First off, I was NOT expecting to be as "into" nature as I am up here. If I'm not working, I'm sitting on the stoop or, lately, doing some yard work. Today I did edging (the yard kind) which I did not like one bit.
My arms are too short for the tool at its shortest and my brain really wants to use it left handed, but it's is not built that way.
But I don't even care about that right now because I have been in the slow, slow process of making friends with a squirrel. Here he is:
I've named him Rube.
I met him on July 10, when I was Stoop Kid-ing and he scrambled up onto the porch to eat a nut. He nibbled at it a bit and then went about his day. I was delighted and immediately looked up foods squirrels could eat.
Fast forward to about a week later, we bought some peanuts (and more bird fat cake to feed my birbs. I'm turning into a nature-lovin' Disney Princess, y'all!) and I started bringing them out with me for my stoop time.
For a week - nothin', so every time before I went in, I left a couple nuts on the stairs, kind of leading up to the stoop proper. Then I'd go up the Disco Bathroom and take a bath (it's not disco-ed yet, but it will be).
By the time I get back downstairs, the nuts disappeared, so I knew in my heart he was getting them.
Then, one day a couple weeks ago, I forgot to bring the nuts out! And the lil dood showed up! THE ONE DAY I DIDN'T BRING NUTS OUT!
So, I slowly scampered inside to get them. And he promptly ran away.
Now, I say "he" and I do not know the sex of this squirrel, but for some reason my brain puts squirrels in the "dood" bucket, so I am defaulting to male pronouns. I dunno if it is leftover from my High School Spanish or what, but if I ever find out different, I will make the proper adjustments. Rube can be a name for any body, I think!
I sat so still with the bag of nuts ready to dispense, but he never showed back up. So, I left a few and did the bath thing.
Yup, they were gone.
The next day, I remembered the nuts and he showed up! Mickey was out there with me and watched him eat the nut trail I left on the stairs to entice him to the stoop.
At this point, I was still to afraid to scare him away to pull out my camera, so there are no photos.
Then I started dropping nuts increasingly close to me. He'd sneak up to get 'em, pop 'em open to check that they were real, and then head down one stair to eat it, sneaking looks at us the whole time.
Then a couple days pass and we're out of the house, so I just leave nuts on the porch and they are gone when I get home.
Mickey goes back to work and I am sitting on the stoop with a bag of nuts and my bloggin' hat on, waiting for this dood to show up.
He did not, so I went inside and prepared to get my bath-in' on. One of the last things I do before heading up the stairs is to close the heavy wood and leaded glass front door.
When I do this, Rube is looking right at me. I had forgotten the nuts before I went in and he was not having it.
So I paused what I was doing and headed out there for snack time with Rube.
Ever since that day, not a day has passed that we haven't had snack time.
Some days, he's even waiting for me when I am headed out to the stoop.
Other days, if I have all the windows open, he shows up when I turn on my afternoon music.
The other day, I brought out some grapes in addition to the peanuts and he did not know what to think of them. He basically ignored them and looked at me for more peanuts.
But then I went inside and after, like, a minute, peeped out to find Rube chawin' on a grape like it was the best thing he ever had.
And it must have been, because this is how he looked at me when he was done with all three of 'em.
And this was how he STILL PEEPED at me even after I closed the heavy door.
It looks like he's all, "Please, sir, may I have another!"
Each day has been different, too!
One day, he ate all the nuts, but every time I gave him a grape he'd go and hide it for later.
Then, another day, I think Rube was trying to train me.
See? Every day, I give him 5 peanuts and 4 grapes and I usually pass them out in rotation: peanut, grape, peanut, grape... you get it.
Well, every time the grape came up in the rotation, he sniffed it and looked at me.
And got closer to me.
Until I gave in and gave him another peanut.
Dood ate all the grapes at the end though. Weirdo.
Then yesterday, Mickey changed everything by surprising me with this:
Look at it. There is a spike in the back for dried corn, which I cannot wait to buy from our local Ace Hardware. I couldn't wait to see how Rube reacted to this.
When I say I was excited, I don't think that does justice to just how giddy I was.
I have maybe two meetings a month nowadays. Once of them was scheduled for yesterday, the day I was to use this picnic table for the first time. The same time too. (We have snack time between 6-7 most days, I don't make the rules!)
So what I did was this: I put in my earbuds and had my meeting on the stoop!
All of the weird noises must have scared Rube off, but then... 45 minutes into the meeting, I see this:
He's here and he's spotted the buffet! All of my meeting focus is immediately gone. Luckily the meat of the meeting had already been swallowed, so we were in the midst of the wind down, so I didn't feel too bad.
Rube did not trust the table. He looked at me and then just walked away.
He was back pretty quickly, looking around on the ground to see if I dropped at nut or maybe a grape. I kept telling him to go to the table, and he just kept inching closer and closer to me.
What did I do? I got up and brought the table closer to me, where it seemed like he felt safe.
That's all it took. (You might also note that my Trapper Keeper I was using to write meeting notes is already close, so, yeah, meeting over!)
I told my other meeting participants that I would be peacing out and that they should have an amazing day and then shifted my focus to Rube.
He was still very unsure of the table, so I put it in the center of the stoop and went back inside to put away all my meeting gear.
Maybe he was shy like he was with the grapes.
Yup. Dood's a messy eater too, lordt. i have to sweep up after him every day.
I gotta get him a lil water cup, too, I think. I know how thirsty I get when I eat a lot of peanuts. But, yeah, he saved the grapes for the end on the buffet, too.
Okay, so that is Rube. Hopefully I will get increasingly comfortable with pulling out the camera as he gets increasingly comfortable with me. Because I can only imagine what the experience was like for my meeting mates when I saw him get close to the table for the first time.