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October 14, 2019

I've been under the weather this past weekend.

Still not up to snuff.

Stuff happens.

Pictured is October's Full Moon, called the Hunter's Moon.

At the bottom is a lone blue Jay and probably the last cut flowers of the year.

Fall has arrived in full force, high temperatures in the upper 40's and low 50's.

Like every year, I am behind on autumn clean up.

I refuse to give in.

Yolanda went for an eye check up this morning.

She goes to a children's Ophthalmologist, as they have ways of working with special needs people as well.

All is well.

Houseplants that enjoyed the time outside for the past several months have been moved inside.

For the past few weeks I have been preparing them for the move.

Bringing plants in and out helps them adjust to the less than ideal conditions a warm and dry house gives them.

I also have treated them with 'Bonide's' Systemic Houseplant Insect Control.

This helps with any unwanted creepy, crawly and otherwise unwanted guests.

Including the wretched 'Fungus Gnats'.

A series of pictures from one of the resident Chipmunks.

Yes, today's letter is on the striped, often adorable rodents.


Chipmunks are pretty cute, and North America is home to 24 of the 25 species.

The Siberian Chipmunk, of Asia, is the only one that lives elsewhere.


Chipmunks are rodents in the squirrel family, Sciuridae.

The largest chipmunk is the Eastern Chipmunk (Tamias stratus), which is only 11 inches long (28 cm), including the tail, and weighs about 4.4 ounces (125 g).

(My chipmunks, and the one pictured is the Eastern Chipmunk.)

It inhabits the eastern half of North America.

The Least Chipmunk (Tamias minibus), found in western states and across Canada, is the smallest, at only 7.2–8.5 inches (18.5–21.6 cm) long, including the tail.

It weighs just 1.1–1.8 ounces (32–50 g).

Chipmunks have striped hair, large, dark eyes, perky upright ears, and short legs.

A notable feature is their cheek pouches, one located in each cheek.

Chipmunks transport all this food to their burrow, where they store it to eat later on.

Chipmunks are omnivores and eat nuts, seeds, fruits and buds, grass, mushrooms, insects, snails, small frogs and snakes, young mice, worms, and bird eggs.

While they are kin to squirrels, chipmunks and ground squirrels are two different creatures.

Chipmunks Are Beneficial:

Chippies are adorable, but can wreak havoc in gardens and around foundations.

Guilty of digging up bulbs (chewing on some), chewing off young seedlings, and planting unwanted piles of corn and sunflower seeds.

Burrows can also compromise foundations and driveways over time.

From a nature's point, they do provide important rolls. 

One thing that makes chipmunks beneficial is their feces, which contain the seeds and fungal spores they eat.

Wherever they poop, they spread tree and other plant seeds, as well as mycorrhiza, a fungus that’s vital for increasing water and nutrient absorption in plants.

Chipmunks are also beneficial as food for predators.

Predators include owls, hawks, weasels, foxes, coyotes, raccoons, bobcats, lynxes, cats, dogs, and snakes,


Chipmunks have three calls. One is a loud “chip,” and another is a softer “cuk-cuk-cuk” sound.

The third, “chuck,” is an alarm call.

They will also communicate with body language, such as flattening their ears and raising their tail hair.

Life cycle:

Chipmunks are solitary, except during mating season.

Some species like my Eastern Chippie, mate in early spring and again in early summer.

Others mate only once a year.

The gestation period is thirty days.

Litter sizes vary.

For example, the Least Chipmunk gives birth to two to eight pups, and the Eastern Chipmunk has three to five.

Typical of rodents, pups are hairless, blind and about the size of a bumblebee.

They remain in the burrow for about six weeks.

By eight weeks, they’re weaned and on their own.

If not breeding season, you will only see multiple chipmunks together if they are youngsters.

The average lifespan is two to three years in the wild, but they’re known to live up to nine years in captivity.


Do chipmunks hibernate in the winter?

Sort of.

They don’t put on body fat, like bears, which can sleep for very long periods.

Instead, they awaken every few days to eat a few bites from their cache of food.

They also use that time to urinate and defecate, but in a separate chamber—they keep their burrows very clean.

During hibernation, their body temperature drops from around 94° F (34.4° C) to as low as 40° F (4° C).

They also leave the burrow on warmer days during the winter months.

Even during their active times, Chipmunks will sleep up to 15 hours a day.


Chipmunks prefer a forested habitat with many places to dash into for safety under fallen logs, stumps, brush, and rocks. 

They also live in wooded city parks and along fence rows.

Your yards and gardens work too,

They’re sometimes welcome and sometimes not, because of their penchant for nibbling in vegetable gardens and digging burrows under lawns.

Most of the time, I enjoy their antics.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought of the week.

God Bless.

“The most important consultation is the one a person has with him-or-herself.

Healthcare starts with personal responsibility.”

Pete Egoscue    (B - 1945)

Personal responsibility in all we do is important.

From the word of God.

"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad."

2 Corinthians 5:10

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb.

A Blessed week to you .

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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