Chip and Charlie, Gracie and Zoe

dsc02699I admit that I’m weird and I admit that I’m an animal lover. When you put those two things together, you get a person who comes up with names for the animals that frequent their backyard. (I feel that I know you all well enough to admit that.) The Cardinal Pair that have lived in our backyard for 6-7 years are Fred and Ethel. (Fred had to be the name of the Cardinal. If you’re a St. Louis Cardinals fan, you will totally understand that.) The duck pair are Gus and Mary. Now we have two cute chipmunks. I named the first one Charlie, and then Knitting Daughter came home for the summer and told me that there are two chipmunks, not one, and she named the other one “Chip”.Β  (Apparently this naming-thing is hereditary.) I guess Charlie is going to be short for Charlene, which happens to be my mother-in-law’s name. It’s a good name.

dsc02701The interesting thing about Chip and Charlie, is that they have taken full advantage of the fact that our trees need to be pruned. They now climb the huge bush outside the corner of our screen porch, and get themselves onto the “squirrel-proof” birdfeeders. These feeders close up when the weight of a squirrel gets on them. Chipmunks aren’t that heavy. (Although both Chip and Charlie ARE going to be that heavy pretty soon, if we don’t get that bush trimmed up.) They sit there and feast and feast and feast. They have also learned that our cats, Gracie and Zoe, won’t bother them. Well, Zoe (the smaller cat, looking at the camera) would take them out in a second if she could get at them, but since they’re outside and she’s not, she appears to be a safe bet from the chipmunks point of view. Most afternoons and early evenings, the cats can be found sitting right there, watching the excitement unfold beneath their noses. This is their favorite time of year, when it’s cool enough for them to be out on the porch, watching the birds and the ducks.

dsc02697Zoe’s other favorite place to be is curled up on my lap, whenever I sit down to knit. You’d think that having a lap of cat and a lap of Alpaca would be too hot, but so far it has been very tolerable. For those of you without cats (or lap dogs), this probably looks like a cumbersome way to knit. But you get used to it, if you’re an animal person. πŸ™‚ This is the Girasole that I’m working on – more news about that in Wednesday’s post.

Sheri goodSneakUpwentuptonight-didyouseeit?


  1. Sheri, you are not the only one who names the outdoor animals. I currently have Oscar, a frog in a drainpipe near where I park my car, Apple and Apple 2 the turtles who live in a marshy area near where I run, Half-Pint, the tiny squirrel who’s missing half his tail, and Luke & Laura, a cardinal couple nesting under the eaves of my roof (to the huge delight of my cats Max and Starli) My late great parents used to do this same thing, and so all my siblings and I continue it w/o even thinking.

  2. I don’t currently have any named wildlife, beyond the “dangit, you small chipry birds, shut up and let me sleep!” birdies who fill my apartment’s courtyard at 4AM, but in my childhood, we had racoons come up to our kitchen window and they would take eggs off of the windowsill if we left them there. We named one racoon Rose — egotistical youth me might have had a hand in that. How lovely that Zoe will sit in your lap — my blessed-of-memory calico Coco would sit on my lap for a while, then wedge herself between my back and the back of the chair, and i’d pretend that I “had” to go do something so she could have the chair. The new calico in my life, Hawthorne, is not a lap cat, but we call her the “secret snuggler,” as she will sometimes lie down next to me or my DH, and then vehemently deny later that it ever happened. (It’s a secret, after all!) My big black boyo, Edgar, won’t lap sit either, but that’s good as he’s 20+ pounds and would squish my lap flat. He’ll snuggle with abandon, though, no shame in his game.

  3. Sheri, you are not the only who knits with a lap full of cat either. As soon as I sit to knit, Jadie comes a “runnin” and insists on being right in the middle of it. I love her too much to “kick” her off. Of course, that is the time she has to look her absolutely cutest and most adorable. Do they have a sixth sense about yarn or maybe have a yarn gene? She has also decided that curling up right on top of my patterns is an excellent way to get my attention as well.( I now print a back up one just in case) And typical of a cat-a-holic, Jadie runs our household, not me πŸ˜‰

  4. Sheri,

    I love a lap full of cat, but mine (princess) prefers DH’s lap to mine. He is always warmer than I am. I love the animals outside too! We have two frogs (jeremy and jezebel) that sing back and forth to each other and some nights a mockingbird (Al) chimes in too. It is awesome. There is also a rabbit (Henrietta) and her baby (Lou) and a groundhog (Hyacynth) and her 4 babies (Huey, Louie, Dewey and Chubby) . Lovely how nature works… I am so looking forward to the sneakup! Have a nice week and hello to all there.

  5. Oh Sheri, now the secret is well and truly out of the bag. Our sassy, assertive blue jays are Joe, Roberto and Mama. Our hooded orioles (we have at least 2 nesting pairs visiting the bar) are Cal and Candy and Albert and Ann. As they raise their little ones, we’ll see them teaching them how to use the nectar dispenser. Our alpha hummingbird is Steve and all the rest of them are just a blur, quite frankly. The shy crow who swoops in to eat peanuts is Jim. Our lovely faithful mourning dove couple is George and Martha. The fat, chatty squirel is, of course, Rocky. We haven’t yet named some of the new visitors–among them, a lovely pair of big, white Eurasian collared doves (I’m pretty sure).

