The Suitcase Lady


January 24, 2017, 9:25 pm

One of our best Christmas presents was a fifty pound bag of peanuts. Two people and a herd of cats obviously cannot eat an almost unliftable bag of nuts. The squirrels in the Tooley Café, however, are in an elevated state of bliss.

The peanuts came with a red, metal, doughnut-shaped dispenser. Minutes after we hung the contraption from a branch in our Café the squirrels arrived, both the big grays and the little reds.

They use two methods to get at the treasure within; the top down approach via branches and the bottom up approach. The Tooley Café chair (which washed up on the beach one day) is used for the later.

The squirrels take turns pulling out the nuts, racing away with the nuts in their mouths and shortly returning for more. We deduce there is a lot of caching going on here. Either that or our squirrels just like to eat in privacy, and we’ll soon have the fattest squirrels in the neighborhood.

The squirrels do have some competition. Our resident family of five blue jays loves the peanuts. They wait patiently on a branch a few feet above the feeder for a squirrel to leave. Then they jump down to extract a nut before a squirrel returns. They have to work hard to free a nut from the metal cage; beaks apparently aren’t as skilled at this task as squirrel paws. After scoring the peanuts, the jays fly up onto a higher branch and bang the nuts on the branch until they open.

Thus far, despite the flurry of activity, harmony reigns around the feeder, with one exception. One jay finds it easier to grab the peanut out of his friend’s beak than to do the work of extricating it from the cage.

There has been a new development the last several mornings. The squirrel feeder is missing when we wake up. My husband has to go searching for it in the woods. This has all the earmarks, or paw marks, of raccoons. Apparently, there have been some big peanut parties in the woods at night lately. The squirrel feeder now has a curfew… it goes into the garage when night falls.

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