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Originally published Tuesday, June 4, 2019 at 11:05a.m.

There are few things that can bring a smile to my face more than watching the squirrels in our neighborhood as they bounce their way across the grass … I caught this one in midflight as the back feet have just left the ground and the front are reaching for the next landing spot.

Summer is coming and the squirrels will be out and about. Towards fall they will begin to bury acorns and such … they do not always remember where they buried them and the lost treasures will eventually grow new trees … all part of an amazingly complicated ecosystem called planet Earth.

I got some blowback on One’s attack of the quail yesterday … there are a lot of numbers floating around out there as to how many birds are killed by cats each year and from my research the number ranges from 500 million to four billion per year. Estimates of the bird population range from 200 to 400 billion. There is no question that cats do kill birds, but with wildly different numbers and a range of 800% how do you really know. I tried finding the methodology used to determine these numbers and it looks like it is pretty much guess work and possibly bias built into the numbers. I did find an interesting NPR article which deals with the issues and I would commend the article to you for reading. https://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2013/02/03/170851048/do-we-really-know-that-cats-kill-by-the-billions-not-so-fast .

My dad grew up on a farm in western Minnesota and my cousin still owns it … always there were barn cats to keep the rodent populations down. One, my favorite companion and predator gets about an hour of supervised outside time a day. Today she chased a few lizards around … this evening she brought a beautiful red and black banded sand snake in from the garage and I released it out the front door … they eat lots of things I do not want in my home. On my walk tonight I got a beautiful sequence of photos of a Coopers Hawk just after it plucked all the feathers from its meal for the night … nature at work. We are fortunate to be here to enjoy it all and even, perhaps, understand a little bit of it.

I also got to reading some fascinating articles on the formations of the more than ten thousand lakes in my home state of Minnesota … most of the lakes are what are called kettle lakes. A kettle lake is found where a big chunk of ice has been ground into the earth by a glacier moving over the top and when the ice melts, voila there is a big hole and it fills with water. It is hard to imagine what it looked like only ten thousand years ago. Much of Minnesota was under more than a kilometer of ice … thank heavens the glaciers have melted!

Have a beautiful day … keep breathing and keep learning as there is so much we do not know … keep an open mind and ask questions.

Smiles

Ted

You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Max Ehrmann

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