speaking of nuts: a squirrely tale

i still have another recipe to share, but i think i’m going to save it for another time. i had a little visitor to my yard and i feel the need to share the story. in doing so, i realize i will come across as one of those crazy ladies that has conversations with the critters in her yard. this should come as no surprise. remember chippie?

please note: all squirrely thoughts are from my imagination, extrapolated from my own limited experiences and knowledge of nature, and which are the culmination of the following sources, including but not limited to:

  1. real fact as learned from hours of watching mutual of omaha’s wild kingdom, marty stouffer’s wild america, and david suzuki’s the nature of things as a child. what? we didn’t have cable. i turned out “ok” ;-)
  2. fairy tales and imaginative books and stories where animals have been personified.
  3. things my children have taught me because they read encyclopedias and tell me things like “mommy, remember that mouse in the house last week? you know how you said you’re getting rid of it because they don’t belong in our house? yes, well, i looked it up in a field guide. and it said that it is a “house mouse.” so really, this house is its habitat, so it belongs here. just like us.” (really, what do you say to that? should i start charging the mouse rent and utilities?)

also, my apologies to mother nature for imposing my thoughts on unsuspecting animals. i am a silly human, along with the other roughly 6.8 billion of us, and as such, all squirrel thoughts will be denoted in a hazelnutty brown colour.

a couple of days ago, i looked out the window into the back yard and noticed a squirrel. not at all an uncommon occurrence here, especially at this time of year. but the problem was that this one wasn’t like the others i’ve seen scurrying about, hiding nuts and patting them down safely below the leaves. (and don’t you just love the way they dart a quick glance over their shoulder while doing this, as if to make sure no one sees what they are up to? like they’re the first squirrel to ever think of burying a nut. “i am a genius! *snickertitterheehee*

but anyway, this squirrel didn’t look quite right. i was a little worried about it, the way it had its snout down into the top of the fence like that, with its front paw clenched into a fist under its chin and the tiny back foot dangling out the side…

squirrel on the fence

i mean, what squirrel does that? i knew my daughter would love to see photos of this little guy, so i took my camera outside with me. but the truth is, i was worried that the squirrel may not be all well, so i kind of held my breath, stepped towards it slowly…they can be aggressive little things. while at university years ago, i remember walking by a garbage bin when suddenly, an angry city squirrel came running up the side of the bin chattering obscenities at me. i’m pretty sure it shook a threatening fist, too.

squirrel on the fence

no movement. at this point i’m thinking this is the cutest little thing i’ve ever seen, and i’m also a little heartbroken because it must be sick or dying to allow me to come so close to it. i am only a few feet away from it when it begins to open its eyes, ever…so…slowly…

squirrel on a fence

then it lifts its fuzzy little head and turns it slowly towards me…

and as if that was just too much effort, the heavy eyelids begin to close again…

squirrel eyes closing

and shut me out.

squirrel closed eyes

look at that sweet nose! here i am thinking this adorable little thing has chosen a sunny spot on my fence to breathe its last little breaths.

but then, i take one more step towards it. this last step must’ve encroached on its personal bubble of comfort, because it begins to sit up, does a slow-mo cat-like stretch of its limbs…

squirrel walks away

and suddenly, it darts right to attention! almost as if it remembers how it is supposed to behave around humans, with all its nervous energy and alert eyes and ears. then just like that, it scurries off the fence full speed and bounds away out of the yard.

adios squirrel!

lil guy was just having a nap!

i was so relieved that i was able to share a happy story with my daughter when she came home from school, along with the photos. but i do feel badly for interrupting a squirrely slumber. and for assuming the worst just because it was behaving differently than i expected. (that’s a lesson i could take through life with me. huh.)

i wonder what it was dreaming about…

p.s. this squirrel was no scaredy-squirrel, letting me come so close. but it did remind me of canadian children’s author and illustrator mélanie watt. my kids and i adore her books and drawings, so clever and funny. if you have a chance to read, borrow or buy any of the scaredy squirrel or chester series of books, do so. (chester is a megalomaniac cat, by the way. i mean, come on! you’ve got to read it.) they are favourites in this nutty home.

p.p.s. it’s almost friday! join me then for a new feature here. should be fun :-)

© imadeitso, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to ana at imadeitso.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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16 Responses to speaking of nuts: a squirrely tale

  1. Oh.Em.Gee he’s ADORABLE! I have a love/hate relationship with my urban fire escape squirrels…who insist upon eating–not digging up–but eating every plant I put out there. They nibble on my poor jade plant, chomp on any flower I put out there, AND they severed my rosemary plant…and left it there to wilt. So I am glad to enjoy your cute, adorable, nappy-time squirrel! (Just make sure he stays away from your potted plants…)

  2. Jess says:

    I totally would have thought that something was wrong!! Wow, I can’t believe how close you got to him! (assuming he’s a him. But I guess this post makes me realize that we should never assume anything about squirrels :P )

  3. Corey says:

    LOL The curse of the sunny spot. The instant you touch it it drains your powers of consciousness.

  4. ~*~Patty says:

    for a while there you had me thinking you were the squirrel whisperer ;) … he must have been loving that sunny spot … certainly not typical bouncey squirrel behaviour …great photos and story Ana

    A favorite book of our boys handed down by my nursery school teaching Mom was
    Miss Suzy by Miriam Young, it’s out of print, but pops up at thrift shoppes now and then

    I’m off to check out your fav squirrely books

  5. love, love, LOVE. i am extremely fond of little creatures like squirrels, and these are the best pictures everrrrrrr.

    despite my affection for squirrels, i know what you mean about being cautious around them. i was once attacked by a squirrel. it was kind of scary.

    i hope you don’t mind, but i put one of them as my desktop background.

  6. ella says:

    How sweet ;)
    It’s like having a little squirrel pet. And look at him posing for you like that.

  7. Alyssa says:

    Oh, that’s so sweet! Looks like he was just cat-napping in the sun. ;) We love our squirrels; they provide much entertainment. Now if only they wouldn’t gorge themselves on any bird food they find.

  8. That is so cool that you were able to get that close to the squirrel. Great photos!

  9. Ann Martin says:

    A hilarious tale and wonderful pics! I can’t remember ever seeing a napping squirrel and we generally have a bumper crop of them. My only squirrel story is about one who liked to sharpen his incisors on our painted metal deck furniture. He scraped the heck out of the table legs one morning!

  10. Chelsey says:

    These pictures are amazing!!! What a cutie!

    I’ve read some Scaredy Squirrel books and they’re really funny.

  11. Nancy S says:

    Love the pictures! Something similar happened to me with a bird recently. She was head under wing in my driveway and I hovered over her for a bit, not sure what to do. Normally I can’t get within 2ft of a junco before it flies off. I kneeled down and poked her ever so slightly and she looked up at me, blinked, blinked again and then I could see full panic mode set in and she flew off, perfectly fine. What’s with the animals these days?

  12. Oh, squirrel goodness!! A sleepy napping squirrel is definitely a rarity! What a lovely (if not momentarily heart-breaking) moment you had. So happy you brought your camera with you – such a delightful story (in the end) to be told.
    Squirrels make me happy, even when they yell obscenities at me from the trash can (which has totally happened to me, too).

  13. Pingback: bird feeder update: look who got busted! | i made it so.

  14. awwwwwww (in high pitched tone audible only to dogs and dolphins – not squirrels) ;D

  15. Pingback: my guest post on EnglishClub.com | i made it so.

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