A New Pet

The manfriend and I seem to have acquired a new pet. At least until we get the real pet we’re planning on getting when we get back from vacation. Man, was that a bad sentence, or what? No, we’re not getting a cat. I’ve already discussed my disdain for them. You should know better. We will be getting a dog because they are almost always less maniacal and evil than a cat. Once that pet shows up, this new, unintended pet may vanish in one way or another.

Picture of a squirrel in a tree with a nut

Last summer was our first summer in our house. Manfriend grew up on about 12 acres in rural Vermont (no, not all of it is rural, but close!) where they grew most of their own food. Therefore, he’s naturally a gardening type. So, we put in a smallish garden, some flowers, etc. The trouble started early in the spring when a pesky squirrel dug up all of the tulip bulbs (about 50 of them) I had planted the previous fall. The little shit dug them up, gnawed on them, and then left them strewn about like, “Ha, ha human! Look at the destruction. By the way, these taste awful. How dare you!” And thus began my hatred.

All summer we battled the squirrels using means that may not be legal in city limits, so I’ll not expound. They ate our strawberries, rifled through our tomatoes, and sat chattering in the trees at us like we were somehow infringing on their property.  The nerve! The fact that we back to an irrigation ditch, and not another house, allows all sorts of fun to find it’s way in to our backyard – ducks who seem to be scouting a good location for egg laying under our deck, snakes that like to coil up in my flower pots and then scare the crap out of me when I’m watering, baby raccoons who liked our basil, and on and on.

This summer our garden will grow immensely. To the point, in fact, that my dad calls it farming. He says that when someone turns a 1/4 of their yard (and we’ve got a pretty substantial yard by local standards) into an area to eat from, it ain’t just gardening. Because of this new development, we’ve already started to devise ways to combat the squirrels. Fun things like electric fences. Evil you say? What do you call pillaging all of our hard work and just desserts?

Photo of a squirrel in a tree.

Yesterday we noticed a new squirrel in the yard. Manfriend decided to start the indoctrination into the “this is not a yard you want to frequent” process immediately by hosing it down with a hard stream of water. As the squirrel climbed higher into the tree, so did he. Man, when I read that we just seem so cruel! Anyway, we then we retreated expecting the squirrel to bolt. No such luck. He just sat up in the tree watching us like, “Hey, thanks for the bath. So much better than rolling around in that drainage ditch!” And he hasn’t left the tree yet. Seriously. Except to come down and eat from the manfriend’s outstretched hand as we decided to take pity on what we can only assume is a retarded (can we use that word anymore, or has political correctness taken that one back?) animal.

So, I guess we have a pet squirrel now. At least until an obnoxious puppy drives him off. Although this little dude is so odd that he might make friends with the dog and team up with us to wage war on his brethren.

UPDATE: We’ve decided that the squirrel is a karmic payback for the hell the manfriend unleashed on the squirrel population last year. The reason we believe this is that the squirrel only likes him, thereby making him feel guilty and responsible for his little weirdo. I’ve been home sick all day and have not seen the squirrel once. Not once. Manfriend comes home and the squirrel is in his favorite nook in the tree starring at us through the kitchen window within minutes. MINUTES I tell you. It’s like he’s got some weird cosmic connection to my guy.

UPDATE #2: It just gets weirder and weirder. The squirrel is a peeping Tom. He figures out where we are in the house and then perches in the tree closest to our location and watches us. The other night we were in the kitchen, so there he was right out the window watching us. Then we moved into the living room. Over the roof he went to perch in the tree outside that window. I’m sitting on the couch minding my own business and I look out the window absentmindedly and then notice him starring back at me. He was down on his haunches, chin resting on his front paws staring at me. Little oddball didn’t even have the decency to look away. Just kept staring. Luckily it started raining soon after and so he took to hiding in the burlap sacks under our screened-in porch. Looks like he’s here to stay.

