According to the forecast for this morning there were a few hours of clouds before a week of rain/sleet/snow. The overnights recently had been below zero (below 32 degrees), and the daytime temps were 3 to 5 degrees with wind chill. And because of the cold I had been thinking and worrying about my neurotic yet somehow lovable family. No, no, not my HUMAN family, I mean my squirrels! Someone has to care about them and that is going to be me! I know this smacks of me going off the deep end and “them” finding me in a few months without food or heat but a wall stacked with shelled peanuts and birdseed (with me wearing the standard ‘nutty-lady’ shapeless knitted funky hat which used to be a teapot cozy).
It is a hard job but someone has to find those moment of sunshine and feed the squirrels. And yes I anthropomorphize (attribute human qualities to non-human things) them from nose tip to tail. For example, in this picture, I am feeding Twitchy while an envious sea gull looks on. I might feed the gull except, a) they shit on me, b) they shit on my car and c) they shit on my windows. Three things which the squirrels have never done (these are three habits that tick me off; take note readers who might want a free meal at my place in the future). I call this squirrel Twitchy because he has a very short and pathetic tail which he thinks is magnificent but mainly because this squirrel has ADD. I mean, Twitchy is incapable of running a straight line, much less going two feet without being distracted. I would bring him squirrel Ritalin if they created it.
A reader suggested I was channeling Snow White to get the animals to flock around me. Not really that complicated; first make sure your feet, hands and groin smell like food (good advice when feeding squirrels, bad advice when feedings bears!). Then simply “become the squirrel!” As you can see in this picture, the squirrel and I have the same hunched over posture. I have become a version of Squirrel Santa, a giant wheeled squirrel bringing peanut gifts for all. You may also notice my NEW wonderful skull scarf I bought on Thursday. In the UK, the scarf you wear indicates the sports team you support. I am supporter of “Team Terminal.” Members of the team don’t always head for the goalposts right away, and there is often a lot of weaving about, but we all get there in the end.
At first we had a great deal of difficulty getting any black squirrels to approach. It seems that in November, like for the Grizzly Bears, the older and faster squirrels had already gone to nap (or off to a party somewhere?). So more grey squirrels and a few skittish black ones. This was one of the most confident of the grey’s who had no problem using my feet as a begging platform. I am sure he will be back with a tiny guitar and a sign soon.
Probably, like me, you want to know, “Where is Psycho?” I mean, there are black squirrels and then there are black squirrels who launch themselves right onto your lap (and try to steal from you). We went back to the grove and was approached by a cheeky black squirrel who a second later climbed up my black handrims, grabbed the peanut and did a back flip off the chair (seriously!). I like this picture though because while he seems interested somewhat in the peanut it could as likely be that Victoria is reduced to hiring squirrels as companion animals and he is pushing my chair.
So, what about Psycho? We went all up and down and every time a black squirrel ran toward me, I thought, “This is him.” But then they would get all wary and edgy and you could tell it just wasn’t Psycho. That is until Psycho’s little sister showed up. It was obvious from the way she approached that they were from the same family. However, Psycho arrives at parties with a belch and grabs two handfuls of the hors d’oeuvres you spent three hours making and stuffs them in his mouth. She, a little sister by the look of her, was obviously the one people go, “And she is related to him?” and is named after a flower like Daisy or Violet.
I mean, she walzed in with a charm and elan of the assumption there ALWAYS a standing invitation for HER. But this was enacted more like a friend or person of grace dropping in for a congenial tea in the sun than the smash-n-grab equivalent of a meal.
She climbed up, positioned herself, took what was offered and ate in those tiny sized nibbles that were beaten into us as manners of a well bred girl…or squirrel in this case.
I like to think of her as Violet or Fiona, and quite honestly it was more than a little disappointment when she turned and headed off, “Other engagements,” she said with that smile, “you know how it is.” Ahhhhh...so soon? A human and squirrel lesbian relationship is wrong right? Does that count even if we’re just dating? Still, I want her to be my best (squirrel) girlfriend. We can have a slumber party!
She never came back (I am starting to see this as a story set in WWII and she is stationed up north and we promise to write each other every day.....).
But we continued on, thought it was getting cold, very cold by this time. We feed a few more squirrels including this black one who decided instead of just jumping up and taking the peanut to turn it into an aerobics class, with the “Stretch and all the way out now....hold it, hold it, do you feel the burn?” Whatever. I’m just the dispenser of peanuts, they want to be neurotic, that’s their choice. Oh gosh, now I sound like a bad counselor. Um, what is it I say next: “I can’t make you become a saner squirrel, it has to be someone you want for yourself.”
I came, I gave peanuts, I met and had tea on the green with Psycho’s sister, I got a crush, she left me, I sulked, I gave a few more peanuts and I went home. Sort of classic day in the life of Elizabeth actually. Especially when you throw in my new “Team Terminal” scarf (The only team that LIKES going into overtime!). So I don't care what cool thing you were doing this weekend, because I want you to envy me. I communed with nature (and broke several biblical laws of inter-species attraction!)
16 hours ago