One day as he was sniffing his way around the yard, and digging under the variegated boxwoods, he spied something new. It was on the ground in plain sight, but it was also up close to the forbidden house. He looked around, then took a few steps. Listened and looked again, and took a few more. Little by little he climbed over the low fence and crept on to the hard surface that held this mysterious item.
Get ready, get set, GO! The young squirrel ran across the hard space, grabbed the new thing, and took off for the tulip tree. It was pretty big, and not so easy to hold on to while he climbed. Remember, he was still a little boy squirrel with a tail bigger than his body.
The new thing rattled when he shook it, something must be inside! It smelled good, too. Since being brave one time today had been okay, he decided to be brave again. He started cracking the new thing open bit by bit, until he found the part that smelled good enough to eat.
Now his Momma had taught him not to just eat anything he saw, but to check with her first. This time he did as he was told, and took the nice smelling piece to her. "That is a peanut", said Momma, "and you may eat it. But you must be careful when you find them so the people in the house don’t catch you!"
Every day the little squirrel found another peanut on the hard ground by the house. He didn’t realize it was a tiny bit closer to the house each time. Little by little, the people in the house were tricking the little squirrel to come closer.
It finally happened, the peanut was right on the doorstep of the house, but the little squirrel liked peanuts so much he didn’t care. Day after day, he went bravely up to the doorstep to get his peanut. He could see the people that lived in the house through the window, but he didn’t think they could see him.
One day when the little squirrel went to the step for his peanut, it wasn’t there! He looked left, he looked right. No peanut! Oh My, there was his peanut, but it was on the inside, not out where he was. He stood up and looked in the window with his paws on either side of his face to block the glare. Sure enough, there was a peanut and the people who live in the house.
Slowly, very slowly, the window started to move. Little squirrel jumped back, but watched closely. When the people inside moved back from the window, he had to make a decision. He really wanted that peanut.
Looking left, looking right. On your mark, get set, go! The little squirrel zoomed into the opening, grabbed the peanut and made for the nearby pine tree. His little heart was beating so fast he was almost dizzy!
The next day, and all the days after, the peanut was again inside the window. The little squirrel was getting bigger now and was no longer scared. Every day he would go up to the window, stand up and look into the house. He even tapped his claws on the glass if the people forgot to bring the peanut. He no longer ran with his treat, but sat right inside the door and had his peanut. The people in the house stayed back, so he wasn’t afraid. Sometimes the man would be sitting on the floor holding the peanut and the squirrel would go up to him and gently take it from his hand.
Then one day a terrible thing came into the yard. The people called it Macho, and it was a really big dog. Mr. Squirrelah, as he was now called by the people, didn’t dare go into the house. He watched for days and the big dog didn’t go away. Sadly, he decided to move away from the house with the peanut in it. So he said goodbye to his Momma and Poppa, and started looking for a new home.
He tried several houses, but some didn’t have tall trees that were good for a squirrel's nest, many had big dogs, too, and none had peanuts. He’d go up to the windows and look inside, hoping against hope that he would find a new home.
One day he heard a commotion a few houses away. There were all different kinds of birds and a few squirrels that he didn’t know, and they were all talking about this yard. It had sugar maple and redbud trees, dappled willow bushes and flower beds and lots of places to play hide and seek. There were feeders with all kinds of seeds, and a water fountain, cut up apples, and glory be - peanuts on the hard floor by the window. Could this be his new home?? He ran without thinking and scooped up a peanut and ate it right then and there. He picked up another and another, he had never had more than one peanut a day before, yum yum yum. He got a long drink at the water fountain and then it was time for a nap. The sunny spot on top of the swing looked just perfect!
The next day, he looked in the window, and low and behold, there was a woman in there who looked a lot like the woman from his first house. The man looked different, but he seemed nice, too. There was a dog they called Lucy, but she only came to the window sometimes, she was very old. The nice people always knocked on the door before they let Lucy out so Mr. Squirrelah could hide first.
Mr. Squirrelah now lives in a hole in the tall cottonwood tree in the yard with the new people. They don’t let him in the house because of Lucy, but they do put a peanut outside for him every day. And if they forget, he reminds them by standing up, putting his paws up on the glass and tapping until they remember.
I think he will live happily ever after.
Thanks to my sister, Carolyn Lochman, for training Mr. Squirrelah, and for getting Macho so Mr. Squirrelah would find my garden. It wouldn't be the same without him. She supplied many of the pictures.
Other pictures were taken by DG members: UniqueTreasures (close up standing at tree), lilyfantn (climbing fence) & Martyboy1 (on swing)
For more fun stories about squirrels and wildllife, go to Dave's Garden wildlife forum.