Poor ol’ Cock Robin

A Robin Redbreast in a Cage
Puts all Heaven in a Rage.

William Blake

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The yard is suddenly plentiful with robins—
Are they the ominous harbingers of things to come or the triumphant heralders of the anthems of Spring?
With the forecast boding a Winter Storm’s bothersome approach it is perhaps a frantic search for food which these birds seek all in order to wait out the impending weather.
Either way, robins have been the subject of prose and poem down through the ages as there is just something most endearing about these rusty breasted members of the thrush family.

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The tale of Who Murdered Cock Robin is a British Nursery Rhyme which, in 1993, was adapted by Kevin O’Malley as a delightfully illustrated children’s book– complete with mystery and intrigue. The original British Nursery Rhyme is thought to be an allegorical reference to fabled Robin Hood.

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“Who killed Cock Robin?” “I,” said the Sparrow,
“With my bow and arrow, I killed Cock Robin.”
“Who saw him die?” “I,” said the Fly,
“With my little eye, I saw him die.”
“Who caught his blood?” “I,” said the Fish,
“With my little dish, I caught his blood.”
“Who’ll make the shroud?” “I,” said the Beetle,
“With my thread and needle, I’ll make the shroud.”
“Who’ll dig his grave?” “I,” said the Owl,
“With my pick and shovel, I’ll dig his grave.”
“Who’ll be the parson?” “I,” said the Rook,
“With my little book, I’ll be the parson.”
“Who’ll be the clerk?” “I,” said the Lark,
“If it’s not in the dark, I’ll be the clerk.”
“Who’ll carry the link?” “I,” said the Linnet,
“I’ll fetch it in a minute, I’ll carry the link.”
“Who’ll be chief mourner?” “I,” said the Dove,
“I mourn for my love, I’ll be chief mourner.”
“Who’ll carry the coffin?” “I,” said the Kite,
“If it’s not through the night, I’ll carry the coffin.”
“Who’ll bear the pall? “We,” said the Wren,
“Both the cock and the hen, we’ll bear the pall.”
“Who’ll sing a psalm?” “I,” said the Thrush,
“As she sat on a bush, I’ll sing a psalm.”
“Who’ll toll the bell?” “I,” said the bull,
“Because I can pull, I’ll toll the bell.”
All the birds of the air fell a-sighing and a-sobbing,
When they heard the bell toll for poor Cock Robin

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(one of the many robins in the yard / Julie Cook / 2014)

Prognosticator, Harbinger or Hoarder

“But who wants to be foretold the weather? It is bad enough when it comes, without our having the misery of knowing about it beforehand.”
― Jerome K. Jerome

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As I was attempting to get myself dressed for the day, wondering as to whether it was to be a chilly or mild day. . . debating over long sleeves or not—I was startled when suddenly both cats came running into the closet and immediately jumped up into the window.

Curious as to what they were so intently studying, I made my way to the window as well. Under the large oak tree, just on the other side of the window, was an extremely busy gray squirrel oblivious that anyone was watching his activity.

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I’ve seen this same squirrel, over the past couple of days, making himself busy as a bee under that tree–gobbling up and making off with as many acorns as he could possibly handle.

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I’ve always heard that the observation of animals, such as squirrels, as well as birds, who begin a flurry of activity of feeding or excessively gathering food, is a good indicator of a change in the weather and a good predictor of a colder than average winter. Hummmm….

By the looks of the acorns my squirrel is stuffing in his mouth, I’m a little worried we’re in for big trouble.

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Maybe I need to be looking for the sled up in the attic or checking on the heavy coats–do all the gloves have their match? Do I need new boots?! New boots, Oooo new boots, there’s an idea……

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My question however is this—how does a squirrel possibly remember where he has buried those hundreds of acorns??!! If all of this squirrel’s buried acorns actually sprouted, my yard would be a beautiful forest of lovely hardwoods in about another 150 years. What a nice thought….
But I now have more pressing issues at hand, what type of new boots do I need……

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Julie’s busy squirrel friend / 2013