Rainy Day Visitors

I awoke to rumbles of thunder early this morning. My first thought was of a rug I had left outdoors on the back porch railing to dry in the sun the day before.  I dashed outside quickly, thinking I might manage to save the rug from getting soaked, but it was already too late. The dripping rug, wet walkways, and water puddles out in the yard made it evident that the rain had been falling throughout the night, and I had just slept right through it. As I stepped inside to check the weather radar online, I realized the thunder that awakened me was a warning of a severe storm that was now right on top of us! And , as I tried to rush our little house dogs outside to do their bathroom business quickly, I was, of course, again too late. The trees out front were swaying crazily, and big drops of rain were pelting down on the front lawn, and soon began to hammer down in sheets. Obviously, the dogs were going to have to wait. Moving to the back porch, I peered out into the dim morning light. What I observed was simply an experience of the senses – the sound of heavy rain, flashes of lightning, and claps of thunder. I drew in the lovely scent of rain and earth, while the mist off the rain whirled onto the back porch. Most people, I thought, (like my husband, FD) were still tucked in their beds and were missing this. What a shame!

It was more than an hour before I was able to let the dogs out. The skies were still overcast and the radar looked as if we might have the opportunity for more rain. I brewed a second cup of  coffee, while a sleepy-eyed FD emerged from the bedroom. Just as I passed by the back door on my way to the computer room, I noticed Daisy deer having a nibble down at the corn feeder! I quickly donned my rubber boots and scurried down the slope as fast as I could. It had been a long time since I had seen her, so I was relieved to see that she looked good. Most of her summer coat was completely shed, and her brown, winter coat was coming in sleek and soft. I did not find any parasites or wounds to pick at. For once, Daisy did not need my “mutual grooming” skills. Still, I petted her, even though she was very wet, and I scratched all around her face and ears, which she seemed to enjoy. But Daisy disappeared before I managed to fetch the camera. This was often the case with any wild animal. In just a few seconds, they could vanish.

After breakfast, I set out to iron FD’s clothes for the coming work week. Purposefully, I set my ironing board in front of the sliding glass doors that look out to the back porch and the woodland area below the slope behind our home. Many times, I spot wildlife down below while I am ironing, and this morning was no different. Only it happened that I knew the critter on the other side of the glass. It was Punkin, the orphaned female squirrel that we took in more than a year ago. Punkin had a habit of visiting (translated – “hanging out”) on rainy days, so I wasn’t too surprised to see her staring at me through the glass doors. Of course I knew it was not me she wanted to see. She was merely hoping one of the people would bring some pecans out for her.

Punkin Stares at me from her perch on the back porch.
Punkin Stares at me from her perch on the back porch.
A wet Punkin looks a tad cold, tucking in her front paws.
A wet Punkin looks a tad cold, tucking in her front paws.
FD and I come out the back door and Punkin comes running!
FD and I come out the back door and Punkin comes running!
Punkin runs to fetch her pecan. She's nearly too close for my zoom lens!
Punkin runs to fetch her pecan. She’s nearly too close for my zoom lens!
Punkin reaches for her pecan.
Punkin reaches for her pecan.
Punkin checks the pecan for cracks. If it is uncracked she will bury it for winter.
Punkin checks the pecan for cracks. If it is uncracked she will bury it for winter.
Punkin buries her pecan near yard deco by the big Elm tree.
Punkin buries her pecan near my yard deco by the big Elm tree.
This is a favorite lookout post for the squirrels. Punkin hears a squirrel chattering an alert in the woodlands.
This is a favorite lookout post for the squirrels. Punkin hears a squirrel chattering an alert in the woodlands.

Seeing Punkin, I grabbed the camera but it was impossible to get decent photographs of her as she zoomed around the porch, excited that someone had come to her beckoning. Though a bit exuberant at first, Punkin is gentle when she takes a pecan, but she’s just as wild as can be about her exit. She’s cautious and quick and, often able to vanish before I could catch up to her to photograph her burying her pecan. Several times I tried, but it was always as if she had gone into stealth mode and disappeared!

