Sunday, September 9, 2012

I almost feel guilty . . .

Yes, this has been the hottest summer ever in New England, according to the National Weather Service. But it actually hasn't been unpleasant. We got the record by being consistently a little bit above average, with high temperatures in the high 80s and low 90s. We had only a few days of oppressive heat and humidity, and here in the Shetucket River valley, the nights always get cool. We had a drought in late winter-early spring, but once it broke, we've had plenty of rain.

So while most of the country has suffered from a killer drought, our corn fields are spectacular, a farmer's dream. I've had to mow my substantial clearing at least twice a month, and the wildlife is flourishing.

Which brings me to a seriously nutty squirrel. The other day I stepped out on my front porch and there, in the very highest twigs of a giant oak tree, was a squirrel jumping frantically among the foliage, chattering so loudly that from 80 feet away and 45 feet in the air the sound was uncomfortable to hear, and punctuating the chattering every 12 seconds or so with two or three piercing squeals. It appeared to be grabbing acorns as it performed. It kept this up for at least 3 minutes. I could see it very clearly because the foliage up there is thin and it was highlighted against the sky.  I went inside to get my camera and, of course, by the time I came back out it was gone.

After a while you think you've gotten to know most of the critters and how they behave, but they still surprise you. Why was this squirrel yelling at the world as it tore up the highest summit of the forest? I have not a clue.

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