This post is way overdue. After all, I filled my blog with many tales about all my “porch pals” during the Fall of 2018 through early Spring 2019. Then, all of a sudden, there were no more posts that mentioned my furry and feathered friends who greeted me each morning to enjoy peanuts on my front porch.
You already know that Parker is my favorite squirrel at Council Point Park; well, Grady was the neighborhood counterpart to Parker.
There’s always a backstory.
There’s always a backstory and for some of my newer followers, I’ll give you the scoop about Grady, along with photos that you can see from prior posts.
In late Summer of 2018, a casual toss of a few peanuts to a cute Gray Squirrel that suddenly appeared when I walked up my driveway, began a chain of events and provided fodder for many blog posts.
I was at the tail end of my Ziploc bag of peanuts and I said “you’re new around here – we don’t get many Gray Squirrels; do you want a peanut honey?” He was a tad nervous but scampered over a wee bit closer and I dumped out the rest of the bag of peanuts for him. I said “it’s your lucky day, bye now” and walked into the house.
The next morning I took the car as I had errands to run and didn’t get home until a little later than usual. I pulled into the driveway to find this cutie pie sitting on the front porch. I said “were you waiting for me all that time?” I always carry peanuts on me, they are in a Ziploc bag inside a mesh bag that hangs on my fanny pack. In the Winter, I carry them in my coat pocket.
So, I fished out a few peanuts and put them on the corner of the porch and he ran to get a couple, then took them “to go” to bury them. After that day, every time I’d return from my walk or errands, there was my furry friend, waiting for his peanuts. I named him “Grady the Gray Squirrel” and our daily ritual was peanuts on the corner of the porch, sometimes tossed out from the front door, even before I left for my walk. The peanuts were always gone when I got home. I began to give him more and more peanuts. He always took them with him, but remember that this was Fall, so he was socking away those nuts for the long, cold Winter when foraging would be impossible.
Soon the frost was on the pumpkin, then our first snowfall and Grady was still showing up every morning. He’d see me walking out of the house and soon was a blur of gray as he scurried down “his tree” across the street and raced over to meet me. After Daylight Saving Time ended in early November and the sun rose later, I would open the door to check the walking conditions, crossing my fingers for no ice or snow. It was early daylight and there was Grady on the corner of the porch, waiting on me. Well, being an animal lover, my heart just melted. This was the exact same relationship I had with Parker at Council Point Park. He would always come to see me on my arrival at that venue. So, I tossed out some peanuts onto the porch and watched Grady carry those peanuts up to the brick ledge that ran along the front of the house. Not only was he nimble to climb up the bricks, but he also was a pretty smart cookie to do that, because the ground was frozen by then and there was no digging those sharp claws into the earth to retrieve any peanuts buried in good faith several months before. This way he intended to have a snack later that day.
When freezing rain and snow coated my roses which I’d not yet pruned for Winter due to all the rain that Fall, it was Grady who stalked me along the chain-link fence while I took photos of the crystallized rosebuds, frozen in time on November 14th. These are some of those photos.
“Patience is a virtue Grady” I told him while he paced anxiously, so I tossed him a few peanuts to tide him over while I meandered around the yard looking at the frozen precip on my roses and perennials. I couldn’t open the front door as it was sealed shut with ice.
I began to give Grady more peanuts, some before I went outside, and more when I got outside before going on my walk. Despite all our interactions, he was always wary of me, as I loomed large at the screen door. Of course, he was not seeing the glass that separated us when I stood and watched him at the door window. I managed to click off a series of shots for this post back in February. If you click here you can see Grady on the porch that day.
Soon it became the “Morning Munch Bunch”.
Just like with humans, whenever the goin’ is great, and there is somebody that isn’t part of that action, they want a part of it too. And, as is often the case with humans, someone has to overstep their bounds and be a spoil sport. So, this was true here as well and Grady and I could not continue this exclusive relationship forever. Yup, someone else wanted some peanuts to munch on too.
First, two black squirrels began nosing around and became regular visitors to the porch . I’d open the door in the morning to put out peanuts and counted noses – one gray and two black squirrels. Gray squirrels and black squirrels are much smaller than Fox Squirrels (like Parker). They don’t just run, but they spring forward, hopping like a pogo stick to get around. They are very timid around humans … I see that with Midnight, the black squirrel at the Park.
Soon I could be counting beaks as well as squirrel noses, when a pair of cardinals and blue jays were joining in the morning feast. It was a joy to watch and I knew they would be eying the front door, waiting for me to open it and toss all the peanuts out onto the porch. In the beginning the squirrels took their peanuts to go, but then the ground was so frozen … why bother trying to bury them? They ate their peanuts right on the porch. The birds did their usual swoop and swipe. If you click here you can see the black squirrel and cardinals as March came to a close.
But beware, because a bully was lurking about.
And then something happened. A big, fat Fox Squirrel decided he wanted a part of this peanut party. This intruder with the wide hips and a big bum that sported a long and bushy tail was pushy. He would not just take one or two peanuts and leave – no, he was piggy and parked himself on top of the peanuts, only moving from where he sat, to access the next ones that he would shove into his mouth, thus monopolizing everyone’s breakfast.
That slight shift in position by the Fox Squirrel to get more peanuts was all poor Grady needed and he made a mad dash to retrieve a peanut. The Fox Squirrel was angry and chased Grady into the street. I witnessed the whole scenario as I rounded the corner to go into the garage. If a car was going down the street Grady would have been a goner, a wet spot on the pavement.
I was angry. Defending little Grady, I yelled at the Fox Squirrel and chased him off the porch. Grady didn’t return, nor did the black squirrels or birds. It was the same the next day as the remaining peanuts stayed on the porch, still in the shell and untouched.
A few days later, I went out to walk and the Fox Squirrel had returned and was happily noshing those nuts on the porch from the other day. I watched Grady approach slowly, then he chased poor Grady off the porch and I cringed as he dashed into the street once again. Grady, always timid, bolted and headed for his tree and retreated into his nest, his safe haven.
So I stopped the ritual all together right then and there. I did not want to see Grady run over in the street. But of course, my decision caused there to be other losers in this little morning breakfast ritual, not just the peanut eaters, but myself too. I enjoyed watching and photographing the bevy of birds and furry fellows coming to feast on peanuts. I didn’t open the door anymore in the morning for a very long time to dissuade any critters from anticipating a change of heart on my part, but there were no more handouts … period.
I decided if I saw Grady on his side of the street, I’d give him some peanuts. I think he purposely has been ignoring me, and it made me feel badly. My actions weren’t intended to scare him or stop feeding him.
Last Saturday after the 5K event at Council Point Park, I was later than usual arriving home, and there he was – up in his tree. I went over to take some pictures, and pulled out the Ziploc bag and jiggled it and held it high in the air. I spoke softly to him, clicking my tongue as well to entice him to come down, but, he ran further up the tree and rebuffed me, staring down at me like I was a stranger.
I took his picture anyway and you see a disgruntled-looking pose, even the side-eye, neither which I deserved I might add . The black squirrels have not been around either and I assume they, like the cardinals and jays, have moved on.
There is one in every crowd who must ruin the status quo for others.
Below are a few pictures of Grady that I took last Saturday. Quite honestly I’d rather see him aloof than lying dead in the street … I’ll try to win him over again, so stay tuned!