Saint Francis and the … Chipmunk?

If you’re a saint, somewhere someone’s made a statue of you. If you’re Saint Francis, there are a whole lot of statues of you, mostly in gardens, often holding a bowl that gets filled with bird seed. We have an older statue of St. Frank given to us by relatives that was truly lovely in its youth. Sadly, it hasn’t weathered well, probably due to the harsh climate extremes we have here. Currently, its nestled next to an ancient heritage rose bush amidst some daylilies and we like it there.

Apparently, we aren’t the only ones who enjoy St. Frank’s presence. This summer a rather bold chipmunk (is there any other type?) has taken to roosting on St. Frank’s head. Every time I see it there, it makes me laugh. I think it’s because something about it strikes me as a mashup of Chip and Dale with a Disney Davy Crockett Coonskin Cap. Remember those Coonskin caps?

Behold: The St. Frank Chipmunk Cap. In “living” color.

St Frank Chipmunk Hat!

St Frank Chipmunk Hat!

Chippie: R.I.P.

Chippie

Dear Neighbor,

Today, when you were busily squirting (what I presume was) weedkiller around your yard to kill off little stands of Public Enemy Number One (to the uninitiated, that would be “dandelions”), you also nailed a chipmunk.

It had been bouncing about, as chipmunks do, scurrying back and forth across the street all day.

After it ran right across the area you had just sprayed, it managed to stagger back across the street, had massive convulsions and died (after suffering horribly) a few moments later in our yard.

Yes, there are lots of chipmunks in this world. What’s one chipmunk?

Well, let’s see, it’s a mammal — like us humans — and reacts to poisons the way we do, and that should raise at least a little warning bell, don’t ya think?

I do.

Tonight, I for one am massively pissed off at everyone who feels that it’s fine to poison their yard “because it doesn’t harm anyone” and who says, regarding the use of pesticides, that “it’s my property so I can do what I want.”

Tell that to all the chemically injured who are harmed by the pesticides and other chemicals used around them. Tell that to the Gulf War vets, who were poisoned by pesticides. Tell that to all the women who have suffered breast cancer and second-hand infertility from pesticides (as well as from other chemical exposures). Tell that to the mutated amphibians, the reptiles and mammals, the birds and what seems like just about everything living that’s negatively impacted on one level or another by these chemicals–even if they aren’t killed outright.

Tell that to the chipmunk.

Oh, wait. You can’t. It’s dead.

Awwwwwwwwwwww!

This morning, as I peered out the window, I noticed that one of the asiatic lilies had a rather odd top to it. Sort of… fuzzy. And stripey.

Then I started laughing. It was a young chipmunk, so small that it could perch on the top of the plant to survey the yard.

He is soooooooo cute! Yeah, I know, he won’t be cute two months from now when he’s mowing down my cherry tomatoes, but still…

I’ve dubbed him “Half-Pint.”

Chippie!

There’s hope for our snow disappearing! We are having record highs all of a sudden to replace our record lows – and this morning a chipmunk surfaced from hibernation, busily snatching anything remotely edible it could find in our yard.

It’s a very odd blend of seasons, as we can still hear the great horned owls hooting every night, something we usually only hear in the depths of winter. One of the owls has been calling from a perch atop the birch in our front yard, which means that late at night we can hear him (her?) from inside the cozy warmth of the front rooms of our house. Gotta love it.

The songbirds are migrating back in, too. I heard a robin last week, and yesterday and today small flocks of red winged blackbirds have been landing in the trees, before moving on.

We will, of course, have more snow – this is Wisconsin after all – but for today, at least, as my favorite childhood cartoon character, Pogo, would say, “Spring is sprung!”

Got ‘Im!

Yellow Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly fanning wings

Ha! Finally got a photo of one of the yellow Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterflies!

I’m loving all the butterflies we’re seeing this year, thanks to the new butterfly bushes.

We have some new residents in the yard, too. They’re half-pint sized baby chipmunks. They’re living with Momma Chippie in a burrow she’s created underneath my raised garden that has irises and three big cherry tomato plants.

They are incredibly cute! I’ve alway thought chipmunks were cute, but BABY chipmunks – OMG! They’re adorable!

However.

As I was watching the baby chippies last weekend, one of them hopped up and sat on the side of the raised bed to munch on something. Adorable! Cute! What a show! Awwww! And what is that its eating? It’s a little big for a berry and its bright red and…

YOU LITTLE STRIPED RAT! YOU’RE EATING MY RIPE CHERRY TOMATOES!

Obviously, Momma Chipmunk picked the spot for her burrow because of its prime location – right next to the tomato grocery store.

Since the weekend, the baby chippies have eaten every single tomato the moment it’s ripened. For the rest of the summer, I’m obviously going to have to pick my tomatoes a trifle on the green side, and let them ripen inside if we want to eat any of MY tomatoes.

Humpfh!