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June - July 2003

                                       Chuck's Uncle Gus
  My friend, Gus, from Ohio visited for a couple of days while house hunting and job interviewing in Jacksonville. He would sit with me in the evenings while Chuck exercised on the porch, racing across the screen and showing off how fast he is. By the second night, Chuck was jumping on Uncle Gus and searching his pockets for treats ... a trick taught him by Uncle David while I was in Alaska. I got Gus an acorn (a gift from David and Mary Jane's Sophie) and he presented it to Chuck. Chuck was in heaven. He sat on Gus' hip and devoured the acorn, leaving an empty shell with the top missing and nothing inside.
  Chuck is hoping Uncle Gus will come back soon as he has no one to discuss sports with ... it's a guy thing ;-)

                                 Chuck The Mighty Hunter
  Last night when I let Chuck run loose on the screened porch, he raced around trying to catch bugs that unfortunately were on the outside. LOL I turned on the flood lights which light up the wetlands. Poor guy never caught a one ... such a tremendous disappointment :-(
  Tonight, I'm going to have to turn the lights on  inside and open the screen door to lure some bugs inside so he can catch something when he goes hunting again. Only a HOF would try to lure bugs into the house in Florida!

               Chuck The Mighty Hunter. . .Scores big Tonight
  Tonight, before I let Chuck out on the screen porch, I turned on lights inside the porch, opened the screen door and waited about an hour to lure in bugs. Then, I turned on the flood lights, closed the screen door and brought out the mighty hunter. He was ecstatic when he saw a bug ... fly across the screen and held his trophy aloft in his paws. He spotted a moth, raced up the screen, jumped and caught it in midair and landed back on the screen to devour his catch. I was so impressed that I broke into spontaneous applause.
  We then hunted together. He road around on my shoulder while I scouted the walls and screens. If I spotted a bug, I'd raise my arm and point and say, "There he is ... go get him!" Chuck would race up my arm, leap off my hand onto the screen and snap up said bug before it knew what hit him. What a team of hunters we made!!

                        Chuckie Gives Mommy A Heart Attack
  This morning I was going on an errand and went to get Chuck from his nest to go for the ride. He NEVER gets up during the day unless dragged kicking and cussing from his cotton hideaway.
   His head was hanging out of his nest door, his eyes were closed and his little buck teeth protruding ... I thought he was DEAD! "Chuck!!," I yelled. One eye opened and he looked at me like, "Can't you see I'm sleeping?". I guess it's been humid on the porch and he wanted to try and get some fresh air;-)

                                   Chuck's A Good Ol' Boy
  Tonight on the screened porch, Chuck suddenly flew from his cage to the screen door with a crash. I hurried to look, as we'd cooked ribs on the grill out on the deck and I wanted to make sure the door was secure. Chuck was plastered to the screen attacking a blob with gusto. I got closer to see what in the world it could be. Too big for a bug ... even in Florida;-) Too flat for anything I knew. I stuck my finger into it and pulled it away covered in sticky Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce. That boy knows his rib sauce!
   Later, he jumped into a hanging fern and dug up something round like a small nut. He munches on it and I tried to get him on my hand to get a closer look ... he'd eaten one last night too. He does a semi war dance and flies away ... intent on NOT sharing with mommy. I assume the wild squirrels are hiding nuts in the fern when it's outside or else he's eating rabbit droppings I use as fertilizer. LOL Anyway, he thinks it good. I may just have to dig around in the pot myself to see if I can come up with one :-)

                           Chuckie Does A Hospital Visitation
  Sylvia's 94 yo dad is visiting from NC and was hospitalized for Congestive Heart Failure (a frequent occurrence). When we went to visit, Chuck came along. There was a small orchid on the lunch tray. I remembered that these are edible and wanted to see what Chuck thought of it. I held it in my shirt and called to him. He popped up to see what was available, grabbed the orchid and slid back inside. When I looked inside my shirt, Chuck was leaning back chewing on the stem with this beautiful little orchid resting in his lap against his tummy. It was so cute ... dare I say, "He looked pretty, Oh, so pretty!" NEVER say orchid are for sissies ... real manly flyers wear them.

