Monday, August 22, 2011

Baby Squirrels and More

Cuddly, Jake's foster baby

On Saturday Mom was babysitting Sophie and Jake’s foster squirrels, Mable and Cuddly, so Rob and I stopped by to visit them. The babies were so cute. Their eyes are open now, and they are such good eaters; I think it’s adorable the way they grip their syringes of milk just the way a human baby would hold a bottle. Rob fed Mable, and when she was done eating she tunneled under his shirt and hid under his arm. Rob was laughing and saying, “She’s going under my shirt! She’s tickling me!”

As we fed and held the babies, Mom told us stories about volunteering at St. Francis Wildlife Association, the wildlife rehabilitation center where she got Mable and Cuddly. Mom goes out there sometimes and feeds the injured and orphaned animals and cleans their cages. “Last time I went, they had this beautiful little deer,” Mom said. “Just unbelievably tiny, the size of a Chihuahua maybe. And baby possums that were just as cute as can be. There were hundreds of squirrels; there must have been 500, so I didn’t really feel like I was helping much just taking two. But that was all they gave me.”

Sophie and Jake will have the squirrels for about seven weeks, and then they’ll have to bring them back to St. Francis, where they’ll be released again into the wild.

Mable. She's so advanced, she can practically feed herself.

Mable again. Hasn't Sophie done a marvelous job with her?

After we visited Mable and Cuddly (and Mom), Rob and I went out to lunch at Sweet Peas, a new vegan restaurant on Tharpe Street. I had a black bean burger, and Rob got the tempeh reuben, and we both had fries and fancy root beers.

We got some great cat news on Saturday. In the morning we took Maggie to the vet, and Dr. Beth gave her a clean bill of health. After a month of rest and medication, Maggie was finally able to rejoin her friends in the completely tame “feral colony” that lives in our yard. Maggie was so happy; she’d been bored and lonely. When we let her out of the Little House, where she’d been recuperating, she and Babs, her best friend, ran to meet each other, and they sniffed each other all over.

“Ah,” Rob said, watching, “now that’s the equivalent of a hug if anything is. That’s as close as you can get to a hug in the cat world.”

And pretty soon Maggie was leading Babs and a whole parade of cats through the grass and around the barn, past the Turk’s caps and tomatoes. Maggie always was the leader of her little band of friends. On Saturday we kept checking on her, spying on her, to see that she was doing all right. She spent a long time in the meadow, just smelling everything, as Clark and Greg, her two grown sons, followed. Clark and Greg are totally devoted to and dependent on Maggie, because, as Rob says lovingly, “they are total wussbags.”

Sweet Babs. I couldn't get a picture of Maggie because she's scared of my camera.

And now to change the subject without any sort of smooth transition: Yesterday Kris told me the cutest story about Jake. Last week, you see, they went to Blue Springs in Madison, and Jake “saved Kris’s life” by pulling her out of the rapids. Or so he says.

“Did he really?” I asked her.

“Actually, he pushed me into the rocks,” Kris said, smiling and rolling her eyes.

Apparently Jake keeps bringing up his act of bravery, fishing for compliments. “Mommy, are you glad I saved your life?” he’ll ask. “Are you glad that I’m a gentleman?”

On Thursday night, Kris, Jake, Sophie, and I went to see Dad’s band, the Thursday Night Music Club, play at FSU’s Opperman Hall. It was a great show, but I don’t know how much of it Sophie actually got to see. She was sitting next to me turning pages of the concert brochure into origami cows and hats and such. She made a little origami frog that could actually hop off the arm of my seat and into my lap. Then she asked her mother for a pen, and she drew a fancy watch on her wrist and did Mad Libs in her brochure by crossing out certain key words and replacing them with words like “fart” and “butt.”

She also wrote notes, which she passed to me. One said, “Remember last year, how the singer wore that sparkly necklace?”

Sophie drew a bug on her hand, and several other adornments. She was so busy, and covered in ink.

After the show, Kris said, “Next time you ask me if I’ve got a pen, I’m going to say no.”

Sophie, Kris, Jake, and I walked to the car in the warm, humid darkness. I said something about “my parents” and Jake looked at me and said in a conversational tone, clucking his tongue, “Now who are your parents again?” He was strolling along with his hands in his pockets, just making a little casual, friendly conversation.

“Um,” I smiled, “Granddaddy and Hum . . .”

“Oh, yeah,” he said good-naturedly, “I forgot.”

This has nothing to do with anything I've written; it's just a little decoration on the Vine House.

Another view

Matt's Wild Cherry tomatoes, such a familiar sight this summer

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