Goodenough Gismo

  • Gismo39
    This is the classic children's book, Goodenough Gismo, by Richmond I. Kelsey, published in 1948. Nearly unavailable in libraries and the collector's market, it is posted here with love as an "orphan work" so that it may be seen and appreciated -- and perhaps even republished, as it deserves to be. After you read this book, it won't surprise you to learn that Richmond Irwin Kelsey (1905-1987) was an accomplished artist, or that as Dick Kelsey, he was one of the great Disney art directors, breaking your heart with "Pinocchio," "Dumbo," and "Bambi."

  • 74%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

  • Google

Blogs I love and/or learn from

« The Longest Day: My Excellent Adventures Offline | Main | Are We All Blogged Out? »



Squirrels do just fine on their own. In fact, the smart ones hibernate when the going gets tough. Small birds do not have that luxury, so feeding them when snow covers the ground and temperatures are frigid is salutatory and they will pay you back in kind with the insects they eat and the lawns they aerate with theor peck-a-pecking in warm weather.

If birds weren't coming to your feeder but squirrels were, you might have taken the seed out into the woods and left it for whomever.

Please don't feed squirrels. Ever. Please don't play God with the animal world. Ever.


Bird seed (when not eaten by squirrels, rats and raccoons) helps feed weaker, less capable birds and also spreads disease because it brings species together that normally wouldn't be at the same source. Not a good thing for the bird population.


Shaun, okay, I agree (this was mostly a thought exercise), but how come feeding squirrels is playing God and feeding birds isn't? (Unless you're a Manichaean who has a good god and a bad one.)

Norma: thanks. The bird feeder was a gift rather than a purchase. It came with a bag of sunflower seeds. Now we have a sugar-water feeder for hummingbirds; I have my doubts about that too. The hummingbirds got back from Central America last Thursday and they remembered where it was.


Hi Amba:

Yeah, the God thing is a bit skewed, but to be clear squirrels have the option of taking a long nap during harsh weather when their non-stashed food supplies run low but small birds do not stash and when the going gets tough, human intervention can make a difference.

I note this in the context of playing God with cats: We rescued a little semi-feral fellow who had been abandoned this past winter, the harshest in many years in the mountains. Nine weeks after he was trapped, taken to the vets and snipped, inoculated and wormed, he is learning to trust humans and is turning out to be a big-hearted lug.

Then again, he may end up eating birds and cats.


But my hat off to you nonetheless.


*This would be the liberal solution, but also the Christian one. *


I'm a Christian woman. Don't feed the birds or the squirrels in the good weather, amba. It's silly.

This "doing good" is about your entertainment and your cats. Leave the squirrels to find their own food this time of year. Birds too.

If I were more like you, I might suggest the Jewish secular solution (that's how you identify, right?) seems to be that it's all on you to control or provide for other animals in the kingdom. I suspect you'd respond with a "?" back.


Squirrels and I have become enemies. And the neighbour feeds them. They'll eat right out of his hand. And then they come decimate my flowerbeds.

Still, I can't help myself. I will drive away the crow and protect the baby squirrel until the danger is past. How can I harden my heart against the squeals of terror and the anguished cries of the mother? Way too much for me to handle.

I still wish the neighbour would stop feeding them. He has been doing so for years (who am I to deny an old man his pleasures?) and is probably single-handedly responsible for the high population density of rodents in this neighbourhood. I haven't even persuaded him to crack the shells on the peanuts so the beasties will eat them on the spot instead of uprooting my potted plants in an effort to bury them. (I can't put a trowel in the ground without digging up peanuts, it seems.)

I wish they weren't so cute. In moments of weakness, I've been known to hand over the stale Christmas nuts. There's no hope for me.



LOL, Janet. Cuteness seems to work well for any species.

I'd make two piles of seed until the littlest looks bigger- then i'd buy my cats some animated toy that would end up driving me nuts. And, i'd never feed the squirrels again.

I like goldfinches, though. I buy thistle seed(freaking unbelievably expensive)and the chickadees can feed offn' it, as well. I hang the hummingbird feeder next to our bedroom window and i awaken to the wingbeats of hungry ruby-throated jewels. Or, high pitched-n angry squeaks of dominate males fighting off any and all competators- fierce little beggars, they are.

i am so glad to see your cross-posts (~sigh~); as i watch you nimbly skip w/two legs, your invisible 3rd having left no tell-tale scars, i nurse the loss of your face and your self like that of an amputee. C'est la vive. I might have gotten the last all wrong, but the sentiment is legible... enough.


I'm sorry, Karen. Maybe if I had really grasped how much of a hangout this was for you and some others, I would have kept going. I could've just posted less often. I don't know what came over me. I just know I like it a lot when others post. And that couldn't happen here, for the simple practical reason that TypePad charges even more to allow multiple authors.


That's ok, amba. You needed a break of your own and you even compromised that by re-inventing yourself. I just have to learn to be more flexible-- hey, i still get to visit you at Ambiance-- that's a blessing.


Karen, I think it's just coming at a bad time for you because you're changing addresses in real life too!

Lara Jane

I love your post, the last comparison made me laugh.

It is easy to forget how much we really have in common with our fellow inhabitants on earth!

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

New on FacTotem, my Natural History Blog

Jacques' Story: Escape From the Gulag

The AmbivAbortion Rant

Debating Intelligent Design


  • Listed on Blogwise

Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 08/2004