Monday, September 8, 2008

Acting Squirrely

I have two little squirrels who like the tree in my back yard--one of the many ancient Texas Live Oaks that grace our property, spreading their long, gangly branches like crooked fingers over my back gardens. The squirrels live in the forest behind us, but all of the tree branches seem to touch somehow around my house forming giant jungle gyms for the squirrels. I have a corn cob feeder in the fork of the tree and one of the squirrels spends a great deal of time there, nibbling. He's a young fella with a long, fat tail and a warm, relaxed gaze.

And he's a bit spoiled.

He take the corn in his paws and nibbles on the kernel. The remainder looks like a yellow tooth. He tosses that on the ground. He's a picky eater. I have left him slices of apple on occassion. He nibbles out the insides and tosses the peel on the ground. It's not really a problem because we have a pair of blue birds that sits beneath the tree and cleans up the mess. Sometimes the two squirrels and the blue birds chase each other around, chattering back and forth.

What I love most about this little squirrel, though, is how he spends his afternoons. He knows that my chocolate labs are mountain dogs at heart and that they spend their afternoons with their fannies parked in front of the air conditioner. The squirrel takes advantage of this time for some private nurturing. He will stretch his belly out on a tree branch and snooze. Sometimes he digs and digs at the base of the tree then stretches his belly across the cool dirt, but he always keeps his eyes just a little bit open. I have stood beneath the tree and warned him that the vegetarian status of my dogs is questionable at best, but every afternoon he's nibbling and tossing and snoozing in that tree again. So, I guess we'll all have to learn to accomodate. Even when the weather cools, the dogs are not allowed in the back yard in the afternoon. It's not too difficult to ask. He's only out there a few hours. Everyone needs some private time.

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