Merry Christmas And Happy New Year

We’re finally settled into our new home in Florence, MA and I do have to say that after a bit of a snowstorm on Thanksgiving [which really wasn’t that bad] it’s been rather mild here compared to what I’ve been told by my neighbors. 

Normally we should have snow everywhere, but we’ve only had two days where the snow has actually hung around. Thanksgiving was the worst because we did have to dig out our driveway and school was delayed a couple of hours, but otherwise it’s been business as usual.

The seasons have come around full circle now since we got here for the tail end of winter and saw lots of bare trees only to see them all come back in bloom within a month for Spring then into the hot summer, the lovely colors of fall and now back to winter full force…sort of.

Our coldest morning so far was waking up to 8° which sound pretty awful for people in the Bay Area, but you go to your warm car and then to a warm building, shopping center, grocery store and you only have to deal with it for a couple of minutes. The big thing is the wind. You understand wind chill factor here and learn quickly that it’s a big deal vs. San Francisco weather. 8° is cold, but it’s not as bad as 30° on a windy day. That can just suck all the warmth out of you, but we don’t have windy days too often.

To end out the year I decided to put together a little montage of things I’ve done and seen around Northampton, MA…check it out!

Sec. 486 M.P.C.

I saw a sign today that made me want to run home to the internet and do a search. It was in regards to Sec. 486 M.P.C. A law which forbids the feeding of wildlife in San Francisco. This sign listed some of the wildlife and I realized that I have been in violation of this law many time, but luckily I haven’t in the past 10 years so I think I’m past the statue of limitations.

I used to love many years ago to go to the arboretum and sit on a bench and wait until the squirrels would run up my legs for me to hand them a peanut [hint, they prefer walnuts]. I love my time as a teenager when the raccoons would walk up to me in my back yard and take an egg from my hand. I was not one to ever feed pigeons, though there were a couple of times when a friendly one would walk up and i’d toss a bit of something to them. Seagulls are definitely off my list as they are food thieves and don’t need to be fed ever. I have tossed some old bread to the ducks at Stowe Lake though.

At the zoo, when I was a kid they used to sell mackerel bits to toss to the seals, but I suppose that didn’t fall under Sec. 486 M.P.C. then or there was some kind of special dispensation. I know that feeding squirrels isn’t really that good for them, but in a way it disappoints me as I will not have the chance to take my daughter to Japanese Tea Garden or Arboretum and show her how much fun it is when a squirrel takes a nut from your hand. I’m not sure I’d want to help her feed a raccoon as they can turn on you sometimes and there is always that rabies thing you have to think of.

I guess the goats and sheep at the zoo are considered domestic animals since they sell alfalfa pellets for them that you can purchase for 50¢ and feed to them. My daughter enjoys this a lot so I guess that’ll have to do. I definitely will add skunks to the menu of animals not to fee, though I admit I have done that before in San Francisco as well as the odd possum I’ve seen. While I’ve encounter a couple of coyote’s in San Francisco, I’ve never fed one preferring to stay safely in my car. I have fed old bread to the Buffalos in the park way back when they could  walk up to the fence, but those days have passed. I even remember back to the days as a kid when they sold zoo chow at the zoo and I would be throwing the pellets at the bears who would lean back and hold up their hind legs to get you to perform for them so they could get the treats.

I guess the times are a changing when the department of public works posts a phone number you can call to report offenders. I wonder now what the fine is for feeding a nut to a squirrel?