I’m feeding squirrels. I started out feeding birds by putting a bird feeder up in my backyard. A while later I put up a bigger post with two feeders on it. The squirrels shinnied up the post in about two seconds and emptied the feeder. I tried and tried to find a way to keep them out. Most of the time they laughed hysterically at my attempts until the last time when I finally succeeded. They couldn’t get up the pole. I’d won. I was so excited I ran and told my wife. She congratulated me and apologized for ever thinking I wasn’t smart enough to outwit a squirrel—she seemed a little disappointed. I think she had money on the squirrels.
The next day I watched the squirrels sitting on the ground at the bottom of the post looking longingly up at the feeder like the rich man in Hell pleading to Abraham to have Lazarus dip his finger in water to cool his tongue. The next day one little squirrel looked as if he had actually lost some weight (What can I say? Deep down I’m a softy.) So I broke down and installed a squirrel feeder at the base of the bird feeder. Now I watch the squirrels as much as I watch the birds.
You can learn a lot from watching squirrels— Okay, I’m lying. You can’t learn a darn thing from watching squirrels. There basically bushy-tailed rats. If a squirrel was a person, it’d be the fat greedy kid who sees a bowl of candy and takes the whole bowl and sits down with it in his lap so nobody else can have any. When I fill the feeder, the first squirrel there spends an hour stuffing itself until it has to unbutton its pants and loosen its belt a couple notches like Uncle Earl at the Old Country Buffet. Then it starts hiding whatever is left in the feeder so the other squirrels can’t have any.
My feeder has a hinged lid and the squirrels have to lift the lid to get anything out of it. The older squirrels grab a piece of corn, sunflower seed or peanut then sit on the lid to make sure some cat isn’t sneaking up on them while they eat. One younger squirrel crawls inside the feeder until just its butt and tail are sticking out. He stays like that pounding down the grub, because coming out would just slow him down. I’ve sneaked so close I could have touched him, then my cell phone rang. The squirrel jerked his head out of the feeder, his eyes popped out like a cartoon character and he ran off and climbed a tree, but the next day he was back with his tail and butt sticking out of the feeder. Stupid squirrel.
For a while a blond squirrel and black-bellied squirrel came to the feeder, but they haven’t been around for a while. I guess they found better grade of cuisine at a different feeder. Stupid squirrels.
Recently a rabbit has started showing up at the feeder. He of course can’t climb up to the feeder so he has to be content with picking up any scraps that fall from the squirrel or bird feeders. The squirrels don’t like the rabbit. If he gets too close, they jump on him, and he runs away. When your only weapon is running away, you don’t strike much fear in the rest of the animal kingdom. Rabbits just aren’t considered a vicious animal, no matter what Monty Python says.
“For the entrance to this cave is guarded by a creature so foul, so cruel that no man yet has fought with it and lived.”
You will never see a heavily tattooed rabbit with gold chains leaning up against a lamp post smoking a cigarette.
“You got a problem, Ratface?” the rabbit asks as he flicks the cigarette butt at a squirrel.
It’s not going to happen. The rabbit would run away, because that’s what rabbits do. So he sits in the bushes watching the squirrels until it gets dark, and they leave so he can come out and get whatever scraps are left. Stupid rabbit. Does anyone know where I can get a rabbit feeder?
I’ve been doing some lectures on writing. (I call them talks, because it sounds less formal and when you give a lecture, you should know what you’re talking about.) I’m starting to enjoy doing them. Who would’ve thunk it? I may have some news soon on my new novel The Almond People. I’ll keep you updated.
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