My yard, aka the Wild Rose Café, is the local hot spot for squirrels. It all happens here—romantic hookups, nut muggings, bird feeder bank robberies, high speed chases (with each other and with cat Night Sky when he stages a successful door dash), as well as encounters with other diners: local free-roaming turkey Admiral Belvedere, swaggering crow Rogue and his wife, and cat Manitou. When all four squirrels drop in at once it is never dull.
When I first discovered that there was such a thing as a picnic table for squirrels I just had to get one for the Wild Rose Café. Something so family-oriented felt like it might calm things down a bit. At the very least it would make folks in the neighborhood chuckle and children laugh—both very needed in these challenging times.
I have never been so anxious to have something arrive. And of course that meant that it took longer than ever anticipated due to a sudden surge in demand for squirrel picnic tables. Apparently many other people had had a similar brainstorm.
The poor folks I ordered it from on Etsy must have gotten tired of all the photos I sent them of anxious squirrels eagerly awaiting their new outdoor patio furniture.
When the picnic table finally arrived, I debuted it the following day.
Everyone showed up for the great reveal, including indoor/outdoor cat Manitou. Night Sky wanted to join in, but was relegated to watching from the storm door, which he did not appreciate. He expressed his displeasure by standing up to his full height and slapping his paws against the door trying to push it open. I leaned on the door—hard—and he finally gave up. I definitely did not want the reveal to turn into a riot.
The squirrels were cautious in their approach to this new piece of outdoor furniture for all of about one minute—the allure of the nuts in the bowl on the table was strong.
The first squirrel to actually step up and sample the nuts sat on the bench properly and proceeded to stuff his face with barely a pause for breath. I got a very clear message from him that he absolutely loved being able to sit down and dine in splendor rather than having to scrounge around on the pavement or in the grass—so demeaning and inefficient. Now he could dine with dignity and speed! He also made it very clear to the other squirrels that it was a table for one—he was not sharing. Oh well, so much for family dinners!
As it turned out, he was a classy diner compared to some of the others who looked more like they were bellying up to the bar cowboy-style. One accidentally tipped the table over, and after it was restored to the upright position another stood on the tabletop to eat—clearly his Momma never taught him any manners.
One poor squirrel got tired of waiting for a turn, and decided to approach management directly in hopes of satisfaction. He got so close to me that I had trouble getting him in focus.
Crow Rogue watched the show from the VIP section (his bird bath). Manitou decided that a closer look at this new table side service was in order. His attention was quickly diverted by one of the squirrels who was scolding him from the safety of the pine tree. There must have been some name-calling because Manitou started sassing him back. Rogue lost patience with all of them and took off in search of something better.
It might not have been serene, but the new picnic table definitely drew a crowd. I could get more tables, if only the squirrels tipped for service!
Update: The picnic table remains a hit, and apparently they now feel they can make requests of me while I am relaxing in the back yard on my lounge chair (where I do not feed them). I looked up from my book to discover that one of the squirrels was attempting to join me on the lounge chair, a spot that is typically reserved for Manitou. When Manitou entered the yard and saw what was happening he expression on his face was priceless. The bold squirrel was not fazed by his appearance, and Manitou finally had to run at him to chase him off!
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A WILD WAY TO HEAL
Rose De Dan, Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC, is an animal communicator, Reiki Master Teacher, shamanic energy healer, and author. Her classes, sessions and ceremonial work are inspired by wild and domestic animals who have issued a call to action for personal and global healing.
Her book Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism features heartwarming stories about animals and their role in her evolution as an energy worker and shamanic healer.