Melissa Fischer. wild in Michigan. naturalist

My new maid is a non-lactating squirrel

Tyrant, the red squirrel that calls my yard and walnut trees home, has been busy bringing nuts into my shed a few hours a day.

Last winter I watched Tyrant spend hours and hours chasing larger squirrels away from the drift of walnut trees out back. I assumed Tyrant was male because this chasing behavior seemed aggressive and futile and I judged it as masculine. I also named the squirrel Tyrant at this time. This squirrel really seemed the jump-on-your- face-and-eat-it-off type of critter. When spring came I realized I was a judgmental idiot as soon as I spotted Tyrant’s six huge lactating boobs hanging out of her fur.

Last year Tyrant used the woodpile for winter shelter and food storage. The pile was a horrible choice for a shelter since the wind blows directly at the logs and its kind of a cramped space.

Now she’s back to stock piling winter treats and has moved from the drafty woodpile to my shed. I had “face the squirrel” on my to do list for a few weeks. A few friends mentioned, “You have got to kill it/get rid of it. Those things are trouble.” I didn’t have any intention of killing Tyrant, but knew I should check the well-being of my shed. I was shocked when I opened the shed to investigate and/or get my face eaten off by Tyrant, figuring I’d see a trashed mess of red squirrel destruction. Instead this is what I saw…..

Tyrant’s nuts stacked neatly in my empty flower pots. For the love she’s neater than me!

She also had a little nest in the most protected corner furthest away from where the winter wind blows. Now I know a lot of readers have an Aunt whose house was terrorized by a red squirrel eating through the screen and gorging themselves on appliance wires, or perhaps a cousin who had a red squirrel fill his attic to the rooftop with shit after biting their baby’s leg, but I’m letting Tyrant hang out in my shed this winter. She’s neater than I am so really, the way I see it, I should invite her to live inside and get her started on whipping this place into shape. I’m not too worried about Tyrant’s new shelter. She is just looking for food, water and shelter for the winter, which she now has secured neatly in my shed. I’m confident she is not going to branch out into gnawing weed whacker string because she saw it done on a reality show or that’ll she’ll try to create a larger home by destroying the shed windows because she read about it in a fancy glossy magazine.

A lovely sunrise I watched on a run through my best friend’s orchard.

Chickadee hanging out on the deck.

See the cool pattern on this grasshopper’s leg?

See how the cool leg pattern is missing on the other side of this grasshopper? I bet a million dollars a bird snatched its leg and the rest of the grasshopper got away.

bright color in the garden……


A Great Blue Heron downtown Grand Rapids in the Grand River. (lower middle)


24 responses

  1. Neat!

    September 7, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    • melissakoski

      ha ha literally (:

      September 7, 2012 at 9:17 pm

  2. I cracked up when I read: “face the squirrel”… I can just picture you putting on camouflage gear, getting your face painted and having this little sticky note on your mirror saying “face the squirrel” and getting all psyched up for the showdown… Rambo on a mission lol
    I do have a creative imagination :)

    September 7, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    • melissakoski

      I usually try to wear olive or green when I’m working in the yard so I’m less obtrusive and more likely to get great photos. And I DID take a big breath and say, “I’m going in.” Mostly to make myself chuckle, but Tyrant has been in there and stared me down unmoving just a few feet away from my face.

      September 7, 2012 at 9:19 pm

  3. suzysomething

    Melissa, these are all wonderful! You have so much life in your yard and I love to see all the critters, up close and personal. Your tale (pun intended) of Tyrant had me laughing out loud—like the comment above, I could just see you all geared up for battle. ;o)

    September 7, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    • melissakoski

      Thanks a million Suzy (: This squirrel and its antics have provided a lot of entertainment during some long winter days!

      September 7, 2012 at 9:20 pm

  4. Pingback: My new maid is a non-lactating squirrel « Suzysomething Thinks Out Loud

  5. I am glad I am not the only one who gives squirrels a name — we have about a dozen in our backyard and I’ve named each one of them. My wife only knows a few of them by name, but they like her anyway.