Of course the rain never manages to keep the hummingbirds away either. Most of our regular visitors have migrated, but there are still a few hummingbirds hitting the feeders. I took time to practice technique capturing them in flight, but it was to no avail. I did manage to get a couple of good shots here and there while my subject was perched in the Coral Honeysuckle.

This hummingbird wasn't too sure about my presence on the back porch, so it perched nearby and waited until I left to hone in on the nectar feeder.
This hummingbird wasn’t too sure about my presence on the back porch, so it perched nearby and waited until I left to hone in on the nectar feeder.

The skies were still overcast and a few sprinkles were falling when Buddy the squirrel showed up. Buddy and his sister Francesca were orphaned this spring when we cut down a “widow maker” tree near mom’s garden. Both Buddy and Francesca have been on their own since early July, with Francesca taking off to the woods almost immediately, while Buddy seemed to establish his own territory nearer our house. We did not see him every day, but he occasionally stopped by the back porch, or we might see him down with Daisy at the corn feeder, having a nibble of her dropped corn.

Before I could get my camera ready, Buddy grabbed his peanut and took off across the backyard to the nearby fence.
Before I could get my camera ready, Buddy grabbed his peanut and took off across the backyard to the nearby fence.
Buddy walks the wire fence to keep safe.
Buddy walks the wire fence to keep safe.
Buddy waited until he was sure it was clear, and darted down the bank and into the woodlands below... with his peanut!
Buddy waited until he was sure it was clear, and darted down the bank and into the woodlands below… with his peanut!

Having a visit from a few of our wild “kids” on a rainy day, reminds me of my childhood days. Being farm people, rain was almost always welcomed. Dad took advantage of those days, when the fields were too wet to work, for doing other chores. During these times, he managed house repairs or tinkered with mechanical problems on one of the tractors. But more times than not, the rain seemed to bring about a more kicked-back and relaxed atmosphere.  Sometimes we went to spend an afternoon with our grandparents, and often a neighbor would come over to chat, or some of my parent’s friends would stop by to shoot the breeze. Back then, rainy days seemed to bring out the best in folks. And just maybe it is the same with nature. For sure, Punkin and Buddy found it to be a good time to check on the old parents – and to see if they might score a few pecans (or peanuts) to stash away for winter!

How can I not give this girl a pecan?
How can I not give this girl a pecan?

© 2015 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…


39 thoughts on “Rainy Day Visitors

  1. Every time I see a hummingbird now, I think of you. And I’ve had one in my yard, feeding on the impatiens just outside my kitchen window. Fun to watch occasionally while doing dishes.

    I like your thoughts on rain. I think you’re spot on correct. There’s something about a rainy day that draws us all closer.

    What fun to see so many of your “wild friends” in a single day.

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    1. Hello Audrey! FD and I had been to Dallas for a week, and I was afraid when I got home the hummers would be gone for good as they’d drained the nectar feeders in our absence. I filled them as soon as we arrived, and finally, today I had a visitor! We are likely to see stragglers migrating through the rest of the month. As for those squirrels and Daisy, I’ll just bet we get more visits on inclement autumn and winter days to come! 🙂

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  2. A lovely post, as always, and fabulous squirrel photos. I need to get a feeder hung before the second wave of birds comes through. I hear they’re on their way — in north Texas now. Maybe I should head to the store right now!

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    1. Ha ha! I have not seen many birds at all lately. Just one hummingbird and a few sparrows this morning. The squirrels are busy in the pecan and oak trees now, gathering nuts and acorns for the winter. We are seeing varied species of butterflies, and lots of them!

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  3. Lori, as always I have so enjoyed reading your accounts of the orphans that you raised and your wonderful wording that makes the story so interesting, Those squirrels are indeed liitle scampers as they seem to flit here and yon. I love to see squirrels in my yard burying acorns and waching me as I imitate their chatter and alarm calls.

    We didn’t get much rain. not even an inch. The rains this fall have been scattered showers with no heavy downpour.

