Introducing Steerpike!Squirrel

It’s a bright sunny day. Which means two things: spring is here, and after I take the kids to the dentist (boo!) I can take them to the park (yay!). The Princess is excited about staying home from school and sleeping in, while the Prince is downcast because he will miss his friends. I am cautiously waiting to see if the mercury will reach 70F today, which will be a cause for celebration–or, more likely, just a mowing of the lawns. For lo, the herbiage around my humble abode doth need a clipping. If only to make the approaches more visible so the squirrels can’t sneak up.

Though really, I think the squirrels have decided Miss B is too much trouble, since there is internal strife in Squirrelandia. Yes, Neo’s throne…is in danger.

Now, Squirrel!Neo’s leadership was much in evidence during the Corn Pops War, and all through the wet, mostly-warmish winter we had. Despite that, there must have been grumbles of discontent–war heroes can’t live on their laurels forever. The little rodents were pretty active this winter, because the temperatures didn’t plunge nearly as much as they had in winters past, but the fact that it was, well, you know, winter meant that there wasn’t much in the way of calories to fuel that activity. The proportion of idiots in my neighborhood who actually feed the blasted animals seems to be constant, but there still wasn’t enough food to go round.

Squirrel!Neo savaged local birdfeeders, ravaged bulb plantings, and led his people all through the dismal winter, but now it’s spring and there’s a fresh crop of young squirrels looking to get a piece of the alpha squirrel action. Or something. Chief among them is a wiry reddish-coated lad I’ve named Steerpike!Squirrel, for his habit of pawing his way delicately along my back fence as if he’s tiptapping over Gormenghast roofs. He moves with much deliberation, this kitchen-boy-turned-wannabe-squirrel-dictator.

Anyway, this little guy has pounced on Neo and gotten smacked down more than once. Neo looks unconcerned–or, you know, as Ruler of Squirrelandia he has bigger problems. Steerpike!Squirrel doesn’t seem to be a Brutus, since he and Neo aren’t friends–he’s more a Cassius, a lean and hungry type.

Such squirrels are dangerous.

Miss B doesn’t like Steerpike!Squirrel either. Instead of the way she watches Neo–ears perked, body tense, grinning happily, just aching for him to come down and play so she can HEEEEERD him–with Neo, she narrows her eyes and sits, never keeping her back to him. And should he be in the yard when she goes out to do her business there is no HEEEEERD-ing. There is a low snaking motion of her head, and she bolts right for him, teeth bared.

I think she sees Neo as a playmate, and Steerpike as potential food. Or, you know, vermin.

Anyway, Squirrelandia is feeling the tension these days. The food situation has eased up, but the rodents are still restless. Whenever Neo appears, doing his squirrel-business, I can usually look and find Steerpike in some shadowed corner. Watching. Waiting.

This does not bode well.

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