Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Squirrel Rescue

On Sunday I got a frantic call from Josh that Carrots had brought a baby squirrel up onto the porch. After much drama, Josh got the squirrel down from the porch and onto a tree. We saw him up there at dusk that night, kind of flailing about, but he was too high up to do anything about, so we let him be.

Then, Monday morning, Parker had not closed the front door all the way (it was closed but not latched) and Carrots opened it and let himself out (he's getting too smart for his own good). Not ten minutes later he strolled into the kitchen and dropped the same poor little squirrel right at my feet. I threw Carrots in my room and grabbed a towel to pick up the squirrel in. To my surprise he ran to me and immediately snuggled into the towel, trying to get as close to me as possible. I put him in a box and started researching squirrels. I contacted as many squirrel rescues and wildlife refuges I could find in my area and waited to hear back from them. I also kept the kids away from him till I was sufficiently reassured that he did not in fact have rabies (squirrels never do) or the plague (hasn't been seen in years). A friend suggested we take him to a wildlife refuge near by, but we drove up there only to discover they were closed on Mondays. :( She gave me some supplies she uses when she is fostering newborn kittens so I could keep him hydrated till I found somewhere to take him.

He spent the rest of the day sleeping in his little towel nest. Around six that night we spotted an adult squirrel in the tree outside. Excited that it might be his mama, we put him in the lid of his box at the base of the tree and went inside where we could watch but the squirrel couldn't see us. The adult squirrel chattered and squacked at me while I was putting the baby down, so I was hopeful. But after forty five minutes and even after the baby climbed up the tree, the adult never got close to him and ran away. It was getting dark and he started to climb back down the tree, so I went to get him. He came to me right away and snuggled back into his towel. I gave him some pedialyte with an eyedropper and he went back to sleep. I finally heard back from Pacific Wildlife Project a rescue group in Laguna Niguel late last night. We waited for Fin to get home from school and then ran him over there and dropped him off. They were surprised he was a gray tree squirrel, we don't have a lot of them around here. He'll proabably be with the rescue for about another month and then they'll release him.

The kids have been playing "animal rescue" all afternoon

The kids and I have had some great conversations about why we can't keep wild animals, how its not fair to the animal and how they have to learn how to be wild, and live by themselves outside. They were bummed we couldn't keep him, but understood. It was neat for them to be able to see and touch him and hear his little squeaks and purrs. We've read a lot about squirrels and how they live. We're hoping the rescue group will keep us updated as they've promised and hope they'll let us know where they release him as well. Josh and the kids want them to release him back up here, so we can keep an eye on him. The kid's still talk about the baby hummingbird we rescued and every once in a while Parker will declare that she saw it. I'm sure the same thing will happen with the squirrel. I'm still a little sad we couldn't reunite him with his mama, and a part of me really wishes we could have rehabbed him ourselves, he was such a sweet little thing. I have to keep telling myself that he'll be happy and healthy and we did our best. :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Birthday Hike

Last Saturday was Josh's birthday. We had made a few plans put they all fell through (its tough to have a birthday Memorial Day weekend!) so Friday night we decided to take a hike in the morning. I'd read about Dripping Cave in Aliso Woods on a hiking blog and wanted to check it out. So we headed out a little after nine with Uncle Trevor and Nanny. It was a perfect day for a hike, a little overcast in the morning, but once that burned off it was just gorgeous.

Not ten minutes into our hike and a jogger lept off the dirt path that runs a long the paved path Parker, Nanny and I were on. We all jumped when he finally spat out, "SNAKE!" and shakily pointed to where he just was. Sure enough, there was a BIG rattlesnake sunning itself across the path. "I almost stepped on it!" Poor guy nearly had a heart attack. The snake couldn't have been less interested in us, he never so much as flicked his tail. The boys totally missed the whole thing, as they had gone on up ahead.
There's his rattle

And his head

And his body

1 mile!

Photo op at the man-made waterfall you can't see in this pic

Fin at the top of Cave Rock (I love this picture!)

Small cave in Cave Rock

Poison (hemlock) never looked so pretty (Parker took this one)

And this one ("I'm gonna take a picture of my shoes cause I want to remember them Mama.")

A fairy and a Nanny

Dripping Cave - It was used by stage coach robbers, you can still see the black from their campfires on the ceiling of the cave

2.5 miles! It was about 5 miles roundtrip

The kids got tired on the last leg back. Daddy improvised.

It didn't work out so well for Parker

Halfway through the hike a man walked by with a big doberman. Parker stood about a foot away from him, pointed right in his face and loudly asked, "WHY DOES THAT GUY HAVE HIS DOG???" The guy turned bright red and sheepishly muttered, "I'm sorry...I didn't know..." Parker read all the signs coming in, including the one that said NO DOGS.

We wrapped up our day with lunch at Rubio's and then dessert at Powell's Candy Shop, the best candy shop ever. Every single candy you could ever dream of is crammed in this place. Josh got some huge cherry monstrosity, Parker swedish fish, Fin a jawbreaker on a stick (jaw-li-pop) and after my first attempt to leave with Sugar Daddy's was scornfully dismissed by a certain mother-in-law I left with caramel bullseyes. And she was totally right about the Sugar Daddys. ;)