Squirrel Appreciation Day

Dear Liza,

Last Friday was Squirrel Appreciation Day! I know, I hadn’t heard of it, either. But any reason to have a special day in chilly January is good enough for me.

We took some peanuts on our walk to the market and left them along the fences. And for the most special part, we stopped at these small squirrel statues in front of some apartments, and we left more nuts there.

I know some people don’t like squirrels, and with reason. They chew on wires, nest in attics, and have no understanding of personal boundaries. But I’ve never had a problem with them. I’ve even re-written one of my favorite songs from Mary Poppins to honor our nutsy friends.


We feed the squirrels, a peanut or two

Though some folks don’t always like what they do.

Yes, we feed the squirrels,

Those fluffy- tailed squires

While overhead they run on the wires


All around our great city

They hop and they scamper

They hide behind ev-ry tree

They mate in your attic and nibble your drywall

But they always seem cheerful to me…..

So, feed the squirrels, that’s what I say

Their antics will always brighten my day

Yes, feed the squirrels, that’s what you should do,

Walnuts, or acorns, or a peanut or two.

I hope you enjoy whatever the day brings you.


Grandma Judy

Happy Squirrel Appreciation Day!!

Dear Liza,

We have all been on edge the last few years. We had uneasy feelings brought on an unstable person in the White House. Our new President has been around for years, and we know what to expect. I have not always agreed with him, but he is, most definitely, not nuts.

A good thing to be able to say about one’s President, as it turns out.

Agile little buggers…

But you know who IS nuts? Squirrels. And January 21st is Squirrel Appreciation Day, so I am appreciating them.

And I love ‘em! These fluffy streaks scamper about our sidewalks, power lines and rooftops. They chatter at us from trees and shinny around trunks to stay just out of sight. They make adorable grey arches as they rainbow hop across the road.

Squirrels have helped make our Lone Fir Cemetery what it is today, their forgetfulness accidentally planting of hundreds of trees.

Squirrels can be a nuisance. They can get in attics and chew wires, not to mention making nests where they are not welcome. I’m sure they make terrible roommates.

But outside, in the park, on the roofs or lurking on the other side of a tree trunk, they are adorable.

And that’s your dose of silliness from Portland for today.


Grandma Judy

Squirrel Love

Dear Liza,

I know there are squirrels where you live in Salinas, but here in Portland, they really seem to be everywhere!

They hop across the roads like little flying grey rainbows, dash up and around trees like the police are chasing them, and use the telephone wires as freeways.

Having his say…

The other day on my way home from the park, I saw this fellow sitting on the roof of a house, making that chittering noise squirrels do when they are mad at some one or some thing. I was the only one around, so I guess it was me.

Showing off!

He chittered at me for a while, and when I started to move away, he ran to the peak of the roof, as if to show off his agility. “I can climb, clumsy human, and you are stuck on the ground!” He seemed to say.

Silly squirrels.

Love, Grandma Judy

January at the Park

Dear Liza,

Promising Shoots

It is winter in Portland, wet and pretty chilly most days. But it is also beautiful. After a really rainy night, I went for a walk in Laurelhurst Park.

Oh, before I forget. I met a lady walking her dog the other day, and she says we should call it “Squirrelhurst” Park.

I guess if you are walking a dog in the park, the squirrels become much more of a focus. Leash-training is a good thing.

Even though the calendar says it is mid-winter, not all the plants are shut down. These green shoots are promising jonquils, or snowdrops, pretty soon. I will keep my eye out for them!

Careless Camellias

The Camellias are beginning to bloom, both red and white, all over the park. They don’t worry about freezing temperatures, diminished sunlight and buckets of rain, apparently.

Puddles become a real thing in the park after a rain. The paths need to be walked with care, and the lowest parts are really muddy. Another reason to keep your dog on a leash!







There is a stone wall that runs along a bit of the Cesar Chavez side of the park. Because of its shape, I call it The Wallosaurus. It has gotten a nice sweater of ferns and moss which makes it even more charming.







Another wall I love on the way to the park. Cast in concrete decades ago, it sort of looks like an aerial photograph of Oregon’s Willamette Valley…lush and green with a few roads and rivers running through. Very Pretty.


Grandma Judy

Mossy Wall? Or Aerial Photo?


Dear Liza,

Fall is falling in a delightful way here in Portland. The trees are blazing into yellows and reds, planting beds and paths are upholstered with leaves, the fog is setting in, and the squirrels are getting even busier.

First fog

The little furry guys run along the power lines to get from pole to pole and tree to tree without bothering about traffic or cats, but they don’t seem nervous about people.  If one of them is digging or hiding, he pretty much doesn’t notice us. He will occasionally dash up a tree and call us names, however. Just to let us know whose park it really is.

Whose forest is this, anyway?

There is something else up here that is new to me. Chestnuts! Big, fat, spreading chestnut trees dropping bushels of chestnuts. When they fall, the nuts are encased in a green prickly shell, like a studded leather jacket, but the squirrels are very good at peeling those off, leaving the shiny, deep brown shells showing.


Chestnut just breaking out of its jacket

Squirreling away for Christmas!

Yesterday on the way to the Belmont Library, Auntie Bridgett and I decided to collect some chestnuts, as well.

What is good for the squirrels is good for the squirrelly, right?

Once we found a few trees, our pockets and Bridgett’s backpack were full in minutes! The only hazard is that the chestnuts are about the size and weight of a golf ball and HARD, so when they come down, they hit cars and sidewalks (and the hats of gatherers) with a resounding THUNK. Quite the adventure in foraging.

I look forward to roasting these little nuggets of Dickensian love and munching during a particularly ferocious storm. Welcome, winter!

The cooler weather has us hunting up scarves and heavier coats, making the first soup of the season (turkey/ sweet potato) and inventing new hot cider combinations. Looking forward with joy.



Grandma Judy