if a chipmunk could chuck nuts in the chuckanuts, how many nuts could a chipmunk chuck?

Anyone around here worth their salt knows Chuckanut is a native word for “throws badly and foolishly hits in the back of the head she-who-is-hormonal-and-has-the-temper-of-a-jilted-sea lion” although colloquial, muddled translations exist owing to blockheaded imperialism. We took the boys for a walk up north in the Chuckanuts on a blue sky Sunday, last weekend.
puget sound from the chuckanuts
This low range, an extension of the Cascades and backyard to the mossy college town of Bellingham, slopes downhill (precipitously sometimes) to picturesque rocky coves on salt water and offers views of gigantic cargo ships and blue-green islands.  Our path was muddy as heck at first, so much rain this winter on the whulge. After several miles of walking later, whilst nibbling on lunch at a small, brushy lake we discovered a disheveled little bat clinging to the tree trunk at our backs. The poor thing gingerly craned its neck a handful of times to peer (forlornly, I thought) at the chewing, chomping rovers who dared so rudely disturb the dire predicament which it found itself in. One could only imagine the acute disorientation of its echolocation sensors in the presence of this strange, bickering family. We left the bat in peace, hoping it would see fit to not bite as moving wasn’t an option as we had been talking about cookies for the past two and a half miles and nothing was standing in the way (even rabies) of them and the precious curtains of sunlight which warmed our faces. Adam traded places with Oliver on the lunching log so as to better studiously observe the critter and you could almost see the bat breathe a sigh of relief.  Oliver was the fastest hiker on the way down which meant there was time in the evening for playing on the beach below the trailhead. On the way home, we worried more about the little bat.

The morning following this walk in the Chuckanuts, the first day of spring dawned. My shins were excruciatingly sore despite the seemingly gentle downhill the day before- far too many easy beach walks this winter but ah the spirits were soaring from sunshine! Two days in a row!  After several hours of gardening (mostly, cutting back a motley collection of perennial grasses left overwinter for birds and critters) Oliver Fern convinced me to stagger after him on his rusty bicycle for three miles around Green Lake for my Canadian Goose Monster Turd merit badge. Alas, the badge was earned but horrors for the absentminded, pigeon-toed albino duck which nearly collided with Oliver’s bike. Never such twisty-nifty maneuvering did you see. The squawking, jaywalking quacker shot a beeline for the bushes and Oliver was crestfallen as his Hubba Bubba bubble gum went flying through the air. The gum was promptly sniffed and gobbled up by a typically non-discerning pooch.

On the subject of Puget Sound: Finally, I’m partaking of Daniel James Brown’s The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics after being asked by the 752nd person if I’ve read it and although I’m enjoying it quite a lot I have to be honest and say I’m getting awfully tired of the author repeatedly referring to Puget Sound as the Puget Sound. The jet-set, millennial Carpetbagger iPhone Tip-Tapper Nervosas flooding Seattle the past couple years from places like New York and Pennsylvania are one thing (it takes a while to learn the local lingo) and I’ve been tolerating this sort of shitty copy editing from the The Seattle Times for the past few years (newsrooms across the country are doing more with less these days and it shows) for the sake of democracy but the umpteenth-whatever sold copy of a New York Times bestseller by the Hoity-Toity Publishing Group? Then again, my nine year old finds mistakes in his grammar books every other week (he gleefully reports them to me so we can rage together). As Weenie Arbiter Supreme of WordPress Dweeb Blogs and the Run-On Sentence Club I may not have the firmest moral ground upon which to stand but does this sort of thing bother anyone else? Am I turning into one of those lonely, batty old coots who pencils letters to the editor on looseleaf notebook paper?

6 thoughts on “if a chipmunk could chuck nuts in the chuckanuts, how many nuts could a chipmunk chuck?

  1. Ha! Thanks for the chuckles TF. I find myself agitated by the typos and bad grammar also, which I am indeed guilty of but then no one pays me to write this drivel so the hell with them. I hope the poor little bat survived! We had one hanging on the screen outside our living room window one day last month when it was quite cold. He was gone the next day. I think he was a big brown bat, much larger than others I’ve found around here. You guys will have to be on the look out for the Hubba Bubba bubble gum dog poop next round at the Lake.

    • If you’re drivel, then I’m the layer of calcified manure that’s still on the bottom of the barn floor when it has been scraped out. Seems like no one is immune- not even Maureen Dowd’s op-ed column in the New York Times, tonight. Someone got duped by spellcheck!

      Hope you’re having a good weekend, Ilona.

  2. That poor little bat! As a former wildlife rehabilitator, my guess is that the sunlight lured him out of hibernation a bit too early. Hopefully he found his way back into his little nook and dozed off again after you left him. There wasn’t much you could have done for the wee fellow, anyway … trying to rescue him would have caused him even more stress, not to mention risking a bite. Or if he was spry enough to fly, the most disconcerting backpack payload *ever*!

    I also loved your description of The Incident of the Absent-Minded Albino Duck and the Nondiscerning Hungry Gum-Eating Dog. It sounds like Oliver really earned his badge this year, if only through his expert bicycle-piloting through *that* scene! 🙂

    As for Brown’s book, THEE Puget Sound, and whether you’re morphing into one of those loony, batty old coots who pencils letters to the editor on old magazine clippings and dirty napkins: No, and no! It’s normal to be annoyed by someone else’s affectation about a place you know and love — nor should you be worried about becoming a humorless grammar grump because you pay attention to these things. I’m glad there are others who still care about nomenclature and grammar and good writing! And anyway, I’ve been looking for a new cause to adopt in my letters to the editor. The Puget Sound sounds like a fine pet for my pen.

    • Wow! It’s really neat that you were a wildlife rehabilitator! Somehow I’m not surprised. I’d love to hear more about it, sometime. Have you ever written about it on HeideBlog? As for my diatribe, a few days out from penning it have made me realize what a nincompoop I must sound like. Not unlike the slob behind homeplate who just spilled his seventh-inning beer on himself because he was yelling at the umpire to get a pair of glasses? Haha! Thanks for taking the time to read my post, Heide.

      • I don’t think I’ve mentioned much about my squirrel-repair days — probably because it was so long ago it seems like another lifetime. But I *do* still feel a twinge of anxiety at the dentist when they fire up that ultrasonic cleaning gizmo because it sounds EXACTLY like an agitated bat to me. 🙂

        But what’s this about a “diatribe” and sounding like a nincompoop? I actually had to go back and re-read your post because I had no idea what nincompoopage you might be referring to. None as far as I could see! So write on, Mr. T-Fir. No matter the topic, I always love reading what’s on your mind.

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