    September 7, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    • melissakoski

      I have about 9 “regulars” that hang in the yard and only two are the same color so they’re easy to differentiate. Congrats on your 5k of cycling this year- wow!

      September 7, 2012 at 9:28 pm

  6. What a fantastically funny post – I love this Tyrant and look forward to more stories about her!

    September 7, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    • melissakoski

      Thanks Julie. Tyrant is so entertaining year round!

      September 14, 2012 at 7:28 am

  7. TheBlackTwig

    Tyrant is so cute! I guess she has an OCD hahaha!

    September 8, 2012 at 1:59 am

    • melissakoski

      Dahlia I have an anal squirrel. I really need her guidance (:

      September 14, 2012 at 7:30 am

  8. Ciao Melissa, great reading this post , what a neat squirrel! So funny….bless the little critters cotton socks, as we brits are wont to say, nice shots. :-)

    September 8, 2012 at 3:35 am

    • melissakoski

      Ciao Lynne, I love that saying and have never heard it before. I’ve got to add that into my day today! Hope you’re doing well and feeling fine. (:

      September 14, 2012 at 7:33 am

  9. louisva

    I wish I could make my red squirrels at my cabin to behave. Instead they eat the cabin! Great pics as usual, Lisa!

    September 8, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    • melissakoski

      I was thinking of your squirrels Louis and that’s what made me nervous before going into the shed. I’m sure she’ll tear it up as the fall progresses into winter! It seems you get all the violent animals that are eating faces off and tearing up houses and mine are suitable tea companions and neat and orderly. Hope you’re having an awesome week Louie Lou!

      September 14, 2012 at 7:35 am

  10. you should get Tyrant a glossy magazine subscription for Christmas. it comes earlier every year, you know.

    September 8, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    • melissakoski

      Well I keep my National Geographic and Michigan Outdoors, but ran her out the Vogue that keeps appearing in mailbox until I felt guilty for filling her living space with the toxic chemicals from the perfume samples and obnoxious dyes in the ads. Hugs my brother!

      September 14, 2012 at 7:38 am

  11. Two things: Tyrant is a brilliant name. I’m so very impressed with your shots of the five-legged grasshopper, especially in light of the attempts I’ve made at photographing his kin down south. You’re seriously making a case for being my favorite blogger. Okay, three.

    September 9, 2012 at 1:37 pm

  12. melissakoski

    Oh Sid thank you so much. I felt a little guilty about being in the grasshopper’s face so much as it doesn’t have much ability to escape! It was still out in the same are of the garden yesterday. (: Happy Friday Sid!

    September 14, 2012 at 7:40 am

  13. I had to laugh about this. At our house in Oliver Woods, the red squirrel became my husband’s arch nemesis. His first big mistake was calling Critter Control (who only managed to capture a chipmunk and still charged us $50 despite my husband’s argument the chipmunk was not the target rodent). His second big mistake was buying his own traps and masterfully baiting them himself (a practice which soon inspired me to dub him a Master Baiter)! LOL!!! I still can’t even type that without laughing. He never did catch much of anything, though, and I’m sure the red squirrel still reigns supreme at 7256 Oliver Woods Dr., S.E. Now that I think about it, he probably moved me out here to this God-forsaken desert to get even for the nickname!! Even so, it still makes me laugh. Great shots, as always, Melissa!

    September 15, 2012 at 2:06 am

    • melissakoski

      How funny Lisa. These critters are so comfortable and I’m sure that if I trapped one another would just take its place beneath my shed within the week! Tyrant has been so busy stashing I’m afraid nuts will come rushing out at me next time I open the door.

      September 17, 2012 at 6:56 am

  14. Cioa , Melissa the correct brit saying is….bless his/her cotton socks….when someone gives the Ahhh feeling! Get it?

    September 22, 2012 at 3:18 am


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s