Warm fall days had turned into winter and Mr. Squirrelah felt at home in the tall tree. There were several Pin Oak trees full of acorns in the next yard, plus the nice people put sunflower seeds out in a feeder, and every now and then an ear of corn. He was plump and happy, living the life of a bachelor squirrel; no problems, just good times.
As the leaves started to break their buds in the springtime, and the daffodils popped up to bob their heads, Mr. Squirrelah was feeling a bit lonely. He left the tree when it was warm and began meeting the other squirrel families in the neighborhood. There was a noisy family in the Silver Maple, he could hear the babies squeaking for their mother when they were hungry. He played hide and seek and tag with the other squirrels his age and loved chasing the bumble bees while they made their way from flower to flower. Every day was fun and an adventure.
One sunny morning, Mr. Squirrelah and the other squirrels could sense a weather change. The wind started blowing, the clouds were heavy and dark. Mr. Squirrelah shivered, it was getting cold again! That isn’t supposed to happen this late in spring, but just the same, Mr. Squirrelah went up into the tree into his hole and pulled some dried leaves in after him.
The wind was howling, and cold rain started to fall. The temperature fell, then fell some more. The rain turned to ice and coated everything it touched. Mr. Squirrelah could feel the tree tremble every time the wind blew. The branches of the tree were bending more than ever before, he could hear cracking and crashing all around him.
The ice continued all through the night. Mr. Squirrelah poked his head out just once, and decided to stay put. He hated to admit it, but he was scared!
Hang on! The tree he lived in made a deep groaning sound, and Mr Squirrelah could feel it shudder. Crack, like the sound of lightening, Bam, like the sound of a gun. The big branches of the tree were breaking off, including the branch with his hole. Mr. Squirrelah was hanging on for dear life, being thrown back and forth in his home. He felt the wet ice and the wind on his little face, and then the hard thud as the branch hit the ground. He didn’t dare move, but he slowly checked to see if anything was broken. He was a bit banged up, but luckily not hurt bad. His home, however, was now open to the ice and wind, not a nice place at all. Pieces of ice had shattered like glass all over the ground.
He carefully crept out and down the branch the rest of the way to the ground. It was hard going as the ice was building up again. He went up close to the nice people’s house, and hid behind a trellis that had hay and leaves piled up around the bottom. He was wet and he shook and shivered.
Finally the storm broke and gradually the sun came back out. Mr. Squirrelah and the other animals came out of hiding to look around. The yard was a disaster. At least half of the trees had lost big branches, and some were totally out of the ground. The nice family came out and cleared away the broken branches. They made sure the feeders were full so everyone had plenty to eat. The fountain where they got fresh water was missing its head, but it still had water trickling. The daffodils and flowering bushes were gone.
Mr. Squirrelah helped the families with babies make new homes. They were temporary, but dry and warm. There weren’t many high branches left, and Mr. Squirrelah began to realize that he was going to have to find a new place to live.
After one last visit to the nice people, and waving goodbye to the other animals in the yard, he headed back to visit his parents. He remembered the way back down the hill and through the yards. He stopped and smiled as he saw his Momma in the distance, and waited to see how long it would be before she saw him. When she did, they ran together and gave big hugs!
Join us next time as we follow Mr. Squirrelah as he visits his Momma and Poppa.
To read part one, click: The Squirrel in My Garden
Pictures by Carolyn Lochmann