    We also have names for some of our favorite inanimate objects. My husband’s beloved shredder is Cedrick. My ball winder and swift are Frieda and Franz. You know, we could really mess with a census-taker’s head with all this!

  6. We have a chipmunk that lives in a hole under one of the walkway lights on the path to our front porch. He’s been there for a couple of years now. It’s so cute to watch him climb out onto the top of the light which we refer to as his “lookout tower”. He also takes shelter in the drainpipe, and sometimes even in the garage, where he likes to get into some of the birdseed. “His” name has been Alvin. That is, until a week ago, when out of the burrow came 3 little chipmunks! So Alvin is now Alvinia. The kids have been a riot to watch. My daughter set out a bowl of birdseed and sunflower seeds on the porch, and feast, feast, feast doesn’t begin to describe all the activity. Just yesterday, one of them decided that digging in the large planter pots on the porch (perhaps they’re planning on moving out of the hole) was a very good idea. Very industrious. Those little legs can fling potting soil all over the place! So today I have to sweep the porch!

    The dogs, BTW, are mildly amused by this. They’d rather sleep.

  7. I usually have a cat and dog (30 lb dog not lap dog) in the recliner helping me knit. Izzy the cat can’t wait until I move the yarn to make space and plops down on it. Then gets an attitude when I make her move till I rearrange. She also thinks dangling needle tips, cables and row counters are hers to chew and/or swat. Debit doesn’t bother the knitting unless I spin or compute. Then she (with assistance from Izzy) will get ink pens, tape measures, scissors or anything else she can find to chew. I had to put away the Alice Starmore project for the summer as two animals and 100% Shetland wool stranded are too hot.

  8. One of my 2 puppy dogs is always lying next to me, practically under me actually, when I sit and knit. I’m look for them when they’re not there with me.

  9. My cats, Clara and Elsie, are very good about avoiding the yarn. They’d rather have the tissue paper it comes wrapped it. We must sniff the yarn, then we go on our way. Bamboo needles, on the other hand, are fair game. And cat teeth + sock needles = an EX sock needle. πŸ™‚

    SNEAK UP! WOO HOO! Two of my favorite words!

  10. Love, love, LOVE how you name your outdoor critters! I too am an animal lover but I’ve never felt the need to name the outdoor critters. However, when I’m out for my walk/jog, and I run past the neighborhood chickens, I always give them a shout out “hello girls!” to them and also talk to the other neighborhood animals – – dogs, cats, llamas, burrows, guinea hens. I’m sure people think I’m nuts, but I don’t care. I enjoy seeing them and talking to them. Makes the walk/jog that more enjoyable. I too have a couple of cats and when I’m knitting my socks on two circs, the one circ that is dangling will tickle them and you see their back start to quiver. They start to look annoyed!

  11. I LOVE the porch picture! I have a kitty who likes to be on my lap under the knitting too.

    Animal lover….names the critters….really Sheri, it’s gotta be Blossom the Possum. I swear, she’ll grow on you if you give her a chance πŸ˜‰

  12. So first of all, I love the name-giving to the creatures! I also love the way Zoe looks all curled up under your Girasole. She reminds me so much of my Benson!!!!! It’s always nice to have a cat in the lap, even if they try to take a swipe at the yarn or needles every now and again. πŸ™‚

  13. Hemi, one of the new kitties, loves hand knitted socks. He holds them very gently (never chews them) and carries them around the house, occasionally “hiding” them underneath a table or the bed.

  14. it’s fun reading about your backyard animals and everyont else’s too!
    Our backyard guests get names, too, but sometimes it’s not very easy to agree on the names with all four of my daughters offering suggestions.For example, the rabbit living under our deck is currently called Tumbleweed, but just today it came out that two of the girls don’t like that name, so Tumbleweed may be getting a name change.

  15. I love your animal stories. I frequently have dog noses bunting my knitting hands and have lost some stitches due to this. Our cats aren’t much of lap sitters. However, I have found “evil” yarn balls in entirely different places from where I left them. Apparently they needed to be taken care of by the cats, Spartacus and Paris.

    BTW, my mom’s name is Charlene (she’s a Loopy Groupie as well) and I agree, it is a good name! She has an old friend that calls her “Charlie”. πŸ™‚

    Enjoy your little friends and hope Chip and Charlie don’t eat you and WH out of house and home in birdseed!

  16. Well, I have names for the red squirrels who are currently terrorizing the eaves of my house, but they are unprintable. One actually found his way into the upstairs (unfinished) bathroom over the weekend. A trap awaits, but no luck so far.

    Your kitties are very well behaved to not climb up your screens! My Wabi is very naughty that way. Ella, on the other hand, simply wants to be pasted to my lap at every opportunity.

