Chocolate Peanut Raisin Oatmeal Cookies

Big Pine Lodge Everything Cookies

Scroll down for the recipe , but first a story about life at Big Pine Lodge:

Chipmunks

We have chipmunks, probably hundreds, maybe thousands on our 62 acres of northern Michigan woods. If we walk out onto the deck and shake a can of sunflower seeds while hollering "chiiiiiipeeee" in a low, slow voice then we are rewarded with one, two or more of our entertaining little friends. Remember Chip and Dale? No wonder they made such funny cartoon characters. These furry little seed-gatherers are ready and willing for action, play and unbelievable fights. We have named them and can tell them apart by their scars, attitudes, condition of fur and length of tail - Chippy, Snippychippy, Scarbutt, Johnson and Bunkhouse Chippy are a few of our favorites.

Chipmunk Antics

It takes only about ten minutes of patience and an open hand full of sunflower seeds to train the first hungry little bugger who will fill his cheeks, run off to "download" and hurry back to refill. After one chipmunk has blazed the trail the rest will follow the scent trail and think the human hand is just a buffet. We can pet them while they are focused on filling their cheeks. In fact, they are often so intent on the seeds that we will pick up their rear ends and dance them around. I've even held one by the tail and he didn't care as long as his front paws could reach the seeds and he could keep on stuffing himself. For fun (and this is not animal cruelty) we have put the seeds in a clear plastic container (like the ones cherry tomatoes come in) with a hole cut out for Chippy to find her way in. If another chipmunk approaches while she's lunching she will charge it. Of course, all she does is hit the clear plastic wall, spin around, spew seeds and make us laugh. The other chipmunk will sneak back like a lion on the hunt. We have seen staredowns that last until we get impatient and make a move.

Chipmunk Wars

We usually put the sunflower seeds in a coffee can and set it on the deck. A chipmunk will come along, hop in the can and start loading up. After three seconds he'll pop his head up and stare in one direction then dive back in for more seeds. The popping up and down of his head is comical and we can't quite figure out if he's just listening or what, because he never varies the direction he's looking. Drive-by Chippy will start wars by racing by the can and knocking it. Whoever is inside will invariably jump straight out and run off, clearing the way for Drive-by to start snacking. But with short memories the first chipmunk is soon back and sneaking up. Like Chip and Dale, they tumble and rough-house and roll all over the deck. We have even seen a couple take the plunge 8 feet to the ground and scamper off still nipping at one another. The wars rage all summer and we haven't figured out how they manage to get romantic since we never see any friendly behaviors. We have learned, though, that the young almost always stay underground until they are full grown.

Baby Chippy

One morning I found a teeny chipmunk just sitting in the garden. This was the first (and so far only) time a baby has been above ground that we have seen. Too young to know what to fear, this innocent little creature allowed me to pet it and feed it some seeds. The next day I looked for it in the same place and sure enough there it was . . . but, alas, it had no tail. The poor, quivering, pathetic little furball still allowed me to pet it and feed it. I hoped it would find its way to a hole or some safe hiding place before it lost more than a tail. I'm believing it did although I've never seen a grownup chipmunk with no tail.

The Recipe for Big Pine Lodge Everything Cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix in the following order:

3 eggs

1 1/4 cups brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups peanut butter

1 stick (lightly salted) butter, softened

2 cups mixture of M & M's, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, raisins

2 teaspoons baking soda

4 1/2 cups Quaker Quick cooking oats

Roll into golf ball sized balls and flatten on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 10 - 12 minutes. Remove and cool for 2 minutes before transferring to wire racks to finish cooling. Store in the freezer.

Edge of Escape

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