This post is about two incidents this week, in what I’ll term “The Great Easter Cookie Caper” and I hope you get a giggle or two out of it, simply because laughs are not in abundance these days.
So it’s not a bunny trail, or even a bunny tail … but another squirrel tale.
A little backstory.
I get a kick out of the antics of Parker, my favorite squirrel at Council Point Park. After he delighted in the Christmas tree-shaped cookie and the Valentine’s Day heart-shaped cookie, I decided I must do something special for Easter for my furry pals. Then I decided why not focus on the cute squirrels that hang out at the house?
Even before COVID-19 entered our lives, I had bought the “fixin’s” for holiday cookies. Those ingredients would be Nutter Butter cookies, walnuts, pistachios and pink icing.
Monday morning was warm and wonderful – a real treat temp-wise and sunshiny as well, so I hurried and made a batch of cookies … “made” being the operative word here.
I like Nutter Butters, those peanut-flavored sandwich cookies with peanut cream in between and bought them for a Fat Tuesday treat for myself, but it was still Lent after all, so I was not tempted by these peanutty cookies, sweet icing smell and aroma of nuts. I slathered pink icing onto the surface of the cookies using that icing to “glue” in the nuts. I even made a plain, nut-free version in case someone had a “nut allergy” as I aimed not to disappoint.
I thought they were kind of cute and decided if I get invited somewhere, these would be my contribution as they are my kind of recipe – simple.
So I hurried outside, camera in hand and laid them on the driveway pavement. There was shade on the porch, so I needed to use the driveway where it was sunny. I crossed my fingers the mail carrier did not arrive and I needed to request he be careful not to squash my creation.
I took some pictures of this cache of creativity.
Pretty in pink … but no one showed up.
Hmm – that title may sound like a lament from a teenager when she dressed for the prom in a pink gown and her date stood her up – no, it is the pink cookies and the squirrels were MIA. Any other time, I open the door and am greeted by a passel of squirrels coming to greet me with expectant faces; and, if I am later than usual, they might even have front paws crossed and tapping one foot. Just sayin’. They are pretty prompt when it comes to their peanuts. Even the jays, cardinals and sparrows position themselves in the neighbor’s tree until peanuts are dispensed. Then, with more nerve than you’d believe, they even scamper or fly over when I return from walking, like it was the first time they saw me that day.
So there I stood, camera in hand, waiting by a stash of squirrel goodies … after a while, even I was a realist – no one was going to be chowing down on the cookies and it was an idea that was better left in my head.
I blamed it on the Cooper’s Hawk and suspected one had been around and my peanut-eating pals were spooked, although these munchkins ARE known to be a bit squirrelly sometimes.
I waited a half hour and no furry or feathered visitors arrived, so I put some peanuts in the shell in the basket out front and went into the house. Clearly it was not ready for prime time yet.
I even stole back to the front door, just before starting work, but alas – the treats were untouched. Then I worried a little about my pals – I clearly suspected a Cooper’s Hawk was out and about.
I started to work and was on a phone call for about 3/4s of an hour. While on the phone, I heard a loud banging on the front door. Annoyed, as the noise distracted me from the conversation, when I finally ended the call, I marched to the door, expecting to find a handbill tucked in the door handle. But no – it was my Amazon order which arrived two days early. Hmm.
But wait … the box, (fairly large, though you can’t tell from the picture the courier sent upon delivery), was surrounded by squirrels. One had a paw on the top, another was investigating the perimeter and oh look – there was Grady the Gray Squirrel on the top step, on haunches and begging for peanuts, a plaintive look on his furry face. Even the bald squirrel, now sporting some peach fuzz and emboldened by this new fur, so not so timid now, was perched on a corner of the porch leisurely eating a cookie. A glance over to the driveway told me he had the last cookie, the rest of the treats having been devoured sometime between 9:30 and 12:30.
First things first – “thank you for being like watchdogs and making sure no porch pirates ran off with the box – you all are worth your weight in peanuts” I told them. They moved in closer, on the guise of curiosity about the box, but more likely to get more peanuts dropped next to their paws – I’m no dummy.
Well, I wanted to empty the contents of the cardboard box and leave the box outside at the side of the house. I slit open the box and it was filled with packing materials so I scurried off to get a bag to put them in, and returned just a minute later to discover squirrels either peering over the side of the box or playing with the packing materials. “Where were you guys when I so patiently waited for you?” I asked. I’d have loved to grab the camera, but I needed to get back to work, so I shooed them away, gave out more peanuts to keep them occupied and set out to empty the box.
Well, smart cookies don’t crumble.
When I got back into the house, and back to my work, I thought about what just transpired and had a good laugh. I decided I needed to repeat the exercise as I didn’t want to just post the photo of the cookies alone – so yesterday became the day for …
I made another batch of Easter Egg cookies yesterday, adding some more intricacies to the design. By doing so, I was ensuring these nine cookies looked different for the second picture – no fudging here. Speaking of fudge, no chocolate was used for these treats – the icing was minimal, just enough to “glue” the nuts to the Nutter Butters, nothing to harm my nutty buddies.
I put the remaining walnuts, pistachios and some sunflower seed hearts in one cup and some peanuts in the shell in the other – it is Easter after all, so I was generous with the squirts.
That task accomplished, I had to get dressed and my butt in gear, with several factors coming into play, such as getting out before the mail man arrived as I didn’t want to say “um, please don’t step on the squirrel treats” and there should be a little sun, not wet pavement, a squirrel or two, or three – well you get it. The criteria had a little wiggle room – it was really cold! We had a 21F (-6C) wind chill – it’s early April in Michigan, and so what if 36 hours earlier we had enjoyed a 70-degree F (21 C) day! In my haste to get outside, I did not really factor in the wind which was clipping along, with occasional gusts to 20 mph (32 kph). At times I had to brace myself with my feet wide apart to steady the camera as the wind buffeted me around. If the icing wasn’t totally dry in the house, it sure would be now, so no furry faces would be smudged by pink icing, even their whiskers would remain pristine.
The plate of cookies and two cups necessitated several trips out front as I didn’t want to spill or drop anything. Then I had to return to lock the back door. In the split second I was gone, one of the black squirrels came a’callin’. I rounded the corner and he saw me, taking off in a heartbeat, telltale walnut pieces spilling onto the doorstop where he had knocked over the cup.
I spread out the goodies and it took a few minutes ‘til the posse started circling around the treats. A nibble here or there, an appetizer of strictly peanuts …
“C’mon guys – be adventurous, live a little” I urged them.
Finally one squirrel sampled a cookie with an appreciative sniff first…
… then ran with it clenched in its teeth, over to the nearest tree.
Because you never know if another squirrel will happen along and swipe that treat from your paws, it’s best to scurry up the tree as fast as you can and enjoy your cookie in peace and solitude.
This Fox squirrel quickly followed suit.
Was that Nutter Butter deluxe destined to feed the whole family? Nope, it seemed it was noshed on forever, and I am sure it was savored in its entirety by each squirrel, and not shared. I noticed that once they had the cookie in hand, er … paw, they didn’t come to the ground again.
I mused the squirrels’ tails were as laid back as they were, stabilizing themselves in the high winds, while noshing nuts, especially on a low tree branch.
I left my furry and feathered friends in a state of nut nirvana!
These are two different black squirrels, each enjoying a treat.
I got ‘er done, scattered the rest of the walnuts and pistachios and some peanuts in the place where I usually feed them, then I headed into the house.
Happy Easter to you all.