{A}'s Chipmunk Archives

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(Posted August 14, 2009)

 

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{A} usually posts on her own about her chipmunks.  But I’m doing it for her this time, and I think you’ll understand why by the end.

For any of our new blog visitors, you may not be aware that {A} has been hand-taming chipmunks since she was about 9 years old.  She’s blogged about it several times and I’ve taken lots of photos along the way.  If you (or your kids!) are interested in all of those older chipmunk posts, we’ve conveniently created this page of those archived posts,  all together, in one place.  The posts are from most recent at the top,  to the oldest posts as you scroll down.

You may wonder why this post, and the {A}’s chipmunk archives, are in the homeschooling section.  Well, I’ll tell you. One of the reasons we wanted to home school our kids, is because we wanted them to have enough time on their hands, to discover their passions.  To want to develop interests enough, that they seek to learn, on their own.  To relish in the joys of childhood, and immerse themselves in them.  To wonder, discover and experience.

It’s a beautiful thing, as a parent, to be able to witness that with our children, as much as we do.  No more have we seen these things unfold in the most fascinating way, than with {A} and her chipmunks.  Her patience, belief and determination have been impressive, to say the least.  She has LEARNED SO MUCH, from spending time with her chipmunks, and from researching a lot, to find out what she wants to know about them.  Her love for her chipmunks is so real.

One of the chipmunks she’s been closest to was a girl chipmunk she had named Chipmouse. (To make a long story short about the name, I was the first to spot that chipmunk out the window on the banks, when she was a baby, and I thought it was a mouse.)

Chipmouse is the chipmunk that {A} was photographed with in the last couple of posts. Well, this past spring {A} noticed that Chipmouse kept running and disappearing into the drive-way, so she investigated, and that’s when she discovered this new chipmunk hole:

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We put the bricks around it so that no one would drive over it.

Soon, {A} noticed Chipmouse had nipples.  Turns out, Chipmouse had babies down in that new hole.  So {A} was watching for a good month before one day, she started yelling and running into the house all excited because the babies came out. There were 3 of them.

A few days later, we started having a problem with the outdoor cat from the neighbor across the street, stalking the chipmunks.  : (   We were doing all we could to protect the chipmunks, and keep an eye out for the cat.  But we aren’t up at sunrise and there are time we’re not home!   So Michael talked to our neighbor guy across the street, who talked to his girlfriend who’s cat it was.  He reported that she said we had permission to ‘shoo the cat away’ or squirt her with water or whatever, but there was nothing she could do, because ‘it was an outdoor cat’.  We didn’t like that answer.  We give these people all of our pine wood for their campfires, and we were just asking them to keep their cat off of our property.  If we wanted a cat in our yard….we’d have a cat of our own. It was unfair. So Michael and {A} were spending a lot of time trying to guard the chipmunks.  But that cat had a hiding spot, and we knew where it was, there in the plentiful brush. It was always ready to pounce, the second a chipmunk popped out.

It wasn’t long before the first incident came to be.  Michael was standing in our living room, looking out the window, when he saw the cat running from our drive-way across the street with something in it’s mouth.  Of course…the rest of us had no idea what was happening, when Michael made some inaudible noise and went FLYING out of the house and RUNNING as fast as he could across the street, right into the neighbor’s yard across the street, and out behind their house.  The kids and I knew whatever just happened, it wasn’t good.  It seemed like forever before we saw him coming back, but I had NEVER seen a look on his face like the one he had. He was rippin’ mad.   The cat had gotten one of the babies….which it dropped when it saw Michael coming, and the baby chipmunk ran terrified into the nearby woods.  We all knew it wouldn’t dare ever come out again, even if it knew it’s way. It was just a baby.

From then on, Michael and {A} were losing sleep trying to protect the rest from that cat……but soon, Chipmouse…..{A}’s longtime friend, and mother of the babies, was missing.  And then another baby, gone too. Shortly thereafter, Michael got into a chit-chat with the lady over across the street and her young daughter (in her 20’s), as they were heading out for a walk,  and the daughter admitted she had found a dead chipmunk at their doorstep on the deck.   Michael was SO upset, and {A} was crushed.

She developed a very close bond with the only chipmunk she had  left. She had named her CB, which stood for ‘Chipmouse’s Baby’. lol  CB created some new holes just a few yards from the side of our driveway, on the edge of our (kind/considerate) next door neighbor’s gardens and waterfall.

