn for the worse. Children are very resilient and can live with many debilitating illnesses for years without ever giving it a second thought, but at some point, they decompensate and end up in my treatment room in extremis. There comes a point where we have to ask how far a parent wants for us to go in resuscitating their child, and if they’ve never been asked that question before, it’s a shock. If, as for many families in our area, there is a religious concern with “life support”, it becomes an even bigger issue, especially when the question is raised emergently. It’s not a decision to be made lightly or under pressure, so I cannot think of a worse time and place to be trying to make it (especially if you haven’t ever been told to think about it before) than with a doctor standing there in front of you saying, “Your child is very sick, close to dying. If we have to put him on life support, to take over breathing for him with a machine, do you want us to do that?” And let me tell you…being that doctor, asking that question…to see the fear, the terror in the parents’ eyes as they realize what I’m asking, it kills a little part of me each time.

Sorta’ puts my hamster into perspective…but I think a little glass of whisky may be in order tonight.

Categories: Wildlife, Wonderings, Work | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Meet Fred

I met Fred late one night when I came in from my garage to the kitchen and saw something at one of the kitchen windows. I jumped a bit and about screamed because my kitchen windows are 2nd floor height from the ground… NO ONE should be looking in them, especially not at 0300 some dark morning.

Then I had to laugh at myself. It was Fred. Just hanging out in the middle of the window. Literally. Just hanging there.

This is what I saw when I walked in from the garage…

Then I walked out onto the deck and took another picture of him from outside looking in…

Since then, Fred has been hanging around a lot. He’s been seen on the deck a few times (and almost gotten stepped on more than once). He’s tried to come into the house when I left the door open for a minute too long once; I had to scoop him up and “encourage” him to hop down a few steps from the deck. And I caught him on the grill cover one day when I picked it up to recover the grill. He scared me then, too, when he came hopping out as I picked it up.

Apparently, Fred likes it on the deck. There’s bugs for him to eat, shade to keep him cool, and music to keep him entertained. But since he’s good company, he’s welcome to stay.

Categories: Uncategorized, Wildlife | Tags: | 2 Comments

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