Gray squirrel with walnut

The neighborhood squirrels are busy these days stockpiling walnuts, acorns, and any other nuts they can find for their winter caches, while I’m busy with paper-piles and planning for the next online semester. These days, I have more blog ideas than I have hours to actually blog, so I squirrel those ideas away for later: a day (eventually) when the hours are long and my inspiration short.

Furry neighbor

Two oaks, six squirrels: such a tangled scurry of lithe bodies leaping and chasing, their muscular acrobatics a fluid, furry blur.

This is my Day Eleven submission to a river of stones, a month-long challenge to notice (and record) just one thing every day. I’ll be posting my “stones” both here and on Twitter, where submissions are tagged as #aros. Enjoy!

Hawk overhead

A squirrel freezes, silent as shadow, his tail a coiled question. Overhead, the answer, red-tailed and rapacious, soars on brown wings.

This is my Day One submission to a river of stones, a month-long challenge to notice (and record) just one thing every day. I’ll be posting my “stones” both here and on Twitter, where submissions are tagged as #aros.

Care to join us at any time during the month of January? Click here for more information. Enjoy!

Apartment for rent...with squirrel

Apparently the apartment complex across from the Waban T-station has units for rent. I can’t quite tell if this squirrel is a prospective tenant or just a nosy neighbor.

Fallen apples

It’s a question I’ve pondered previously. In a season when summer abundance is cast off and lies in heaping piles underfoot, shouldn’t we feel bad to see such fecundity go to waste?


Not far from the Keene State College dining commons, there is an apple tree that is currently boasting a bumper crop of fruit. Bushels of apples cluster on limbs high overhead, and buckets of apples cover the ground and sidewalks underneath the tree: some entire, and others crushed. Although I’ve occasionally seen students eating apples while they walk on campus, more commonly they are eating ice cream, chatting on cell phones, or listening to omnipresent iPods. With a dining commons that offers an alluring array of comfort food, the most popular Apples on campus seem to be the laptop kind, not the proverbial Forbidden Fruit.

With so few students eating apples these days–and with a dining commons nearby where students can choose fruit that hasn’t been lying underfoot, crushed or entire–you might worry that this year’s bumper crop of local apples is going to waste, rotting on or under their tree. But as I’ve long suspected, nothing in nature ever goes to waste, there being some campus denizens who don’t have meal plans and thus find their food apart from the dining commons: Keene State’s friendly (and furry) clean-up crew.

An apple a day...

Waste management

Rest assured that if you leave several overflowing trash cans on your suburban porch, your neighborhood waste management crew will arrive to take care of the problem.

Squirrels love pizza

In case you’ve ever worried about the amount of food that goes to waste on college campuses, rest assured that it doesn’t all go to waste.

One of the books I read with my first-year “Thinking & Writing: The Art of Natural History” students is Robert Sullivan’s Rats: Observations on the History and Habitat of the City’s Most Unwanted Inhabitants, which gets them thinking about the other creatures that share human habitats and taste our trash. Rats, according to Sullivan, like pretty much the same foods we do, with pizza and other cheesy dishes topping their list of favorites. Now I have photographic proof that squirrels share their ratty cousins’ preference for pizza, this fellow stopping to eat a slice he’d scavenged from a trash dumpster but couldn’t carry up a tree. Maybe next time, he should choose to have his pizza delivered?