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Saturday, September 03, 2016

LEGENDARY COMMENTS BY GEORGE CHEVALLIER 9-3-16

Squirrels

Something we live with all the time but never really appreciate are squirrels. Sure, they can be destructive and you never want to have one in your house, but to just observe them from afar can be very rewarding.

I have managed to accumulate a sizable following in my backyard.

I have always fed them and when my boys were growing up there was always one in particular that waited patiently for his culinary treat. We named him “Chunk”. Since there were many squirrels, one would occasionally meet an untimely end under a passing car. I would quickly go out and retrieve the remains before my boys would see them. So, the next squirrel that showed up would be “Chunk” and the boys would never have to face the fact that the “Chunk” had been met an untimely death.

I even had them so tame that they would come over and take a peanut out of my hand. I did this until my niece gave me some pecans one time and I watched a squirrel crack one with his jaws. Fearing for the safety of my fingers, I never put my fingers down again. Who knows if it would be just my bad luck to have the only near-sighted squirrel on the planet?

Observing them has been pure pleasure. The former radio personality, Bill Phillips, lived over in Pinehurst and also fed a quantity of squirrels. He used to sit in a chair in his yard and dole out peanuts to his adoring and voracious audience. I now know what pleasure he got from something as simple as supplying sustenance to something so small and inoffensive.

My only experience with hunting involved a squirrel. When I was about 15, my grandfather gave me his shotgun. My mother took me out to the woods and said she would pick me up in two hours. I walked the path through the woods and finally spotted a squirrel, which I proceeded to shoot. Mom wouldn’t do anything with it but my grandmother knew how prepare it for eating. I must not have acquired a taste for it because I never went hunting again. I felt so bad about killing that little squirrel that it stayed with me to this day. I’m sure I spend as much on 25 pound bags of peanuts as some guys spend on shotgun shells going squirrel hunting.

The habits and quirks of the little critters is simply amazing to observe. Like the fact that they can’t stand to touch one another. They scamper all over the yard looking for the peanuts among the hulls that I have never been able to get them to pick up. I have to go out occasionally and rake the yard down to bare grass. But, all in all, we have a mutual understanding that I supply the peanuts and they provide the entertainment.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention the squirrel in the white house.
Other than that , you got class George.

Anonymous said...

And they are delicious.

Anonymous said...

Very few things as entertaining as watching squirrels chase each other around a tree trunk or across the tops of stockade fencing. They laugh at gravity.

Anonymous said...

We feed them too! Have been here almost 40 yrs now & they don't bother anything but some of our bird feeders. Love watching them play !

Anonymous said...

Right about the entertainment, both the squirrels and your great columns, George.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I have also been feeding squirrels at my house to for the past few years. I have named several of them - (Twofer, Squirt, and Cashew).

Twofer is by far the smartest as she always waits to be fed two peanuts and then makes a run for her hiding place. Squirt is the tamest as he follows me down to the mailbox, greets me when I get out of my pickup - and I can also feed him by hand. Cashew - I believe has passed away - but she was a gentle sole as I could also feed her by hand. She used to attach one paw to my hand and then take the peanut from my finger. She would never bite me or my wife.

George - I would like to know where you get the 25lb bag of peanuts as the ones I buy are 3-lb. bags from Supergiant. With the amount that I have been buying over the winter - it would be nice to give my hip pocket a break.

Great Article!!

Anonymous said...

I live near the Airport. Every few years a small white squirrel appears. An Albino, I guess. The squirrel and rabbit population has been smaller lately. I suspect the two Hawks flying around here are responsible...

George Chevallier said...

25 lb. bags of Jimbo's Jumbos are available at Farmers and Planters.

Beezer said...

From 8:12 Posting & 5:45 Response

Thanks George - I'll certainly make a trip over there. The article really touched a soft spot as they are really amazing animals.

Anonymous said...

It's amazing that they take a bite out of every tomato on my vines. That's why I've been trapping them and taking them to new homes at least five miles away from my yard.

Anonymous said...

I saw you feeding the squirrels a few times , I think I remember you even named them.

Anonymous said...

We unfortunately do not have any squirrels as the people who live on the other side of the woods behind us have a gabillion cats. We have friends that live in Snow Hill, and we enjoy visiting them as their squirrels are black. I have trapped and had spayed and neutered my irresponsible other side of the woods neighbors cats to no avail. They just keep bringing more home.

Anonymous said...

This is such a great article! I have several families of squirrels that I feed. Some of them I have watched over the years from tiny little babes to adulthood. I have given them names, and when I call them, they all know their names and come running for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. One of them will let me pet her. They have learned to trust me and when my dogs are out, some of them will stay down and watch me. I sing a lullaby to the oldest one and his eyes will start to flutter and his head starts to bob. They know feeding time and if I'm late, the smallest one will climb up my steps and peek in the backdoor looking for me.

They are fun to watch, and you can train them if you take the time. They ask so little and give so much. The next time you go to the store, buy some seed, sunflower seed, or peanuts and watch the fun!

I also have five families of cardinals, two blue jay families, and too many to count little birds. I feed them all!