Well, she moved out, even possibly died; either that or she’s had a personality-changing stroke because whoever’s living next to us now is a slob. We had Felicia; now it’s Oscar on steroids.
As is our wont, we didn’t catch on for months. During the late summer when the walnuts were ripe and we walked in the wild back garden wearing hard-hats to stave off concussion, we saw her often. The stone garage has gradually turned into an animal-proof fortress, but she was an original tenant so we had left one small entrance for her and witnessed multiple walnut drop-offs. All good.
Only in late September did the small of rotting vegetation puzzle us. We checked for grass clippings inadvertently stored, sniffed the compost container, and looked at each other and shrugged.
Then Jon had occasion to climb up to the storage area and … good grief!!!!!
It is understood that all guest/tenants are to chew and dispose every single walnut rind before storing that nut. Everyone knows this, for heaven’s sake. Had my mother been a squirrel, I feel sure that it would have been one of the first rules of civility she taught me. What sort of idiot red squirrel doesn’t know that??
Well, Oscar, apparently. It is a hard lesson but if you simply dump your walnut rinds where you live, eat, and sleep, you either have to breathe through your mouth all winter or run the risk that your ticked-off landlord hauls away that huge garbage heap of what devolves into rotting black permanent dye while evicting you too. And the week before it snows!
The possibility exists that Oscar is a female (although I sincerely doubt it). Unless we get comfortable about issuing a death-by-starvation notice, we may even have to wait until late spring to dispossess “x” (what’s the gender-neutral objective-case pronoun?). But no more Mr. and Mrs. Nice-Guy. Your moving day is coming, Red-Tail. That lease will not be renewed, Honey!
P.S. Just now, a fat grey cousin is swaying back and forth on the old rhodo outside the window, slowly concluding, yet again, that the squirrel-proof feeder is in fact just that. Some of them may be ill-mannered ( I always blame parenting, don't you?), but nobody ever called red squirrels, the real Canadian squirrels, stupid.