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  • Annie Dahlin

The animals in my yard, Part 1

Today I watched him run up the crab apple and plum trees in the front yard. Nothing left of them but their skeletons. He still climbs them, I assume, looking for any last bits of the late summer fruit. You would think he would know by now it's a futile endeavor. Even the deer know and don't come through the yard as often.

I first spotted him as a baby last spring. He was under my car in the driveway. He was so tiny I mistook him for a mouse. His tail gave him away. I worried he wouldn't survive being so tiny and on his own. And yet he had a tenacity that showed he was a lot tougher than he looked.

Almost on a daily basis I can see his fluffy, little tail swish back and forth out my front window. His little nose sniffs the air with intensity. His head and body moving in jerky movements monitoring his surroundings, running from one tree to the next. He's full grown now but still much smaller than the other squirrels that live on the property.

He doesn't yell at me like the other squirrels. The squirrel that lives in the trees off our back deck yells at me every time I step out the back door or take the trail to the river. He believes, it seems, my only motive for being there is to pillage one of his many stashes of pinecones and dried up mushrooms. There's probably an apple core or two. One late fall day this past year I saw him running through the trees, jumping from branch to branch, tree to tree, with a WHOLE apple in his mouth. It was almost as big as him. Not sure how he managed it, but he did.

Little squirrel lives out front and never yells at me. We'll cross each other's paths, pause and stare curiously at each other. I'll say hello, then we each go on our way.

The chickens don't mind him. When he runs by the chickens free ranging in the yard they cock their heads curiously at him then go back to their foraging...

(The "yeller".)

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