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They spent lots of time together.  {A} could be out there with CB for hours, just playing with her, feeding her, and making sure she was ok.  Just trying to protect the life of her only chipmunk left.  But again…..we couldn’t be there 24/7.   That cat was ALWAYS watching, waiting, for any opportunity.

That’s what led to building the chipmunk house.  It not only kept the squirrels from eating the seed {A} put out for her chipmunk, but it was a safe place for CB to load her cheeks with feed—which takes a couple minutes you know!!  The poor thing was in a nervous panic, because of the cat around.   So…..the chipmunk house was planned out, shopped for, and built pretty quickly.  It worked great!  We loved to watch her go in, run up her little ramp to the second floor, and fill her cheeks.  You could really see that she felt comfortable and safe in there.

008Here is CB, posing in front of her new home.  lol.

 

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Then she would cautiously come back out, and run to her hole to store her seeds.  Then come back and get some more.

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{A} Spent a good part of her birthday, with CB.  We could have all done anything she wanted, because it was her special day. But after mass and a couple of pet stores she wanted to go to, spending time with CB was what she wanted to do.

She did much of the same for several days, until one day just before mid-July.  CB wasn’t coming when {A} called her, and we haven’t seen her since.  Or any other chipmunks, for that matter.

IMG_0092(This is {A} on her birthday with CB)

We know the inevitable happened.  The cat got the last of her chipmunks.  We have all been really upset about it, but {A}’s heart has been broken.  She’s had a few days where she just wanted to be alone in her room, and we knew why.  Loss like that is hard for a kid her age.  Hard for anyone, to lose someone they care about so much.   When we got up in the morning, we could look out the window and see {A}’s chipmunks sitting on the stump or the waterfall next door, just watching the house….waiting for her to come out and see them.   That neighbor (different ones, that live BESIDE us), by the way, have 3 indoor cats.  They understand and agree that it is not right to let the cats go after the wildlife at our bird feeders, and they have watched {A} grow up training the chipmunks between our yards, too.

Is it FAIR, to have to tolerate having a cat on a killing-spree, in your yard all of the time, because someone else decides they want their ‘domestic’ cat, to be ‘an outdoor cat’?   They kill just for for the sake of doing so.  They go after wild birds, chipmunks, etc., and just bat these creatures around, until they die.  And then they just leave it!  Or bring it to their master’s doorstep.  Hunt and fun over. Senseless.  We believe, if anyone is going to have a ‘domestic’ cat, they should get fixed, and keep it in their own house. Or at least in their own yard!  We should not have to accept a hunting cat on our property on any given day, because some cat owner wants to let their cat outdoors. It’s not fair. It’s not responsible. And it’s not considerate of anyone else, who never wanted a cat!   When ONE home has an outdoor cat, the WHOLE NEIGHBORHOOD has an outdoor cat, whether they like it or not!  It’s not fair.

The harshness over the end of this post (so unlike me…you all know it…) is because we are so upset.  We loved these chipmunks.  Our daughter invested many hours of her life training these sweet little creatures, who loved her, as much as she loved them.  She invested her heart in training them, and developed real relationships with them.  It’s just sad that she ended up losing them all, because they become a play toy, for someone else’s pet.

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Thanks for listening.

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(Posted March, 2oo9)

{A}’s Chipmunks are Back….

 

 

….and boy did they miss her!!

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She got this shot with her Daddy’s point & shoot camera, as he climbed up her leg.
Is that not love or what? lol

 

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The Chipmunk Love Continues….   by {A}

( Posted November, 2008 )

Hi there.

If you’ve been visiting our blog from the beginning, you may have seen posts on my chipmunk troop before. If you’ve missed them and want more background, you may want to go down and read earlier posts. I have hand trained 3 of them, and am working on my fourth, named ‘Sergeant’.   The one in these photos that Mama took, is ‘Chipmouse’, which was the easiest one to train.

My family and friends call me ‘The Chipmunk Whisperer’.  Sometimes they try to whisper back!!  This REALLY tickles! Look at her little paw on my ear!  My Dad said she was thinking, “I wonder if I can put some seeds in here?”.