    I’m glad that you are seeing lots of butters. I’m just now beginning see a few Monarchs but there are lots of Queens and these species love the native frostweed that I grow for the butterflies. I’ve had very few butterflies all summer but did have a respectable amount of Gulf Fritillaries and Giant swallowtails.

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    1. Thank you, Yvonne. “Scampers” is a great word to describe squirrels! They’re the busiest little creatures and they seem to enjoy life so much! I still have a few hummers around, but the bird population overall has dwindled in the last weeks. Lots of butters of all sorts are seen in the flowerbeds around the house. Down in the canyon I see most of the monarchs migrating through. There aren’t so many as I’ve seen in the past, but certainly more than we saw in the last two years. Our cold weather must be just around the bend… nearly all species of wildlife we are seeing have their winter coats. Buddy and Punkin are very sleek and woolly as is Daisy deer and her little herd.

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    1. Thank you, Cecilia. I think sometimes just observing, and allowing our senses to soak in the moment is far better than trying to find words to describe it. I feel inept sometimes in describing with words… if only we could emote with feeling or extrasensory perception. That’s how it is for me holding or touching a wild animal… there’s just no describing it!

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  4. Hi Lori, It is interesting how different animals have their favourite treats – one squirrel prefers pecans and another peanuts. My dog, Katie, loves dried liver treats – they are her favourite!
    I was envious of your description of the heavy rain – it’s a while since we have had a similar experience here.

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    1. We were very fortunate this year, Margaret, after suffering four year’s of drought, May brought more than 20 inches of rain, and this autumn we are seeing scattered amounts of ample rain. Everything has been lush and green all summer. Yes, the critters are no different than we humans… we all have our desired “treats”!! 🙂

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  5. I think I’ve seen my last hummingbird up here in Ohio already. My feeder is still up but I haven’t seen anyone using it for a couple weeks. I miss those little dudes!

    Nice new header arrangement on the blog. It feels fresh and clean. I need to update mine too….

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    1. Hello Kim. I still have about three hummers hitting the feeders. I’m sure they won’t be around long though. I’m not seeing many birds at all except crows and the usual sparrows. Soon the Northern Flickers will show and I’ll know winter has arrived for sure!

      I changed themes a while back. It’s been a good bit of work getting everything set up correctly, but worth it I think. I needed a bit of organization! 😀

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  6. Lori, it’s funny that you wrote about how farm folks view rainy days as I was just looking through some old photos with the idea of sharing old pics of my children’s farm life on my blog and remembered the celebrations when rain ended prolonged drought. The kids would run out into the rain and there was a holiday kind of atmosphere. I’m not much of a cook but when it rained I felt the urge to bake and fill the house with delicious smells. I guess the rain cooled the day down enough to actually make kitchen work pleasant. Like you I usually like the smell, sights and sounds of rain. Thank you for another beautifully written tale from the farm. It was delightful to read of the various “kids” return and see the adorable pics of the squirrels. You are such a talented storyteller. 🙂

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    1. Oh thank you, Jane. The critters around here help me spin the stories… makes it evident what the message is or what needs to be said. There is something very special and refreshing about rain, whatever time of year it comes. It’s cleansing, and comforting in a way. I too love to cook and bake, opening the house up to allow the mingle of food and rain and earth. Apparently the squirrel kids enjoy sponging nuts off the folks on these lazy days. Everyone likes a comfort snack on a rainy day! 🙂

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  7. I loved reading this! Took me back to decades ago when we actually worked in a real garden and a small farm. We have here some kind of a garden and we try and make the most of it – but are constrained by the weather – which is either hot, or very hot!