  17. You should try knitting with both a 12 pound lap cat and a 55 pound lap dog. πŸ™‚ It’s quite the challenge.

    As for the critters in my yard, we’ve got George the raccoon, Isadora and Duncan the ducks, then there’s Wilfred and Buddy, the robins. I have more chipmunks and squirrels than I can name, though we do have Chubs, who is the fattest red squirrel you’ve ever seen. I haven’t named the bunnys yet. We have a pair this year, and I haven’t spent enough time with them yet to get them named. πŸ™‚ I’ll keep you posted.

    Sneak up!! Wo0t!

  18. Each of my Goldens has “his” squirrel and one of the cats has “her” squirrel. The other cat now loves the baby bunnies in the front yard. Lily got so excited when she saw them on Friday I thought she was going to turn herself inside out!

    Can’t wait for the sneakup…they are always wonderful!

  19. I have a lap dog or so she thinks. When I’m sitting down she gets as close as she can. Sometimes it is hard to knit like that. Snickers is a 13 yr old Jack Russell Terrier. She follows us everywhere. Enjoy the day

  20. Sheri,
    I don’t have a lap dog…but I have a lab who sits at my feet while I knit and I adore her! She loves me unconditionally and some (most!) days I really need that. Now, if I could just get to the stage where I like my chipmunks…I live trap them and bring them to the shore of a nearby lake! πŸ™‚

  21. I totally get the naming thing. I love animals too. Lexi is my lap cat. She never bothers my yarn except when I am knitting. Sometimes she sits and ignores it and sometimes she starts to chew. I think she chews when her green eyes get more green! lol I love seeing Zoe and Gracie. They are beautiful girls.

  22. I too have to knit around a cat in my lap. Fortunately both cats are well trained and don’t mess with my yarn–too often. I will admit it does get a bit warm this time of year with a furry cat on my lap and wool knitting on my needles!

  23. My MIL names all the deer in her backyard, and can tell them all apart! Such a pretty kitty too.

    P.S. This sneakup is going to kill my bank account, I just got an order in the mail and I’m trying not to order again, but I know I will…lol.

  24. I would LOVE a screen porch like that (and so would Nick and Nuala – my furbabies). It’s fun to watch “nature” in the back yard, although I’m not happy with the lumberjack bunny who likes to gnaw through some of my hedge bushes. If he ate them I’d be more understanding, but I think he does it just for fun…nom, nom, nom…tiiimber, then on to the next one.

  25. Oh, I miss my lap cat! My old girl, Simmer, was a dedicated lap cat for 16 years, and I most definitely learned to knit around her. But neither of our new cats have decided to go the lap-cat route. Maybe it’s time to try a third? πŸ˜‰

  26. no knitted object is complete without some cat fur! My big cat Max prefers that I knit around him, and since he weighs 18 lbs, that’s some reaching around, but the new young one Starli enjoys darting around and hiding yarn, socks-in-progress and tape measures. I have repeatedly said I may never finish another project until she grows up.

  27. I don’t knit with a lap full of cat. Sitting on someones’ lap might make us think Ashes (the cat) likes and/or needs us. Instead I end up with 30 some pounds of dog in my lap. And I agree with others who said everything they make ends up with cat fur in it. Mine also includes dog fur. I’m pretty sure if I ever sell my handspun I would have to include them in the fiber content. 1-2% each of dog and cat fur. At least the cat is soft.

  28. My cat, Buddy, looooooves to sit in my lap while I knit. Fortunately, he doesn’t attack the yarn, he just likes to sniff it. In fact, he’s currently in my lap right now, watching me type.

    I’m glad someone else (actually, a lot of “someone else”s according to the comments!) names the animals that live nearby. We have Magda the rabbit, Stanley and Roberta (beavers), and Jamie the squirrel- just to name a few :). My husband thought I was a little nuts for naming them…at least I’m not the only one!

  29. I don’t tend to name the wildlife, but my hubby and I do take little videos. A couple of weeks ago we took one of a little bunny eating falling leaves on the ground outside our windows. Totally too cute for words!

  30. Black Snakes are named Ralph. All of them. We have a large family in our attic and crawl space and generally around our house. The largest at any one time is Ralph and all others are ralph. Even our dog knows it, that’s exactly the sound of her bark when she is surprised by one of them. I love having them around (since they are always outside) and miss them in the winter. We haven’t had too many sightings so far this year, but by midsummer I usually see one almost every day. So yeah I name the wildlife and most people think I’m really weird about my snakes.

  31. We have Freddie and Clara, they are vultures and some times bring friends with them. Our chipmunk is named Chippy. We have 2 plastic flamingos named Flo & Eddie. I have also named my purse, her name is Ramona.

  32. I think it’s a sign of creativity to want to name your wild animal guests—and you might as well, since they’re eating all your bird food! Our dog is way too big to be a lap dog (not that he doesn’t try sometimes) but he tends to position himself so he’s resting on one of my feet. That way I know he’s there, and some of his fur is bound to waft up and get worked into the knitting.

  33. Hi Sheri, Ok, The order sort of through me for a loop–lets just go with the 6. thanks, Nancy

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