UPDATE #3: I have an admission to make. It will likely cement in your mind that I am going to hell. Good thing I don’t believe in hell. But those beliefs are for another post. Anyway, we have named the squirrel…JC. As in Jesus Christ (can you feel the flames? I can.). We chose this name because we are convinced this little creature, who is now the apple of the manfriend’s eye (though he might not admit it outwardly), is the reincarnation of the squirrel we, um, ahem, killed last year. Look, before you get all self-righteous, you plant a garden and tulips and strawberries and then watch a little furry nightmare trash it all and tell me what you decide to do! We also believe that JC (feels good to have finally come clean with the name) was either sick or injured when he first took up residence in the yard. The patch of hair missing on his right leg is growing back in and he’s a lot more peppy and energetic. This morning he was doing some sort of spazz dance around the tree frolicking in the blossoms that were falling off in the wind. Couple that with the fact that he purposefully buries the leftover peanuts the manfriend gives him in another yard (how considerate is that?) and he’s not so bad. Crap, maybe he’s growing on me too. We’re doomed if I cave also. Doomed!

UPDATE #4: I have to admit I’m a bit sad about this update, despite the fact that I’m not a squirrel fan. I have this fear that one of them will freak out and bite me and that he/she will have rabies and then I’ll be forced to have a series of really bad shots to the gut or risk foaming at the mouth and going insane. I blame this fear on Old Yeller. Anyway, we’ve not seen JC since we got back from vacation. The manfriend has gone out and done his hillbilly squirrel call (it’s uncanny – he sounds just like a squirrel. Freak!) with a handful of peanuts. Nothing. Poor little guy must have felt abandoned. I hope he’s taken up residence in a friendly yard or that he’ll come back when words out that we’re back. Because you just know there’s a little squirrel communication network where they discuss the best places to store nuts and the best yards for pillaging. I had a secret hope that JC and our new puppy (which we haven’t gotten yet, but soon, grasshopper) would become BFFs and fight off the other villainous creatures in our yard and garden like a cartoon crime-fighting duo. Bummer, huh?

UPDATE #5: He’s baaaack! Word must have gotten out that we’re home again, because JC is back in the house! Well, not the literal house. Silly I even have to qualify that! But I have no doubts he’d move right in to the guest room if we offered it up. Anyway, the manfriend went home the other day for lunch and headed out to the backyard to check on the garden. Men are funny like that. My dad always used to stop in the boiler room to check on god knows what for a good 1/2 hour when he got home. Now I live with a man who has to check on the garden the minute he gets home. It must be a good way to decompress after the day is over. I’m not sure women actually do that – the whole decompressing thing. Anyway, he headed out there with a fistful of almonds doing his weird squirrel call and who should show up? The manfriend swears JC came toward him at a dead run, almost as if he was going to scamper right up his leg in glee. Before that horror took place, JC veered off to his favorite tree and circled around it a few times before going in and taking the almond from manfriend. The tree circling thing is like this little dance the two of them do. Personally I think it’s JC messing with manfriend. He knows he’s going to take the nut, but he’s going to drag it out as long as possible just to make manfriend look like a pawn while he stands there patiently whistling to JC. Little dude must have been starving because he heffed those almonds down. Almonds used to recieve a major snub – it was peanuts all the way. But he sure doesn’t hang around the yard as much as before. Like I said before, I think he was sick when he first showed up and as he mends, he ventures further out and for longer periods of time. I guess we’ll have to spend our time watching the two sparrow families and their babies in the tree in the front yard. We even caught them in “the act” the other day. It’s like Wild America out there! But the minute they realize we’re watching, they all freeze. Like, “Hey, Bob. They’re watching us again. Freakin’ creeps. Can’t they see we’re having a private moment? I don’t care if it is out in the open, a little decency please!”

