Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Dreadful Beast Called Mr. Squirrel

I get along well with most of the animals on the property, including the Steller's Jays that enthusiastically throw debris from my rain gutters on to the deck, and the coyotes that eat my blackberries and then excrete them onto my driveway - they love dumping in the driveway!  Sometimes they do it right in front of me!  And I'm OK with the sapsucksers that drill the life out of my trees, even though I admit I felt a little thrill of satisfaction one day when I saw one had flown into one of my windows and dropped dead on to the barbecue grill, feet skyward.   Then there were the raccoons that every September would sit on top of the grape trellis right outside my bedroom window and noisily eat the grapes, until we finally removed the vines last year.  I would have little choice but to fling open the window and yell "bad raccoon!" over and over while shining a flashlight at them, which really upset Drew, who never heard the raccoon but was always awakened by me.  Now all they do is raid the garden, which I can live with, and Drew sleeps a bit better.

I have quite a poor relationship  with the numerous Douglas Squirrels around the house, however, all of which I call Mr. Squirrel.  This dates back to when I first moved onto the property and thought I had one adorable little resident squirrel whom I named Mr. Squirrel, only to have to accept the sad fact that there are several of them, all defending their territory and chee-cheeing at me whenever I step outside.  I would never hurt a Mr. Squirrel, and did not share in Drew's delight when a barred owl moved in right behind the house and the Mr. Squirrel population dropped - temporarily.  Having said that, there are many things I find unpleasant about the squirrels.  They like to cling to the window screens - the one in the picture is on the second floor - and torment the cats.  One day this summer I walked down my sidewalk and was stunned to see one not three feet in front of me, dragging a dish towel-sized piece of landscape fabric across the path in front of me.  He stopped long enough to give me a vicious stare, then continued into the woods.  Later I saw where he'd dug up a corner of the fabric and gnawed it off.  Sometimes when I approach the guest house, which one of the Mr. Squirrels firmly feels is his, he'll actually charge me.  And sometimes they gallop across the roof early in the morning, sounding like a herd of elephants.

I can't help but feed the little guys, though.  I leaned a branch up against an old-growth stump that I feed the birds on, and the Mr. Squirrels use it as a freeway to blaze up to the stump, deny the birds what is rightfully theirs, and motor off again like Taliban fighters after raiding an outpost.  It's a nice life my little enemies have.


Kitsap Images said...

Ah come on, they are so cute! We have a war going on here with the bigger grey squirrels trying to move into Douglas Squirrel territory. I've noticed they have taken over in near by areas so watch out - they are moving north!

Tracy Zhu said...

I complain about them but they are awfully cute, and I appreciate the fact that they are native to the area and trying to hold onto their territory.