It was quiet here once

I’m pretty sure a half-dozen critters from the 1980’s television series, “Fables of the Green Forest,” just moved into my neck of the woods.
Yes, folks, I’ve got “Chatterer Squirrel,” “Paddy Beaver,” “Grandpa Frog,” “Uncle Billy Mouse,” “Jimmy Skunk,” and “Bobby Raccoon” living here, along with a handful of new recruits—“Chip Chipmunk,” “Morris Crow,” “Mervin Magpie,” and “Suzie Starling.”
Best-selling author and humourist David Sedaris should come over and take notes. Undoubtedly he could find enough chaos in this caper-filled neighbourhood to write his next book.
Herein lie the goodies for a sequel to “Chipmunk Seeks Squirrel.”
When I was growing up, I wanted to be an animal vet and I practised my budding career on the unfortunate birds that flew into our living room window.
There I was pumping those little wings and blowing puffs of air into the bird’s little lungs. What was I thinking?
At the very least, if I couldn’t be a vet, I wanted to have a big farm where I could take in disadvantaged critters and give them a place to live out their days.
I should be careful what I wish for.
“Sammy Blue Jay,” the yappy one around here, is the biggest tattletale of the bunch. Never mind that I just saw him put the run on the chipmunk and steal all the dried bread crumbs out of the bird feeder.
The canine capers have but to put one paw out on the front step in the morning and the blue jay is announcing to anything within earshot the dogs’ arrival on the outdoor scene.
And it was “Sammy” who caught me poking in a piece of chocolate as I crossed the yard from my car.
“Cheater, cheater!” was all I heard as the bird’s beak flapped and the chocolate touched my lips. The blue jay’s fondness for acorns indeed may be credited with spreading oak trees after the last glacial period, but he’s a snitch just the same.
Now, if I could just train the raucous fowl to publicize the arrival of “Jimmy Skunk” to the neighbourhood, I wouldn’t have to find out “Stinky” was here by alternative (i.e., catching a whiff of my dog after he’s already made it past me and into the house).
Alas, the chipmunk duo lives on borrowed time in my neck of the woods given that two cats patrol the farmyard. I’m not sure why the cute little rodents have defected from the safety of the chipmunk herd that resides at the peanut farm next door, but I’m most pleased to have their company.
I’m endlessly fascinated with the chipmunk comedy circus. Aptly named “Chip” and “Dale,” they get along fine as long as they aren’t within 10 feet of each other during the nut haul.
Otherwise, it’s an end over end fight for status—sort of like the scraps my brother and I had when we were young.
And the only way to tell one chipmunk gender from the other is by their investment management skills.
“Dale” cracks the peanut shells right on the spot and pouches the contents, sometimes stuffing in 10 or more morsels of peanut. “Chip” just pokes three whole shells in his jowls and runs off.
Only a female chipmunk would take the time to break things down into an organized and manageable system.
And when I cry a river over the cost of peanuts, I must remember to weigh the price against when I lived in B.C., where chipmunks preferred canned oysters and M&M candies.
My nemesis is “Paddy Beaver.” I long for his life span to get shorter every time I see another tree missing along the bank across the creek.
His nocturnal nature is going to get him in trouble if my new night vision goggles arrive on time. There I’ll be, hiding behind the scrub maples at 2 a.m. with a golf club and a gunnysack full of rocks.
And then there’s the “SQUIRREL!!”—the only word my dog, “Cash,” understands. Utter the eight-letter declaration and like a bat straight out of the “Meatloaf” song, both canine capers are all over the situation.
But “Chatterer” Squirrel is no dummy and because of the wit involved, I believe we are dealing with a female. She is the best dog baby-sitter I’ve ever had.
“SQUIRREL!” and the dogs take their stations at the bottom of the tree for hours waiting for her to come down. Meanwhile, she’s skipping around the evergreen canopy shopping for pine cones.
At least that’s how relatively simple life was around here until the other day when I opened the porch door and was met by Murphy’s Law as five squirrels—seemingly flung from slingshots—seized the opportunity and made a mad dash for the safety of the basement, followed by two blaring dogs.
I could just see the news headline, “Five squirrels fend off dogs only to get their tails tangled together and require surgical intervention to get them apart.”
Like I said before, I need a holiday.

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