Those of you who are faithful readers of my blog already know, our backyard is a certified National Wildlife Habitat. I love providing food, water, and shelter from the harsh Illinois climate to our furry and feathered friends. The garden just hums with the constant sound of life as it scurries and evolves in our diminutive urban sanctuary.
Enter Rocky. What has normally been a peaceful and respectful critter community has been converted into an ornery whirling dervish of squirrel rascallyness. Yes, Rocky was born of these lands so lovingly referred to as SunDay Gardens. He’s been known in past seasons as a small fur ball to scurry down the mulberry tree behind his protective mama as she showed him where the feeding station was located, even allowing him to timidly approach me for a peanut hand-out now and again. How cute and special is that, I ask you?! So many Kodak moments for sure.
Then came the summer of 2016. Rocky is a year older and is now the badass of the garden. He is kicking ass and taking names for sure. He is so mischievous I’m wondering if they have squirrel Prozac available anywhere. This is his home; it’s all he’s ever known, and making himself at home is the mantra he’ll take into the afterlife. There is an abundant smorgasbord at his disposal. There’s cobbed corn, raw peanuts in the shell, loose squirrel corn, torn bread pieces, and sunflower seed in a large bowl laid out for the easy grubbing. Boy, this would be heaven for any squirrel population. Um… You’d think anyway.
Rocky eats all that is meant for him and anything else that isn’t nailed down as well. He climbs the post with the hanging birdfeeders and tries eating off the plastic surrounding the small feeder holes meant for the cardinals, doves, and wrens. He tries swinging from the hummingbird feeders. Don’t even ask how he gets up there because the feeders are looped over the curved arms of a free-standing metal 6′ pole. Then there’s the cat-feeding station where he seems to love IAMS. Don’t forget the dish of pellets for the bunnies. Even the birds won’t eat those. But nothing is too tasteless for this little guy.
When it comes to our 6 watering areas, that’s an issue unto itself. There isn’t one he doesn’t frequent whether it sits on a pedestal or is nestled among the groundcover. The fish pond. Oy vey! Every day Rocky seems to think his job is to knock over the water spout whose function it is to keep the water filtered, moving, and aerated. I’ve passed by the area several times where the pump is gurgling helplessly from a submerged state waiting for me to right it back up. I finally had to secure the apparatus in an iron surround. Let’s not forget the heavy, and I mean heavy shell-shaped solid cement birdbath that somehow managed to be knocked over crushing our family heirloom variegated hostas. I had to have help picking it up off the ground because it was that weighty. Oh happy day!
The Fairy Garden sits atop several stacked wooden pallets. The other morning, I unexpectedly happened upon the Rockster who now seemingly was the leader of a gang of 4 all stuffed up inside the little cubbies of the pallets condominium-style. Once they saw me round the corner it was like, ‘Cheese it! It’s the cops!,’ Not unlike the Keystone Cops they scurried every which way into the roses as if they were aware of the ‘let’s split up’ theory of Criminal Behavior 101 on how not to get caught.
Rocky and I have also engaged in water wars. While I’m watering the garden, he’ll do everything to sneak up on me or get past me without getting wet. Of course, I can’t let that challenge go unnoticed. The little dickens will go one way and gets a shower, tries going around the house and come at it from another angle, and still gets a shower. It seems to be a cat and mouse game he enjoys playing. He’s probably thinking, ‘I can’t get anything passed this wicked woman!’
Most of our silly interactions are just fun and/or harmless annoyances. He’s pretty comfortable at home is all I can say, and I’m glad it’s our home he’s picked as his hangout. Rocky totally rocks! … Sandy