                           Another Visit ... and A Surprise
  While we were visiting today, I noticed a roommate had moved in. A young man who was watching a TV show about rattlesnakes. A nature lover I thought to myself. Chuck was sleeping. The man's family arrived and through the curtain, I heard them talking about gopher turtles that apparently had been fed. I popped around the curtain and asked, "Are ya'll critters lovers?" The wife points to the guy in the bed and say, "He'd feed a snake if he could get it to come close enough!" The young daughter says she has a ferret she just got and a discussion ensues about how ferrets smell and it's obvious that Mom and Dad think they've made a big mistake.
  I say I have something to show them and reach into my shirt saying watch the door for any nurses. I pull Chuck out, he sits in my hand they scurries along my arm for a shirt dive. Eight pairs of eyes light up like headlights with Dad's being the brightest. "A flying squirrel!", he exclaims. "I had one when I was a kid."
  A nurse walks in and all eyes go dim, smiles become serious and the conversation suddenly changes. The unspoken collusion was truly amazing and awe inspiring :-) The nurse leaves, eyes brighten, smiles return and I pull Chuck out again and put him on the young girl. He runs up under her long hair, shirt dives and she laughs as he races around her torso. We are finally able to trap him under her shirt (he does not want to go) and finally extract him. (A guard, Sylvia, has been posted outside the closed door) A knock at the door and Chuck is stuffed inside my shirt as the little girl begs, "Oh, Mommy ... I want a flying squirrel!"
  "But, you have a ferret."
  "Oh, we can give him away."
  "I can't believe it, we couldn't get you to get rid of that smelly thing."
  "I'd rather have a flying squirrel. It's so cute and soft."

                                    HA! Flyers 1 Ferrets 0

                              Chuck Goes to The Mountains
   Sylvia and I decide to go to the mountains after taking her Dad back to Sanford, NC. So, we load up Chuck's travel cage and bowls for the puppies and head off to NC. After dropping her Dad off in Sanford, we turn west and head for Asheville.
  Getting to the motel late at night, the puppies passed out and so did I. Chuck, on the other hand, had slept the entire trip up and was ready to hit the Wodent Wheel. His cage was tucked into the corner of the doorless closet ... which somewhat muffled the spinning wheel. I finally fell asleep.
   Sometime during the night, I woke with a start. I could see the curtain over the air conditioner waving slightly. Sitting patiently, side by side, the two puppies were staring up at the curtain. That got me out of bed in a flash. I approached the curtain and sure enough, there hung Chuck staring back at the puppies. I held up my hand and Chuck jumped on and "shirt dove". I put him back in his cage and sat and watched. He somehow pushed his outside mounted nest box away from the cage and slipped out. Back he goes ... with a large can of dog food placed on his nest box and the whole cage wedged against the wall. This time he stayed!
   I go back to bed and have nightmares of Chuck and the puppies tangling. Everyone was safe in the morning and Chuck sound asleep. I put him in my shirt and off we go into town in make friends and influence people. At lunch, Chuck starts chirping loudly in his sleep. No doubt, dreaming of huge puppy eyes and drool. Serves him right for giving me such a scare.

                         Chuckie Is Eaten By A Plastic Bag
  His mother's evil twin lured him in a Walmart plastic bag to see what he would do. Well, the little devil hopped right it while it was hanging on a stick of rattan and couldn't get out. He was racing as fast as he could up the side, but kept slipping back to the bottom. Seems flying squirrels don't climb plastic bags well. But, his real Mommy saved him; so all is well. 


7-3 to 7-5              
                               Chuckie Misses The Fireworks
  Sylvia and I took her sailboat to a downtown marina Thursday night. Decided to beat the crowd and arrive a day early and leave the day after the 4th. That avoids the drunken boaters who raft up to watch the fireworks. The River City Marina is at an excellent restaurant right across the St. Johns from The Landing where all the music was playing ... too loud on their side, but nice from across the river;-)
  The fireworks were shot off between 2 downtown bridges and the marina is smack in the middle. The puppies went, but Happy, the socially challenged one, freaked out with the crowds and the fireworks. I stayed with her in the cabin, covering her with a towel ... she somehow thinks things are better if she can't see what is going on. I was able to see some of the fireworks through a small window. Carley ignored it all. Next time, Happy is going on some serious medication.
  Chuck declined to go because he doesn't want to be in ANY small enclosure with the puppies ... he's a smart boy. When I got home today, I had 16 Bob White quail chicks waiting to get out of the incubator. They were all born on the 4th and are Yankee Doodle Dandies. Those little firecrackers can really scoot around too.