UPDATE #6: Yeah, I know. I’ve been neglectful on the JC updates. I apologize. But at least I finally got around to posting a few photos! Yay for me! Anyway, we’ve been a bit busy with the yard planting stuff and chasing off the non-JC squirrels who reek havoc. It’s a very odd thing to be contributing to the wellfare of one creature while wishing a firey death upon it’s brothers and sisters. See, JC’s never done anything nefarious in our yard while other squirrels do things like poke their little, nasty yellow front teeth through the mesh around our strawberries and nibble away half of a perfecly ripe, perfectly formed strawberry the manfriend was (literally) about to pick and give to me (what a nice guy, huh?). I mean, just eat the whole damned thing! Leaving half of it is like taunting us. Jerk. Anyway, we’ve decided that JC is, in fact, a girl. The reason being that she’s pretty small when compared to other squirrels and that manfriend has somehow decided he’s an expert on squirrel genetalia and that she has a, well you know. This prompted a, “Yeah, whatever you creep” response and eyeroll from me that I’m sure many women are familiar with. The sex of JC was confirmed, however, when mating season began in our backyard. Between the squirrels and the birds, it’s like a triple-X movie set back there! I’ll tell you that the squirrels get aggressive! Poor JC had four of them chasing her around last weekend, leaping from tree to tree like monkey’s. Little girl couldn’t get a break. At one point two of the male squirrels got into it over her and fell a good 30 feet from the top of one tree to the ground. And oh, the screetching and screaming throughout all of this mating ritual. It turned our backyard into a rather noisy, unpleasant place for a few days. Poor manfriend got all worked up about it, ready to take on all the male squirrels in defence of JC’s honor. I swear, if we lived in a rural area, he would have been out there with a rifle picking off these “suitors” like protective father’s everywhere wish they could. My response to all of this: “Where the hell is she going to have those babies?”

UPDATE #7: My little brother was in town recently and asked me about JC. Do you know how much it tickles me that my little brother reads my blog? Anyway, there was no update to give as JC has been MIA for several months. Until today. I was in the house putting away groceries while the dog was outside chewing her new bone and the manfriend was picking MORE tomatoes (will it ever end?). He comes running in the house, “She’s here! JC’s back. Give me the nuts, quick!” He was so freakin’ excited. How cute is that? Sure enough, there she was perched in her usual spot waiting for nuts. She’s a leaner, more svelt JC than the last time we saw her so we’re sure she’s had her babies and now she back to getting serious about storing nuts for winter. It was like she had never left and she totally remebered the manfriend. But what would she and Stella think of each other? Ocean held Stella up to the tree, about a foot away from the squirrel. Stella sniffed JC, JC sniffed Stella and that was that. Stella resumed chewing her bone while JC descended and procceded to bury a nut about a yard away from the dog. Perhaps my hopes of them being friends is not so far fetched. The manfriend and I also had a hearty chuckle about the fact that we have a JC and a god (dog spelled backwards) in our yard. Pretty good for a couple of agostics, no?

UPDATE #8: JC is around and she’s all good and fattened up for winter. If we ever have one. It was in the 60’s this past weekend. She may not need to hibernate at all this winter if this keeps up. Speaking of which, do squirrels hibernate? Anyway, JC and I had a break through recently. I was in the backyard trying to get Stella to identify the exact perfect place to take a crap (a process that can take upwards of 10 minutes given the size of our yard) when JC showed up. She’s pretty unconcerned about the dog and the dog is pretty unconcerned about her. They’re not a crime fighting duo just yet, but all hope is not lost. Anyway, JC made a beeline for me, which freaked me out. Squirrels generally freak me out. I think they’re going to bite me and give me rabies. But I felt compelled to give her some nuts and help out with the “fatten-up JC for the ‘brutal’ Colorado winter” campaign the manfriend is so passionate about. He needs a good lobbyist…anyone know of someone? So I came back out of the house with nuts just hoping to put them in the crux of the tree and retreat quickly. JC was having none of it. The first nut HAD to be hand delivered by me to her little paws. I tried desperately to get around this exchange, but it wasn’t happening so I finally gave in and handed her the nut. She was quick to grab it, but very gentle at the same time. And I could almost see a little, “Hey thanks lady, I appreciate you standing in for the dude of the yard while he’s away” in her shinny, chocolate brown eyes. Now I love her. I just hope the newest member of the yard menagerie, Bill the Fox, learns the hierarchy and plays nice. Yes, there’s a new player in the backyard saga. You’ll have to check back later for more on him…