I’ve spent extra time with them in the last month or so, knowing I’ll see them a lot less over the winter. I don’t believe that they truly hibernate, but they are like the squirrels.  They stay in their burrows and sleep a LOT, only waking to eat a little bit from the food the keep right next to them. Or under them. They have been known to come out some in winter on milder days to collect nuts or berries or whatever they can find.

In this photo below, she is searching for some of her favorite treats that I might have dropped.  Some of the things I’ve fed her that she loves to eat are dried corn, sunflower seeds, slivered almonds, and she has taken grapes cut into quarters when we didn’t have any of the other things in stock.

 

Just look at how she looks up at me!  I think she loves me.0 Sometimes she gives me little wet kisses.

I don’t have a photo of it, but I actually taught Chipmouse how to shake paws. : )  I put my finger out by her paw, and she puts her paw on top of my finger.  Then I push up, and she pushes down, and I push up, and she pushes down. It’s really fun!I think in the photo below she wanted to do a double paw shake.

I also love to twirl her tail.

I really love my chipmunks.  I’m glad that God allowed them to trust me. 0

I’ve spent a lot of time with them, so I think they will probably remember me in the springtime.  Especially Chipmouse, because we’ve spent countless hours together.

I know where her burrow is, which is on our property, so when I really miss her, I can at least whisper down to her and tell her. Notice how chipmunk holes are so nice and round? That’s how you know it’s not a snake burrow!

Well I hope you enjoyed my post.  I should have another coming up.  I won’t tell you what it’s about so it’s a surprise.  : )   Also, today we got a very early, and very, very special Christmas present! We are all over the moon and were bouncing off the walls with happiness when we opened it!  (We weren’t being impatient. We were told to open it right away.)   I hope Mama blogs about it, but she wants photos.  Of course!!

See you later!

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Ssshhh…Chipmunk in Training!…by {A}

( Posted July, 2008 )

 

I’ve trained yet another chipmunk!! Meet my new little friend, ‘Chipmouse’. You may or may not have read my last post about my other chipmunks I have trained. This is my third.

My Mama was the first one to spot this new one. At the time, he was such a youngin’ that she said,”What is that!? It looks like a mouse!” Dad and I said at the same time, ” It’s a baby chipmunk!!” He has grown a lot since we first saw him, only 2-3 weeks ago.

This little one was not as skittish as the other two, and caught on quickly to what I wanted him to do. First, I had my hand, full of seeds, on the ground, and slowly lifted it up until he had to jump in to eat. Then he jumped off to go spit out his seeds at his burrow. When he came back, I had my hand higher. He could jump in easily. Finally , I put my hand so high, that he could not jump in, so he crawled on to my legs, and ran up my arm to get to my hand.

It was only a few feedings later, that he let me start playing with his tail and really having fun with him. The last chipmunk, Flash 2 would only come out to eat if it was just me out there. Chipmouse went back and forth from his borrow to me, passing Mama, and letting her get some photos.

Isn’t he so cute!?

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Meet Flash I and Flash II  – by A.

(Posted April, 2008…..photos from June 2007)

 

Me & Flash - June 2007

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Enjoying a scratch while she fills up her cheeks

The pictures above are of me and my little chipmunk friend, Flash, from last June. This is the story of how I made friends with her.

My Dad had told me about his Nana and her chipmunk, Chippy, at one time. So one day I was watching the birds at the bird feeder, when I saw this little critter. I thought it would be a good opportunity to try my hand at training a chipmunk. I began to make trails of sunflower seeds on the wall of our yard. She got used to me watching her from the window, and slowly I moved the trail to the deck. With my Dad’s tips, and my own reasoning, I eventually brought the trail to our back-door off of our deck. Once she got used to me watching her from the door, I started to sit on the deck. With a lot of time and patience, she came closer to me each day. It even got to the point where I could call her and she would come to me!! Every day I fed her and we became good friends. She found a ” Mister”, and when winter came she disappeared .

This spring I started to train Flash the 2nd. You can see pictures of him below. I am sure he is the son of the original Flash because they are from the same borrow, which is our big brush pile up in our “woods”. He is getting used to my voice, and coming close, but he seems to be a little more timid than Flash the 1st. I can not wait until the day God lets him trust me completely!!! I’ll keep you posted!

Can you find him? A closer look.

Right at our back door.

 

 

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