7-13 to 1-15
                                 Chuck Goes to Silver Springs
  My sister met up at our cousin Jean's in Melrose for a planned trip to Silver Springs. Silver Springs is celebrating it's 125 anniversary and is noted for it's glass bottom boats and world's largest artesian springs. A number of Tarzan movies were filmed here as well as The Creature From the Black Lagoon and Sea Hunt episodes. The springs are the headwaters of the Silver River and eventually links to the St. Johns River in Jacksonville.
  Chuck was sleeping as usual when we began the glass bottom boat ride. My cousin bought me an ice cream cone full of fish pellet food to feed the numerous fish the boat passes over. The smell got Chuck up long enough to poke his head out of my shirt for a pellet. He grabbed one and disappeared, not to be seen again on the river tours. He slept through the Lost River Cruise, Jungle Cruise and Jeep Safari Ride, awaking briefly at lunch for a sip of sweet ice tea.
Chuck misses some major attractions, but does emerge for food and drink. LOL
  The two night at my cousin's were spent on the screened porch in the evenings playing with Chuck as he races around the screen trying to catch bugs. He did get a mosquito and everyone was happy. A large spider was spotted and herded toward Chuck. He remained in "statue position" and I wondered if he even saw the spider. I was debating whether to remove the spider as I didn't know if it was good to eat, but I figured Chuck would know. As the spider crawled closer, suddenly Chuck came alive and shot to the side of it onto Mommy for safety. Flyers do not like large spiders ;-)
  The last day, we went to Micanopy to tour antique shops and once again, Chuck slept until lunch for a brief sip of sweet tea. I hope he enjoys these outings as much as I do. LOL

                                   Chuckie Goes to the Dentist
  I had an appointment for my six month check and Chuck went along ... the receptionist is in love with him ;-) I told the hygienist that I was wearing him and not to freak out if he "Kilroyed" out the top of my shirt. (It is always wise to warn people who are working on you with sharp implements;-)
  Chuck was sleeping and content to be a little lump at my side UNTIL she started blasting plaque off my teeth with a sonic water pick. Chuck woke with a start and started moving around trying to find a place away from that noise. Then I remembered that flyers use ultrasonic vibrations to locate things and maybe communicate. I do not think the pick was saying nice things ... or maybe it hurt his ears as he settles down when she used the regular drill bit to polish my teeth.
  No more dental checks for Chuck. He'll just have to file his own.
                                  Chuckie, here Kitty! Kitty!
  Last night was an experiment and Chuck got 2 big stalks of fresh catnip with his dinner. I opened the cage and he jumped on my hand ready to bolt out the door WHEN ... "what is that smell?" He stopped dead in his tracks and started snorting the leaves, then nibbling them and then a big chomp on the stem. Couldn't get him up this morning ... sleeping in I guess;-)
  Then this afternoon, I filled a bowl with Peanut Bugger (which Gail says Mr. Whiskers won't touch. Chuck's little head popped out of his cotton door at the smell and he almost fell in the bowl snapping it up. BIG TIME muchies!  Gotta cut Chuck off ... at least he hasn't asked for a bong;-)

                                  Chuckie Rejects a Handout
  This evening I turned Chuck loose on the screened porch and brought him a nice big grasshopper I'd found it on the lighted front porch. Chuck was racing around the screen and I'd throw the grasshopper onto it. Chuck would run up to look and the grasshopper would jump away. Chuck was not interested. Now, I admit the grasshopper was bigger than Chuck and could spring further than he could glide, but he'd just nose it and it would hop. I'd hunt all over for it and return it to the screen. The same thing would begin again. I was getting tired. Chuck was grinning and I definitely decided to stop when I heard Chuck say, "Fetch!"
  Last time I chase down grasshoppers for him :-(

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