Sunday, December 19, 2010

Backyard Squirrel Succumbs to Cat Attack

Timmy or Jimmy died yesterday.  More precisely one of our resident backyard squirrels was eaten.  I found his lifeless little body at the feet of a big, handsome copper and black tabby tom cat sitting in one of our potato beds. The cat had that  expression of drunken conquest and dim contentment that usually accompanies a kill by one of his species.

When we first moved to our house in Dorchester we discovered that our neighbor had an enormous black walnut tree.  Standing a couple stories taller than our two story house, it was a favorite of squirrels, and therefore our yard, since at least half the walnuts fell on our property.  One squirrel was particularly at home on our patio and back steps.  He/she reminded me of Timmy, a squirrel my father had partially tamed.  Akron Timmy would run along the top of the chain link fence in the backyard.  My father would pull peanuts out of his jacket pocket and Timmy would take them from his hand. While I'm not prone to giving creatures human names we went ahead and named our squirrel Timmy.  Then we noticed he had a friend, who we named Jimmy.  They were our little homosexual mammal neighbors (we have very active imaginations).

The disturbing events of Saturday -- Timmy/Jimmy's opposite chattering in dismay on a branch over the big cat's head, T/J not moving, clearly quite done with this mortal plane, and then the lengthy meal -- came back to me as I cleaned up the yard (I know, it's December. We are slow) uncovering several of the squirrels' black walnut caches.  Everywhere I raked, there they were.  Even among the parsley,  cosseted in straw to protect it against the cold, had little pockets of black walnuts.  These nuts are bad for vegetable gardens, poisonous to tomatoes and prone to stunt cabbage, apple trees and peonies. As I raked up walnuts, leaves, pine needles and threw away other squirrel treats like a slice of bread one of them had been enjoying on our deck,  I found a squirrel tail.  I feel badly that I never could tell them apart, our Timmy and Jimmy, but one of the ways I work back into writing this blog is usually an obituary.  So here's to life, here's to Timmy … or Jimmy, here's to big handsome predators who let almost nothing go to waste.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I welcome comments on any topic covered in Urban Ecology. I may not respond immediately but I do read them all.