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The Summer Adventures Begin!
May 2003


5-3-03  Chuckie Almost Watches the Mug Race
The annual Mug race is a sailing competition that starts in Orange Park (south of Jacksonville) and continues on the St. Johns River to Palatka. Literally hundreds of boats compete. The smaller boats go all the way to Palatka under the Shands Bridge. Boats with masts over 27' can't get under; so they U-turn at the bridge and sail back to the start to finish.
We drove to the Shands Pier (which goes WAY out into the St. Johns) to watch what was going on. This fishing pier is part of an area park and surprisingly, only one other observer was there ... the 5 other people were fishing. The breeze was strong enough for the boats to have a challenge getting under the bridge.
Chuck (not a large body of water kind of guy), peeked out, snorted and went to sleep in my shirt. "Chuck," says I, "look at the pretty sails ... that one is really colorful." Chuck snorted again and rolled over. Sometimes, he does not appreciate the finer things in life.
5-4-03   Chuck Goes To High Tea
St. Margaret's Episcopal Church has a yearly Tea and Tour on Fleming Island to honor Margaret Fleming and the Fleming family.
George Fleming received a land grant from the king of Spain and settled the area long before it became part of the United States. Margaret Seton married George's son and helped establish Hibernia Plantation on the Island. The church building was begun by Margaret just after the War Between The States (as we call it) and finished in time to hold it's first service ... Margaret's funeral.
There is lots of history to the area and the tour took two hours. Guides were at various stations throughout land once owned by the family.  Guides were in costumes from the 1800s and Union soldiers were shooting Rebels for trees with powder rifles. Fleming Island was in Union hands during the war as was St. Augustine.
Chuck seemed to enjoy the outing and was not even disturbed by the rifle fire or bodies falling from trees. He slept a lot ... go figure! The Tea was wonderful with tons of little sandwiches and sweets of all kinds. Chuck got a little more interested, but I've seen him on a sugar high; so NO cake or brownies for him. After Tea, an Evensong Service was held in the tiny Cypress and heart of pine Gothic style church.
During part of the service, I was trying to keep up with the program when I felt an unusual, but known sensation at the end of my short sleeve. I looked down and Chuck was hanging out of my sleeve chewing on a prayer book! A light thump on the head sent him back into my shirt and as soon as the priest began the sermon, he fell asleep. LOL!
After the service, I went to look at drawings and cards of the church which were on sale. A little girl was assisting her mother and I said I had something to show her. I pulled Chuck out of my shirt, held him in my hand a few moments and then opened my palm and he raced up my arm, onto my shirt and dove down the neck. The little girl seemed bewildered, but her mother was thrilled and said that made her day.
Our work done, we headed home, walking down the old dirt Church Road (out of the 1800s) to our house in today's Hibernation Plantation.
Anyone interested in the history of this area can read Eugenia Price's book, Margaret's Story.  Chuck loved it!
5-7-03   Chuck Hits the Road
David drove up from East Palatka with his van to pick up Chuck ... big cage and all. He will be staying with David and Mary Jane & their little girl, Sophie, while I'm in Alaska. I packed his food, vitamins, spray bottle and jail. This is his first overnight away from home without his mommy. I suspect he'll be more interested in Sophie than missing Mom.
He got in David's shirt and they drove away on a new adventure. He didn't even wave good-by :-(
5-20-03   Prince Charles Report (May 7-16?) 
Hey Joan, we have thoroughly enjoyed Chuck's stay with us! His day hours have been spent primarily with David riding around in his shirt doing such mundane tasks as house chores! They have made several around town trips to Walmart, Publix, and such!!
Evenings have been more exciting!? Chuck has made every effort to be a part of our family of 3. Sophie has met all overtures with much resistance. Essentially Chuck sticks to his cage even when his door is open. We usually keep his door open when Sophie is more passive and she is definitely more passive in her activities than Chuck. (She basically has 3 "active" shifts with beginning of dusk, middle of night, nearing dawn; with Chuck he is going nonstop action from dusk to about 4am.) He loves to run from his cage to our bed and once on the bed takes great pleasure in jumping upon us and doing everything possible to get us up to play. If we don't comply he will repeatedly jump on our heads, etc. until he is acknowledged. In his zest one night he innocently placed 2 scratch marks right under my right eye. I had a lot of fun showing people where I had put special concealer, the results of his work. My dental cleaning lady got a real kick out of seeing the results up front and personal! it!? Folks love hearing about flying squirrels; they listen in disbelief!!
Chuck has exhibited what we think is some stress and anxiety with us in the evenings.? He will lightly nip us and at times, more hard, than light!!? He really took to our fingernails and lifted my nail bed enough to get some light bleeding.? We know he misses his mommie and familiar surroundings especially when Sophie insists he is not wanted in her territory and chases him back to his cage.?? One night both Chuck & Sophie ran circles on David vying for his attention.? Sophie won by chasing Chuck home again!!? Chuck isso endearing and sincere and concerted.?? He will keep coming back for more. They both chirp at each other!? Some times, Sophie dominates his cage when the door is closed and taunts Chuck with running circles on his territory or just hanging and glaring inside!
Chuck's diet may be fattier than usual.? David learned he LOVES acorns and would look forward to finding them in David's pockets and eating them right then and there!?? He loves vanilla frozen yogurt too!? He did get ample supplies of his veggies too!
David figures when it is time to return Chuck back to you, he and Sophie will have decided to bond!? You have raised a fine young fellow Joan!? He is very, very affectionate, seeking to belong (unlike you know who!), loves to be touched and loves to touch back!!  When you are back and settled, David will bring Prince Charles back to you, at your convenience.? You may need to recover from some jet lag first!?? No rush, when you are ready!?? We love him!!?"  mjl
5-27-03   Latent HOF
Just returned from visiting my doctor (sinus infection .. thank you Alaska). First thing she says is, "Do you have 'our' baby?". I pull Chuck out of my shirt and she takes him and starts kissing all over him and rubbing his ears. He shirt dives her and finds a nice place in her bra under her arm. She finally gets him out, he's fussing about the removal and gives him back. Then she calls a new nurse in because she hasn't seen him and goes into a long story about how small he was when she first saw him, how he's grown and what a sweet boy he is. Then I leave. Think I'll go to the vet and get something for my sinuses.
6-2-03  Chuckie Camps Out
I have an 8' X 20' screened in porch facing the wetlands. I took Chuck out in his cage when he got up at 11pm this evening. Rolled the cage right out there. Let him out when we got there and he was beside himself. Climbed on the screen and raced around. He was able to go about 10' up in the air (the highest he's been) and he flew around the porch. Then, he found that he could climb the stucco just as well and was able to go everywhere. I was finally able to get him calmed down enough to get back in his cage. I know he could chew thru the screening if he wanted; so I caged him for the night. This is his first camp out;-)
6-3-03  Chuck Files A Claim With State Farm
I had to visit the State Farm office to renew my car insurance and Chuck went along for the ride. Once there, of course, Chuck had to meet everyone in the office.  We'd had a recent frog-strangling downpour with high winds and lost a large limb from an oak tree. Since we were already at the insurance office, Chuck decided to file a claim for "loss of home". Now, Chuck lives indoors in a nice roomy cage, but he figured it was some flyers home and wanted to file as a test case. The claims adjuster brought out the company Polaroid and had his picture taken with Chuck. The picture with my car agent didn't turn out, but I think that was because she jumped when Chuck dove down the front of her blouse.

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