Across the porch of the Naturalist's office at Paradise Valley is a huge hewn beam which is a favorite highway of the chipmunks. It is not a lonely road--it is travelled frequently and there are at least two homes along it's sixteen feet of length. One is of a short-tailed meadow mouse and the other is occupied at present by a family of chipmunks.
The meadow mice are old settlers but the chipmunks are recent arrivals. As is the custom, we spent the day peeping from our window as our new neighbors moved in.
They had no baggage or furniture to move but, even so, moving was no small task. There were nine children!
Mother did most of the work and the children objected to changing homes. First she had to catch them, and they were almost as large as she was, then once she had a firm grip on the recalcitrant youngsters she had to carry them up a perpendicular stone wall some nine feet to the highway across the porch. At the far end is a small cranny in the rock wall which is the door to the new home. The door was too small for the mother and child to enter together. The only thing to do was to place the baby chipmunk at the door and make him go in, in spite of the fact that he didn't want to. A tussle always resulted but the mother won in the end.
One particularly "bad boy" escaped his mother and fell nine feet to the concrete below. Bad boys usually come to some bad end. It was enough to kill any baby and we thought it was the end of him. The mother, however, did not give him up but rushed down excitedly and again carried her baby home. At the door he "came to life" but this time he climbed meekly inside without a struggle. Next day, however, all nine were out playing on the "highway".
Yesterday the Naturalist's attention was called to a "freak" Avalanche Lily. The usual flower has six petals, this was double with eight petals. Instead of the usual white underside this was red. It is from such "sports" that new varieties of plants are developed. The huge chrysanthemum was once a "single" aster.
|<<< Previous||> Cover <||Next >>>|