Wednesday, September 18, 2013
On the second day of school this year, the children came running to me saying, "Come quick! The kindergarteners found a baby squirrel by the sandbox!" I went to the sandbox to find a little circle of children looking at a baby red squirrel, who had apparently fallen out of a tree, curled up at the edge of the sandbox. I love these children because they were all respectful enough to just look at it, and to let an adult know that it was there.
It was obvious that this baby would not be able to survive on its own, and the children were very worried about it. They were also concerned because a stray kitten was roaming the school yard, and the little squirrel was so defenseless. A couple of my responsible children offered to keep watch for the kitten, and help other children stay far enough away from the squirrel that its mother might be able to find it, while I went in to call the vet to find out what to do with the baby. Other teachers, alerted to the situation, were having children come away from the squirrel.
The vet gave me the phone number of a woman who does small animal rescue, as well as the number for the nature center. I left a message with Lynn at the small animal rescue, and called the nature center. The woman at the nature center said to keep it warm because the mother would not find the baby if its body temperature dropped. A couple of children filled a quart ziplock bag with hot water. With gloves on, I lifted the baby squirrel and the children put the improvised hot water bottle under the tree that the baby must have fallen out of and covered the bag with a dishcloth. I placed the baby on its little hot water bed, and it curled up contentedly and fell asleep.
We had an hour left of school, and a kitten roaming loose somewhere, so two children offered to do their work outside so they could watch over the squirrel from a distance while they did their work. We all hoped his mother would come for him. I wasn't too hopeful that his mother would appear during the school day, and she didn't. After school, I called the nature center back because I did not want to stay there waiting for the mom to arrive and I was concerned about predators. They suggested finding a way to suspend the baby and bed from a tree. In the trunk of my car I had a little insulated bag I used for keeping food cool coming home from the groceries store. I put a new hot water bag in the bottom of the bag, covered it with a fresh dishtowel, put the baby in it, put a nail in the tree, and suspended it as high as I possibly could.
When I got home, I got a call from Lynn at the small animal rescue. She said she didn't know why the nature center would say the mother would come to get it, it was already too big for the mother to carry if its eyes were open. She was concerned about dehydration, as was I, and said to bring it right over. So back to the school and off on an 8 mile drive to bring the baby to the small animal rescue I went. Honestly, the baby did not look good. He was very lethargic and I was afraid he would die before I got him there.
When I arrived, Lynn had a syringe filled with pedialite and a long nipple ready for him. Poor baby was almost too weak to drink, but once he did, he perked up. He grabbed onto the nipple and drank and drank!
She thought the baby would be okay, and lucky for him, she had several other baby red squirrels about his age, so he even had nest mates.
The next day, the children wrote thank you cards to Lynn, and we are hoping that we can release him back to the tree where he fell from when he is old enough to be released back to the wild.
Another tale with a happy ending.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
The children in my class have been wanting a class pet and decided on a mouse. So I decided to stop at Jack's on the way to pick up my baby parrotlet on Saturday afternoon, bought a darling mouse and some mouse paraphernalia. I brought along a small wire cage to bring it back in and to keep it comfy on the trip. I picked up the baby, the kind of food he's been eating and a little happy hut, buckled his travel cage into the front seat belt and headed home. Just as I was approaching Xenia, what comes running into the front of the car??? The mouse! I pulled over to try to catch him, but he was too fast.
There was nothing to do but continue home and try to catch him when I could really park and concentrate on his capture. He came out twice, but each time was able to elude me right as I was about to put my hand around him.
I decided to try to enlist the help of Stella, hoping that if she was in the front seat, the mouse would decide the floor by the back seat would be a safer place to be. Stella was all too anxious to help. Poodles are hunting dogs and she has a pretty high prey drive. She saw the mouse and dodged into the car, but the mouse went into deeper hiding. Understandably.
I sent the cat in to see if she could roust the mouse, hoping to snatch the mouse from the cat or catch it when it ran from her, but all Luna did was cry pitifully out the window. There was no way she was going to even think about a mouse when she was certain she was going to suffer death-by-car. When I opened the door to get her out, she ran and hid under the house.
So I had a frustrated hunting dog, a crazed cat under the house, and a mouse loose in the car. I felt a bit like the Old Lady Who Swallowed the Fly. I decided it was time to set a humane trap. A mouse in a car is NOT a good thing and I did not want the mouse to ruin my car by either gnawing on things or peeing all over it. I put a tall, slick sided container in there now with some cookies and cheese and a ramp with cookie crumbs leading up to it. No luck. I kept checking discretely, but no sign of a mouse.
So I had my homemade Rube Goldberg style trap, fought traffic jams and downtown crowds to get to the hardware store (there turned out to be a festival going on), purchased a 'Tin Cat' at said hardware store, bought peanut butter at Dollar General, baited the traps, and all for.... a mouse that I went out of my way to get and who had probably already left the car.
On Monday, as I was unpacking the car at work, I was ready to tell the children that I had mouse food, mouse littler, a mouse water bottle, and mouse chew toys, but no mouse. As I unpacked the mouse litter, there was his little self all curled up and innocent looking, in one of my cloth shopping bags. I caught him in a little washcloth I had for that purpose in case he showed up again, and put him in his new, much more secure home. Fortunately, he chose to nest on a shopping bag which can be washed, and that was on a waterproof Carhartt dog protective seat cover. No damage was done to car or mouse. He was certainly happy to get food and water after his two day, two night ordeal!
