Squirrel vs Pole, Part III

I have never outlined a book before; the most I do, about a third of the way into a particularly challenging project, is put some highlights in brackets further down the document to ignore when I get to those particular events. But apparently, there’s a portal fantasy with a love triangle in my head that wanted an outline, so I spent yesterday afternoon switching between housework and getting the skeleton of a brand-new trilogy out of my skull.

As procrastination and a “day off” goes, it wasn’t too bad.

Anyway, I was telling you about squirrels and Crisco.

When last we spoke, Preggers McGee (who, if she is not gestating, puts on a grand appearance of it) had shown Batgirl just how the getting of birdseed was done. Batgirl nosed at the falling seeds, casting nasty glances up the bird feeder pole, and Olsen Twins probably thought he’d gone to squirrel heaven, where manna in the form of No-Waste Birdseed falls from the sky.

I stared, mouth slightly open, and the Princess exhaled in wonder. The Prince flinched when Preggers’s hind claws slipped. “I don’t like this,” he said, darkly…

…right before said hind claws gave out, and Preggers hung from the heretofore-unplundered bird feeder, her back legs scrabbling for purchase. If you can imagine a furry, rage-spitting piñata made of arboreal rodent and scattering shrapnel far and wide, well, you’ve pretty much got the idea.

“Oh, shit–” the Princess and I chorused, and Preggers McGee fell.

The Little Prince winced again, this time in sympathy. But Preggers didn’t splat on the decking.

Oh, no. Instead, this gravid squirrel curved in midair, as if to perform Batgirl’s signature cat-in-a-cartoon trick, and landed, with a thump that shook the entire deck…

…right upon Batgirl.

“Oh, no!” I gasped.

“HOLY SHIT,” the Princess weighed in at the same moment.

“BE CAREFUL!” the Little Prince yelled.

“…be careful?” the Princess enquired, a half-beat afterward.

Then the squirrels exploded.

Wigs came off. Heels went flying. Hair was pulled. Olsen Twins, seeking safety in distance, scurried away with a full mouth, squeezed through the deck railing, and ran up a handy fir trunk. Squeak-screams of “BITCH THAT’S MAH POLE” and “YOU ASSHOLE” echoed through the backyard. My fork clattered into my bowl, because both my hands clapped over my mouth. The Princess half-rose, watching with her eyebrows fully lifted.

“STOP IT,” the Little Prince yelled, thinking he could restore order through sheer volume or just excited, I guess. “MOM! THEY’RE FIGHTING!”

“I know, honey,” I managed to say, muffled by my hands. Had I more time, I might have warned him not to underestimate the hormones in even a pregnant squirrel, but there wasn’t a moment to make such an observation.

Because Preggers, slightly slower because of the extra burden in her swollen belly, was simply not having any of this bullshit. Not only had she landed on a convenient pillow, but she was motivated, which all added up to one thing.

She whupped Batgirl’s fuzzy ass.

Batgirl made for the same fir trunk Olsen Twins had scampered up, but Preggers wasn’t finished. She got hold of Batgirl’s tail and climbed the the other squirrel’s back like a rodeo rider crossed with Spiderman and lit with napalm. Birdseed flew, spattering the French door, and we all flinched in unison.

Batgirl finally escaped, and Preggers strutted around the bird feeder pole, chittering some version of “THAT’S RIGHT, MOTHERFUCKERS, I GOT A FAMILY TO FEED, DON’T FUCK WITH ME!”

“And she’s pregnant,” the Princess breathed, sinking back into her chair. “Wow.”

“I felt like that a few times, carrying you two.” I finally dropped my hands. The deck was a mess, coated with wasted birdseed, because the squirrels like the bigger bits and the birds don’t want to be on the deck floor cleaning that up with the Mad Tortie staring through said French door at them.1 That’s just a step too far for their little prey-wired nervous systems. “Jesus Christ, what a mess.”

“You know, you could probably move the pole…” the Little Prince said, nervously.

“That would mean they win,” I said, darkly. “I’ve got another idea.” We watched Preggers complete her victory laps and stuff herself with enough birdseed for herself and her passengers, then she scampered off into the dusk.

And I, once my pasta was finished, headed for the kitchen cabinets.



Two Black Rhino running leashes, two Ruffwear harnesses, one locking carabiner from my climbing days, and we finally have a solution for two active, inquisitive dogs at once. I really like the Black Rhino leashes; I just wish they made a dual one with a thicker belt. That’s a small quibble–with the carabiner, the leashes can be kept at the small of my back, which means I can use my body weight to shift both of them at once.

Sir Boxnoggin loves walkies almost as much as he loves running. You can see him yearning for the fire hydrant, eager to lift his leg and tell the world he was here. Miss B, on the other hand, sticks close unless there’s another dog to be seen, in which case she wishes to make acquaintance in the worst way and is in danger of teaching Lord van der Sploot bad habits. Our next walk will include a small spray bottle for deterrence purposes.

It’s always something. But we got a good walk, Sir Boxnoggin is happily splayed on the hall floor to cool down, and all is (mostly) serene in the land of Canine.

Have a good weekend, chickadees.

Squirrel vs. Pole, Part II

Settled in for dinner the night after Batgirl and Olsen Twins discovered the glory of the bird feeders, we were all expecting a repeat performance. Despite the mess the dashing duo made, I was even mildly amused at the prospect.

My amusement lasted until we were mid-dinner, then turned to something close to terror. The Princess looked up–her seat gives her a clear view of the deck–and her eyes widened. “Uh, Mum,” she said, conversationally, “there’s three of them.”

