Olive with that
Saturday October 03rd 2009, 7:09 pm
Filed under: Wildlife

The last two years, we did a sideways migration and flew East for the fall, just enough of a pattern to make me wistful lately.  It’s been a long year and a good one for taking it easy, but I’ve missed my annual trek home.

I think the towhees (great pictures there, although the first two are darker than what we get) sum it up nicely for the season: Eastern towhees are splotches of bright colors. Californian towhees, however, are the ultimate drab brown bird, a little plump, their wings a little droopy, with no more color than a dry October hillside being watched cautiously by the fire stations before the rainy season starts up.

Autumn just doesn’t quite have the same visual punch of leaves turning across the hillsides en masse here.

And yet.  Where else on earth would I get to watch a small baby black squirrel trying to bury his cache for the winter in the ground–and it’s an olive?

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That made me smile :-}
I did miss Michigan springs and autumns when I lived a bit north of you, in Yolo. But now I kind of miss the golden autumn hills near Dundee, they reminded me of sleeping lions.

Comment by Diana Troldahl 10.03.09 @ 7:35 pm

As a native born Californian, I cannot really appreciate the changes of season in the east. Amalie and I did take a fall colors tour once, and it was gorgeous.

But that reminds me of the joke I used to tell my accounting students the first session of class. It had nothing to do with accounting — just meant to break the ice:

A couple had flown east and rented a car with the express purpose of driving along the backroads and enjoying the fall colors. Well, one day they got lost, and the husband, who was driving, decided to find someone and ask directions. He spotted a farmer plowing his field near the road, so the driver stopped, hailed the farmer, and asked directions to the next town. The farmer obliged with specific instructions.

The driver, not wanting to appear rude, decided to engage the farmer in a bit of conversation. “Say, this is a nice farm you have here.”


“How big is it?”

“Waal, it goes from the house up there on th’ridge”, drawled the farmer, “on down’t the river over yonder, then up where ya can see that big stand o’trees, then back t’ the ridge, an’ back t’ward th’ house.”

“That’s pretty impressive,” said the driver. “Ya know, where I come from down in Texas, I can get in my car before the sun comes up, and start driving west, and still be on my property when the sun goes down!”

“Yup,” said the farmer. “I had a car like that once.”

Comment by Don Meyer 10.03.09 @ 9:39 pm

My parents are driving east on a 3.5 week tour of the east coast – they’re in Michigan right now, meeting with friends, heading to Toronto before going through Maine and down to North Carolina and back through the Southern states. I’m envious that they get to see the fall color. One of these days I’ll get to head out there at the right time.

Comment by Kathy in San Jose 10.03.09 @ 11:22 pm

I remember, for the few years we lived in South Carolina, missing the colors of an Ohio fall…but there were other things to love there, like Trick-or-Treating in your actual costume…without a heavy winter coat worn over (or underneath!) said costume! It’s funny, every place has it’s high points, if you look hard enough…like black, baby squirrels with funny things to stash…thanks for sharing with us!

Comment by Pam 10.04.09 @ 3:14 am

If we have any nice leaves to record, I shall take photos and blog. You did miss a perfect little fiber festival at Montpelier yesterday. It was foggy and cool in the morning, but by the time I got there after noon, it was pleasant in short sleeves. I thought of you and your father and spudnuts as I enjoyed my organic apple cider donut!

Comment by Channon 10.04.09 @ 6:35 am

Yes’m, we’s got the birds and yes’m, we’s got the trees, and we’s got the autumn and yes’m we’s got the leaves….to rake and rake and rake. 😉
Will send pictures!

We are deprived of black squirrels, oranges and lemons. Love the ones you’re with, I say!

Comment by Toni Smoky-Mountains 10.04.09 @ 9:19 am

Did you see the Newsweek article on leaf peepers? Maybe it’s only online. “The misery of raking cannot be exaggerated. Imagine standing for hours in the sun…” and I thought, yah, imagine in the RAIN! I do miss big bright dry leaves when I have to rake the tiny wet ones, but it’s a small price to pay being able to live next to a glorious forest park, even if it only turns yellow and copper and not baywatch orange and scarlet. We gots us some squirrels but they bury beech nuts (no chance at olives!) LIke Toni says above, tryin’ to love the ones I’m with!

Comment by LynnM 10.04.09 @ 9:38 am

We got to drive up the Snake River canyon to Jackson Hole a couple weeks ago. It was really a treat to see the red maples and the yellow quaking aspen among the evergreens. Our boss stopped 3 times to takes pictures.

Comment by sherry in idaho 10.04.09 @ 12:09 pm

The CA towhees are indeed a little drab bird but they’re funny little things. In the wildlife rehab, when the babies are still in the hand-feeding stage, they do this little ritual before gaping for food. You have to wait patiently, with food ready to deliver, until the dance stops and the mouth opens. Head bobs, feet bounce back/forth, cheep, cheep (pause) cheep, cheep.

House finches, scrub jays, mockingbirds – they all are eager to eat. But the plain little towhee dances for his dinner first.

Comment by Deb 10.04.09 @ 12:14 pm

You are “blooming where you are planted”. You are remembering autumn and its beautiful color. Remembering the snow will take care of your wistfulness :>)

Comment by Joansie 10.04.09 @ 4:17 pm

We live at the coast now, so we don’t see as much color change as we did. However we go back to the peidmont region almost every month so we will still get to see some. You made me smile at the mental picture of the little fluffy squirrel with his treasure 🙂

Comment by TripletMom 10.04.09 @ 4:29 pm

You are a glowing example for how to make the best out of any situation…

I know what homesickness is. I am not getting to see my family at all this year. I have to watch myself around the holidays this year.

However!! I got to be at the Vermont Sheep and woolfest all weekend and got to see some amazing foliage. Tomorrow I will upload pictures, hoping at least some of them came out, and I will send you some.

Comment by karin maag-tanchak 10.04.09 @ 8:13 pm

Around here it’s filberts. The squirrels bury them in our yard and then the Stellar Jays come and dig them up and steal them!

Comment by Marlene 10.04.09 @ 9:34 pm

I also love the image of the baby trying to bury the olive.

Comment by Margo Lynn 10.05.09 @ 3:28 am

As long as they don’t start coming back to the hidding place with Martinis… lol

Enjoy the specialties Mother Nature has kept for your neck of the woods. 🙂

Comment by Suzanne in Mtl 10.05.09 @ 6:02 am

We drove about 50 miles north for an apple festival over the weekend. The trees are just starting to turn here…those that had turned were gorgeous. Gave us a sampling of what’s to come. I love fall…it’s the snowy winter that follows that I’m not so crazy about. But I think I’d miss it.

We seem to see more birds migrating north in the spring than heading south now. The varieties are just amazing. Some seem to stay a couple days & if we’re not at the window watching, who knows what kinds we’re missing.

Comment by Cathy 10.05.09 @ 1:34 pm

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