In this cor-nah...weighing in at thirty-two pounds: Thistle VanderMeer!
In that cor-nah...weighing in at thirty-two ounces: Chester the Squirrel!
When Chester first started raiding our bird feeder, it was cute and funny. Then it was irritating. He'd scare away the birds we hoped to feed.
I kept trying to write, but he'd drive me batty. Actually, my dogs would. Once Thistle and Pepper spotted Chester, my peace and quiet went down the toilet.
I have smart dogs. Really. And we've established their cuteness. But why do dogs' brains roll out their ears when they see squirrels? Mine throw themselves at the glass in the back door.
Of course, Chester is not just any squirrel. He's a super squirrel. He's quite large (I don't actually know his weight--he's never shared that with me), he has a white chest, and he taunts my dogs. He disappears when they, barking their flippin' heads off, scratch at the glass, but then he comes back within seconds.
One day in early December when all I wanted was some quiet, the dogs were making me nuts with this. It went on and on. By lunchtime, the dogs had worn themselves out and curled up on the couch (the couch belongs to the dogs, so this isn't naughty behavior). I sat at the table to eat, and there was Chester on the bird feeder, right outside the window. I looked from my sleeping dogs to the ever-growing squirrel.
Feeling a bit tense, I knocked on the glass to scare him away. All he did was look me in the eye and lift his left arm (I know they're legs, but squirrels use them like arms), so he was on his hind legs, standing the way Bugs Bunny does when he's leaning against a tree or something.
I felt like he was double-dog daring me to show him exactly who had control of the bird feeder. Yes, now it was personal.
I woke up my dogs. "What are you doing, sleeping? Chester's out there!" I let them out back to run around barking like wild things. Whippets can run thirty-five miles per hour, but I knew they'd never catch ol' Chester. I was hoping to scare him away.
It did NOTHING.
After a couple weeks of this, I mentioned Chester in a post. Then, that very day, he returned with an evil twin. Okay, not evil, but a twin. And maybe not exactly a twin, because the second squirrel was smaller. Let me try again: that very day, he returned with a Mini-Me Chester. I braced myself for what was to come.
He disappeared. They both did. And the house got quiet.
We have coyotes around here, and I heard them a couple times over Winter Break, barking their creepy barks late at night. One night, we heard them attacking an animal that actually screamed. I was glad we were all safe inside: Jim, the kids, the dogs, and I were all in our beds.
After a couple days, I started to worry about Chester. Ridiculous, right? I wasn't losing sleep or anything, but I felt sorry for him. I hoped a coyote hadn't found him. I hoped squirrels didn't scream when attacked.
Jim went out to reload our bird feeder yesterday. I thought about Chester. I told Jim I wished he'd come back soon.
My son was home from school with a nasty cough and I was upstairs, writing. My son said, "Mom! Chester's back!"
The dogs and I were so excited.
I kept trying to get a picture of him for this post, but every time I went toward the door with my camera, the dogs would peek outside and see Chester. They'd bark and yowl. They'd scratch at the door. Then he'd hide, and I'd stand there shaking my head. I told my son we'd have to figure out a way to get a picture when the dogs weren't looking.
Today the dogs were sleeping up in the den while I wrote. When I went downstairs for lunch, there was Chester. I took lots of pictures with my new camera (it's hard to get a good photo through glass--but notice the clarity in Chester's pic; Thistle's was taken with the old camera). As soon as I put away the camera, Mini-Me Chester showed up too. I didn't bother to get the camera again. I just watched them. While the dogs snoozed and I ate, I watched Chester and M.M. Chester raid our squirrel feeder.
The dogs are still sleeping--they're behind me right now. They'll start stirring soon, and they'll go downstairs and spot Chester through the glass.
I'm glad things are back to normal.