At first I thought she meant three Olsen Twins, since we were discussing the previous evening’s bird feeder antics, and I was momentarily confused. Then I turned my head, and saw Batgirl shimmying casually up the pole. She grabbed with her back feet, stretched out as if gravity had been momentarily turned off for all plump genius-gymnast squirrels, caught the left-hand bird feeder in her front paws, and proceeded to begin her own snacking.

“Son of a bitch,” I said, and the Little Prince, as usual, giggled.1 There were, indeed, three of them.

The new arrival was somewhat portly, or so I thought before she sat back on her haunches, watching Batgirl with great interest, and showed rows of enlarged teats down either side of her swelling torso.

“Huh,” I said. “I think she’s expecting.”

“Expecting what?” the Little Prince wanted to know.2

“Mom means knocked up.” The Princess glanced at me. “Uh, pregnant.”

“If she isn’t, she’s doing a good imitation.” I wondered if squirrels were supposed to be spawning in midsummer, or if she was a late bloomer, or if I was wrong and she was just a particularly successful birdseed thief.

The world may never know.

Anyway, Preggers McGee (for so I christened her, making the Princess almost irrigate her nose with mirth-pressurized milk) watched until Batgirl had her inevitable slip. Batgirl did the same “fall, halt in midair, turn feet towards ground, land like a ton of bricks” she’d done the previous evening, and Preggers hopped down from the deck railing, shouldered a grazing Olsen Twins aside, and gave Batgirl an arch look.

“HONEY, TAKE A REST,” Preggers cheeped, and launched herself at the pole.

Have you ever seen a maybe-gravid squirrel pole dance? I’m here to tell you, my friends, it’s a helluva thing. She twisted. She turned. She held on with one hand while the rest of her spun like a propeller. In short, she showed Batgirl that while female youth and inexperienced is glorified in our culture, it’s experience and grit that gets you the birdseed.

In short, she made it to the top of the pole, where two metal arches blossomed, ending in the hooks from which the bird feeders depended. The pole swayed slightly, a windchime on one of the lower arms giving out a mournful tinkle, and a patter of birdseed fell.

“Oh, shit,” I breathed.3 But I needn’t have worried–at least, not yet.

Preggers balanced atop the pole, threw Batgirl a smirk, and shimmed down a little so she could brace herself against where the arches joined the central pole. She stretched, a ponderous taffy-loop of squirrel, and reached the bird feeder Batgirl hadn’t managed to plunder (yet). A shower of birdseed fell, and Olsen Twins was singing hosannas of joy to this new savior.

Batgirl, however, was less than pleased.


A Dark Day-Eye

These fellows caught my attention at the garden shop yesterday. I brought none of them home, having learned the hard way that “full sun” is not something one gets with seventy-year-old fir trees hanging around. But it was nice to talk to them, to see all the green things…and to get an iron trellis for a certain part of the yard. I almost got a hydrangea vine to put on said trellis, since those do all right in shade, but in the end thinking of digging another hole in that corner undid me and I left with supplies but not a single plant.

It had to happen sooner or later. There weren’t even any sad little lumps on the clearance racks begging for a home. I’m grateful, I suppose–I am full-up on save-this-poor-soul projects at the moment.

Have a good weekend, dear Readers, and I hope you find something beautiful during it.

Short Hiatus

Good morning, dear Readers. I trust your weekend went, if not splendidly, then at least well. It was incredibly hot, and quite uncomfortable, but they say yesterday was the worst of it. I am left just hoping the weatherpeople are right.

I’m taking a couple days off my regular blogging schedule in order to let things settle a bit. Changes are afoot chez Saintcrow.

In the meantime, I’ll be around occasionally on Mastodon and Twitter. Odd’s last vet bills were considerable, so if you’ve wanted to pick up a subscription or one of my books, now would be an excellent time. (Leaving a review or even just a star rating at the platform of your choice would also be most welcome, if you’re so inclined.)

See you in a little while, chickadees.


Miss B needs more walks these days since she’s getting a little old to take long runs with me. On this one, we came across a dandelion still holding onto to shreds of its sunny face. Or at least, I did, since she was busy searching for something stinkalicious to roll in.

For some reason, the little fellow made me feel better. Hold on, it seemed to be saying. Just hold on.

I’m trying.

Heat, Hood, Cool

Robin Hood
© | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Almost every window is open, the birds are furiously attempting to entice mates, and this morning’s run was a little too warm for my comfort or B’s. Nevertheless, we stuck to shaded routes, saw a number of crow feathers–it must be molting season–and Miss B is no longer looking around the house for Trundles constantly. (Just frequently.) She seems to have consigned his whereabouts to the large pile of mysteries she knows she is not to worry about, mysteries meant for Mum who seemingly controls all things.

I wish I were as easily soothed.

In any case, she’s sacked out in the hallway, enjoying the cool. Soon it’ll be time to close the house up and turn the AC on, turning the entire structure into a dark cave. I’ll miss the birdsong, but heat is definitely not my friend. Ever since that one time in San Diego when I got heat exhaustion so bad I thought I’d die1 I’ve been sensitive to the mercury rising.

Fortunately, burrowing into a dark cave will let me work on HOOD with the proper mindset. Hiding in the woods, coming out to strike a swift blow, retreating…yes, that’s a very Robin Hood thing, and I think my version of him actually enjoys it. Whether he does or not, the exigencies of the situation call for it. He’s got a whole planet to hide on, but he might like the urban wilderness better. I just have to find enough rich people for him to steal from.

There’s no shortage of those with class-based inequality going around.

Anyway, my head is stuffed full of generation ships, folklore, Sir Walter Scott, and picaresque. Hopefully that rich stew will help this story rip its way free of my corpus. I should get the subscriber benefits for the week out of the way, too.

Hopefully you have a dark cave to rest in too, my friends.

Over and out.