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    1. Mandeep, at least you have some great memories of childhood where you had the experience of small farm life and being outdoors a good bit! I don’t envy you your hot weather – my goodness how does anyone raise anything in that climate?!! 😀

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  8. We have a coral honeysuckle down in the jungle part of the garden. Rain is always a good thing after a long dry summer. It eases nature back into the right mood to tackle winter. Those images of Punkin are priceless, especially her burying that nut. Hilarious! 😉

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    1. Thank you, Fran! Punkin has been a delight to watch grow up. I am glad she has not come up pregnant yet, and seems to be enjoying her youth! We can always count on her to visit on rainy days. I love these autumn rains… so lovely after a hot summer. 🙂

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      1. I think we are just about to hit that hot summer! Not looking forward to it one little bit but doing what we can to shore up the garden ready for hard times to come. I guess the capsicums, eggplants, chilli’s and tomatoes (and okra) are going to love it though so you just have to look for the bright side don’t you? 😉

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        1. Indeed! One needs to keep focused on the bright and be open to what anything else has to offer! Your place looks amazing. I think I’d be overwhelmed with a daily “to do” list though. I’m glad you always find time to enjoy yourself too! 🙂

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          1. Just about to post another post today that is comprised of 38 photos that we shot over the course of the week. We are flat out studying and pumping out the most BORING stuff known to man. No love lost between me and what I am studying BUT that makes everything I am doing outside of studies appear to be SO much better so it isn’t time wasted, just time spent learning to appreciate how good it is when I stop 😉

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          2. My but you are on a positive vibe this morning… get outside and enjoy life! I’ll be glad when your studies are over – I know it’s all good and I’m happy you can manage to veer away from it for a while to bask in the goodness of everything around you! 🙂

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          3. I can’t wait either Lori. This has been a hard year mentally for me. I have had to learn forty-eleven new programs (when I struggle to turn the television on unassisted) and some pretty complex coding BUT there is light at the end of the tunnel. We are 6 weeks away from the end…YIPEEE! 😉

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          4. I admire you! I’m too lazy to put forth the effort, plus it’s flat overwhelming to me! I hope your efforts serve you well in future endeavors. Six weeks isn’t all that long, and you’ll be so glad you stuck with it. 🙂

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          5. By the way, it’s Daylight savings induced mania. I am up an hour earlier than I was yesterday so my 2am start probably has my brain thinking that this is all a dream 😉

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          6. Ha ha! I wish they wouldn’t do the daylight savings bit. It takes me time to adjust – even not having a job or schedule. Why do humans always feel the need to tinker and tweak nature and come up with these silly ideas?

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          7. I have NO idea. I read about people saying “Daylight savings is going to give me an extra hour in my day” er…nope. That would be nature giving you the extra hour, you just need someone to remind you that the days are a bit longer ;).

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          8. I always think maybe it is US who need to see that perhaps we need more sleep and rest this time of year. We’re always trying to squeak more work out in a day. Maybe more darkness or more light is what we need to balance things out. What is wrong with taking care of self and seeing to it that we have more down time and family time? Daylight savings is just a silly psychological trick if you ask me, and I’m not falling for it! 😀

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          9. The only time you have to adhere to it is if you are (like us) going to school or work where your 9 – 5 is suddenly 8 – 4. At least my body decided that it was going to be happy getting up at 2am (now 3) this morning 😉

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  9. Hi Lori, lovely post about rainy days and your squirrel kids. I love the rain too, the smell of wet earth, the sound inside and out. I’ve been known to dance in the rain on warmer days 🙂 . Hope you’re well. I’ll be publishing my new website soon.

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    1. Hello Henrietta! Let me know when you have everything ready on your new website. I guess you will be self-hosting? I know so little about all of that. I’ll be curious to see what you’ve developed!

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    1. Thank you, Sandy. Even though I don’t always get the sharpest images, they still show how busy these little squirrels can be. I’m happy they still stop by on occasion… especially these slow and easy rainy days. 🙂

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  10. I agree with Cecelia’s comment, so enjoy watching the critters through your eyes! We’ve been away and I’m slowly catching up to the blog posts I’ve missed. I love rainy days–as long as there aren’t too many in a row. It’s such a nice time to change the routine and relax a bit. Thanks Lori!

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    1. Oh, thank you so much Ardys. FD and I have been traveling a good bit too lately, so tonight is the first night in a week I’ve had to catch up on blog comments. Your travel has been much more extensive than mine. It almost takes several days to a week to recuperate from a trip, doesn’t it? 🙂

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