Are you aware of squirrels? You should be; October is Squirrel Awareness Month! At my house, we have no choice but to be aware of squirrels. They hang out on the patio, pound on the sliding glass door, and frequently try to break in.
It all started innocently enough. My father-in-law used to feed peanuts to the cardinals, and my husband thought it would be fun to see if he could attract some, too. His efforts were quite successful - one winter evening we had twenty-two cardinals on the patio - but the peanuts quickly drew every squirrel for blocks. Now we're up to our eyebrows in bushy-tailed beggars.
Our squirrels run the gamut of rodent ingelligence from the pair that are too busy chasing each other in a furry jumble to notice peanuts to the "Hamlet of Squirrels", who clutches one paw to his breast and leans the other against the glass while he peers into the kitchen trying to convince us he's dying of hunger. Every workman who has been to my house in the past six years has been amazed by this act.
Every now and then, we'll hear a loud THUMP and look at each other and say, "There they go again, trying to break into the kitchen". A few like to climb onto the handle of my large, wheeled hose reel to get a better view into the house. Unfortunately, they often lose their footing on the smooth metal handle and fall off, slamming into the patio door. It doesn't seem to faze them (no surprise, given the size of their brains), and I'm slowly getting used to it. At least they stay outside. That hasn't always been the case.
One morning, as I was finishing breakfast, my husband opened the door to toss out a few nuts. One of the pair that usually prefers to tussle came up on the porch for a treat. That seemed to irritate his friend, who ran up and bit him on the butt, startling him so much he ran right past my husband into the kitchen. I expressed my dismay in no uncertain terms. Fortunately, the squirrel was equally dismayed and ran back out, but I now consider it my duty to loudly remind my husband, "Don't you let that squirrel into my kitchen" every time he opens the door.
Last Christmas, I decided to give my husband a squirrel he could keep in the house. His new friend came with a number of outstanding costumes and lives on the desk. Every evening when I walk through the door, I never know who I'm going to see - my favorites are Zorro and the Samurai. He dresses up all year, so every day is Halloween at my house!