The children are delighted to have him in class. They are thinking of names for him. After hearing his story, on child suggested naming him Trouble, and because of his eye patch, some are thinking of pirate names. All weekend, I called him PITA (Pain In The Arse), but that isnít an appropriate name to throw into the mix.
As they say, all's well that ends well.
Saturday, September 14, 2013
I have been being crazy busy, and had a wonderful summer before starting back to work. So far, it's been a wonderful start to the school year as well. There have been many eventful things going on, and I keep meaning to post about them, but then I don't get organized enough to post.
Today's sweet event was finally being able to bring my baby parrotlet home. He finally graduated to eating on his own, so he could leave the nursery and move to his new home.
Here he is at home, in his little travel home. It's about the size of his cage at the nursery, so I am planning to keep him in it for a few days while he adjusts to his new home. He seems quite content.
Parrotlets are great little parrots, and he is no exception to that rule. I love how brave and self assured he is, and how people oriented he already is. I had his cage buckled into the front seat seatbelt on our way home. He seemed totally undisturbed to be riding in the car and moved over to the side of his travel cage closest to me so he could chat with me. Love this little fellow!
So far, Stella is interested in his being here, but also calm about it. I think they will adjust well to each other.
I think I'm going to have to post in a backward timeline to catch up on my blogs.
Thursday, August 08, 2013
I had been slacking and not getting enough exercise in the winter of 2011. I was allowing the winter weather to prevent me from driving the 8 miles to the gym on any regular schedule, resulting in extra weight and flabbiness. I decided to give myself a Christmas present and invest in a Fitbit that, while pricey, had a lot of features I like including online tracking. So in January, 2012, I started my wearing my Fitbit and tracking my walking program. At first, it was a challenge just to get in 5,000 steps, but I gradually built up to 10,000. I made a goal for myself to work up to walking between 4 and 6 miles per day. I wanted a flexible goal because, in reality, it is hard to make that goal each and every day ~ and I tend to feel failure when I don't meet my goals. I wanted success.
This week, I got a notification from Fitbit that between then and now I have walked 3,000 miles. Wow! That feels like an enormous accomplishment. I have had the pleasure of having some wonderful places to walk in the past year and I am celebrating by posting a photo journal of some of my walking highlights since I got my Fitbit.
Our local nature reserve
A nearby state park
My back yard
My friend's back yard
Outdoor Education Camp
Around my school
Various gardens; this one is Schuermier Gardens
The Great Wall of China
The Chengdu Panda Preserve
The Temple of Heaven
The Ancient City Wall of Xi'an
Reed Flute Cave
This was a very steep climb on a very hot day. We racked up 150 flights of stairs on this day, according to my personal trainer, Monsieur Le Fitbit.
Botanical Gardens of Golden Gate Park
Muir Woods National Park
The Pacific Ocean
I have enjoyed sharing these walks with my sister and niece, my son and daughter-in-law, my students, and of course with my faithful poodle companion, Stella.
It's all about the journey! Walking is a most enjoyable way to stay fit. If you have not yet tried it, it is not too late to start. You can start slow and build up stamina. It is a joy to experience the world at walk speed; so often we are too busy going warp-speed to really savor what is around us.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Can you see mama robin up in her nest? She is nesting on the path through the woods where I walk Stella.
It is great to have the warmer weather! Our walks have been so much more pleasant, not having to bundle up and deal with a bitter chill. The spring is at such a lovely juncture right now. The flowering trees are budding out, some are blooming. The forsythia, tulips, and daffodils are looking so bright and cheerful, and new wildflowers are in abundance in the woods. The fields are green instead of brown. The birds are singing love songs. One of my favorite times of year.
I figured out why my fitbit nutrition tracker was posting everything double. Apparently, it automatically synchs with my SP nutrition tracker without my doing anything other than recording what I ate on my SP nutrition page. I had been using the Synch With Fitbit button on the nutrition page, thinking I had to do that. The end result was that my foods were counted twice and I had to erase all of the duplicates. It's great to know that all I have to do is record my food on SP and it is automatically in both locations! I love the way SP and FB interface now.
It has been really good to get back to tracking. I see that I have not been getting enough magnesium, calcium, and potassium, so I have been making adjustments in my diet to make certain I have included enough foods rich in those ingredients. I am also trying to better balance my carb/protein/fat ratio. As I mentioned in my last blog, I eat quite a bit of healthy fat in the form of nuts, avocados, olive oil, etc. While I try not to overdo on them, I will likely eat more fat than is recommended on the tracker.
This is my 5th day with no sugar, honey, syrup.... you know, those added sweeteners. Any sugars I am getting are from fruit and veggies. Decreasing inflammatory foods, and increasing anti-inflammatory foods has already made a difference in how my hands are feeling. The swelling is down and they are a lot less painful. That was a main goal. In addition, I have lost one pound in those five days ~ a nice side benefit.
So far, very pleased with my progress!
Aren't those robin's eggs beautiful?
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