UPDATE #9: OMG you guys, JC is back! After months away, she’s back. Just to toy with my emotions, I tell you. This coming and going, it’s hard on us! Just the other day I was doing some spring cleaning in the yard and found some nuts buried in one of my planters. It made me all nostalgic about JC and the manfriend and I commented on the fact that we hadn’t seen her in months. “The life of a squirrel is hard. She may not have made it through the winter, or maybe she was hit by a car,” the manfriend said. “Yeah, I suppose,” I moped. This morning Stella and I were out in the yard for her morning poop when a squirrel started down one of the trees. Stella dutifully went after her and the squirrel barely reacted. Stella stopped in her tracks and looked back at me like, “What’s this one doing? Is it crazy? Should I leave it alone? I’m so cornfused, Omega, help!” JC then ran past the dog like, “Some watch dog you are! Ha!” and climbed into her favorite tree and started dancing around looking at me. I left a very confused Stella in the backyard, she and JC scoping each other out, while I went inside for nuts. The nuts on the patio, left there just waiting for JC visits, have been out there so long that I decided she needed some new ones. I gave her her first nut right out of my hand and then left the rest for her. She gobbled them all down quickly. Meanwhile, I was trying desperately to get Stella to focus and take a poo, but she was just too distracted by JC. So now Stella’s in the house, with free-reign, having not pooped. Good thing the manfriend works close by and can check-in on her. I tell you, JC looked good! All shiny and healthy. Not the matted, skinny, beat-up squirrel she was when she first started visiting the yard. I hope she’ll become a regular visitor again this summer!

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13 Comments

  1. Ma

     /  May 6, 2010

    mua-hahahaha! Try ‘clicking’ your teeth. Sometimes they will come to you and then he can just move right on in…

    Reply
  2. Kristine

     /  May 12, 2010

    Try urbanwildiferescue.org They have some good ideas for urging the urban wildlife to move on.

    Reply
  3. Aimeemay

     /  May 19, 2010

    JC totally left when his peep show was done. He was a perv.

    Reply
  4. Stef

     /  June 30, 2010

    Ocean protect your nuts I hear the female squirrel are pretty aggressive….nice add at the bottom on your pet page..terminix…really?

    Reply
  5. Lol too funny!

    Reply
  6. Ma

     /  July 1, 2010

    I think this whole saga is one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard. I wish she’d show up when I’m there! And hopefully she’ll have her babies and then clean it up – like the deer did in the mountains, remember?

    Reply
  7. I do remember that! Vividly! You’ll have to come by some weekend morning around 10 a.m. That seems to be a regular time. Last weekend she was perched on the roof of the sun room looking in the window at me like, “Hi! I’m heeere. Can I get some nuts?” It was pretty cute.

    Reply
  8. Robin

     /  December 15, 2010

    Oh my goodness, a new member of the group? I hope Bill does play nice, or else manfriend will have to attack in full force. I’m glad to hear that everyone is getting along swimmingly, hopefully I’ll see a headline now saying ‘Stella and JC save two children from a burning building…’. I like it haha.

    Reply
  9. He’d better! My fear is that the interest Stella shows in him (she thinks he’s a dog buddy to play with) doesn’t get her hurt. And if he eats JC, well…

    And I really do hope JC and Stella become good buds.

    Reply
  10. Ha! You told me about your squirrels earlier, and they sound hilarious. Here’s a video of the squirrel in my window: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxbvkNGlh6U

    Reply

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