Let’s say you’ve raised a squirrel from a tiny baby, released her to your backyard wilderness and multiple boyfriends, but she still comes inside to play/eat/cuddle.
One day you notice she’s gotten really fat and cranky, and has these giant nipply things on her belly. You think “maybe she’s pregnant!!!!!!!” but awhile later, the nipply things reduce and she’s not nearly as fat as when you thought she was going to have babies.
Wouldn’t you think that meant she wasn’t pregnant after all? I sure did.
Somehow, it escaped me that pregnancy has a terminus, and it’s called “giving birth.” I think it’s become obvious that I will never, ever, be Jane Goodall.
Willow has three (we think) little little squirrel babies, probably a couple of months old now, and they’re cute as heck.
Nathan met them last night, sitting outside in the cooling dusk. He heard scrabbles and squirrel noises coming from the corner fir tree, and went over to investigate. He found Willow struggling to climb the tree, apparently locked in mortal combat with Douglas.
Douglas is the cleverly named Douglas squirrel who lives in the backyard alongside Willow. Douglas squirrels are a native Oregon species, smaller, terribly cute, and very aggressive. Douglas and Willow have tangled a few times, but we thought they’d reached detente.
Now Douglas appeared to be wrapped around Willow’s head, biting the heck out of her. Nathan and Douglas were buddies long before Willow came on the scene, and Nathan has a real soft spot for the little guy, but nobody–NOBODY–messes with The Resident Carpenter’s child.
“Hang on, sweetheart, I’ll save you!!”In a flash, Nathan raced up the tree, hand-over-handing it up the branches to the battling squirrels.*
Willow looked up, chuckled, and introduced him to her son. Stunned, he slid back down the tree: A grandma.
He looked up, and high up in the branches was Willow’s first nest, with two little heads peering out. Willow and her son scampered down the tree to say hello and let her son play with her human bodyguard/mama a bit.
It’s a kinda touching moment.
From the looks of things, Willow’s son is the explorer in the family; he came right up to Nathan and played with his fingers until Willow gently shooed him back up the tree. She gave Nathan’s fingers a soft nip, to say goodbye, and herded her brood back inside the nest for the night.
We saw her this morning–she bounced out to say hello to The RC and point out that he’d accidentally closed her window. Apparently she feeds her babies in the morning, then slips out for some “me-time” to chow down on nuts and chips, and do her Nathan cuddle.
We’re not sure about the other two babies–they shyly stay up in the nest–but Nathan’s pretty sure the bold adventurer is a boy. “You can always tell by the shape of the tail,” he said.
Me, I was up at Mom’s and missed the whole thing. I’m still wrapping my head around the notion of being a grandpa.
Holy cow. Need to buy some cigars.
* The neighbors, apparently, were in the backyard, watching a giant, grown man head up that tree like a yowling cat with its tail on fire. We may have to move soon.