I will be putting together my report on Furry Connection North, but I haven't really got time to organize it into a narrative today, so let me talk about the squirrel feeder and the bird^W squirrel feeder instead.
Last time around we'd decided, after some soul-searching, that we just had to start mixing chili powder in with the bird seed, as we couldn't talk the squirrels into eating out of the squirrel feeder or the loose peanuts that we tossed onto the (dirt-filled) birdbath. The results have been mixed, really. The initial response of the squirrels was to cling to the bird feeder and keep nibbling around as if they suspected they just found a freak spicy seed and somewhere around here must be something good, or shaking their heads as if that's the problem. They kept at it for several days before, for the most part, giving up.
But they haven't entirely. There'll still be a couple brave souls who at least try it out, or perhaps figure that too-spicy birdseed is still better than nothing. Possibly this reflects the squirrel feeder being in use by other squirrels --- it's not big enough for more than one to use at a time --- or possibly they're ones who haven't figured out the squirrel feeder, which does require they lift a flap. It's hard to picture squirrels being stumped by flap-lifting, but surely there are some squirrels who aren't mechanically minded.
So, the squirrels are going through the bird food much less rapidly, and we're getting more birds back at the feeder. And in a few months when the ground finally unfreezes we should be able to put the taller pole, with a baffle, into the ground and so set up a bird feeder that's hopefully enough of a bother that squirrels will go with the squirrel feeder instead.
I should also mention that we have got the most adorable squirrels in the world. Most of the extremely adorable ones are juveniles, but, they're pretty near all looking great.
Trivia: ENIAC co-creator John Mauchly was one of the first, in 1975, to order a TRS-80 from Radio Shack. He got two, one for upstairs and one for downstairs. Source: Eniac, Scott McCartney.
Currently Reading: Opus 100, Isaac Asimov. (It's been a busy weekend. I haven't had much reading time.)