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Creek Running North

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March 24, 2004

The end

Thistle was back in the old dog run. He likes to crawl under the assorted large plastic items back there: the old pond liner, the smoker and plastic chairs, an inverted wheelbarrow. One piece of his little domain is a forty-gallon plastic trash can, minus a lid, around which he's led the dog a few dozen times.

We've had a bit of rain this winter, as I think I mentioned. The trash can was about half full of water. Mindful of mosquito larvae in an age of West Nile virus, I pulled it over to the flower beds and dumped it.

Out with the rush of tannin and water came a fox squirrel. Dead only a couple days, eyes opaque and white, his fur was incongruously clean — freshly shampooed-looking.

The can was under our oak, and he may have fallen. Or perhaps he found himself on the rim on one of the hot days we had last week, thirsty and tempted by the water, and took a calculated risk. A splashing sound, repeated, and frantic scratching of claws on plastic for two minutes? Five? and then silence and the other squirrels stare uncomprehending from the oak.

The pickaxe was nearby. I dug a trench a foot deep beneath the oak and slid him in, spread soil over him, tamped it.

Posted by Chris Clarke at March 24, 2004 10:29 PM TrackBack URL for this entry:

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Oh, that is tragic. Tragic and just plain sad.

It reminds me of hearing at one point that one should cover any hollow post of a 3" or greater diameter opening; birds can perch on it, fall in, and drown like the squirrel.

Poor, poor thing.

Posted by: Rana at March 25, 2004 08:33 AM
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Yep. If I ever need an upright trash can out there for any reason after this, I'll either puncture the bottom or put a two-by-four in there so that squirrels can climb out of the water and escape.

Posted by: Chris Clarke at March 25, 2004 10:15 AM
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I have been reading your blog through my sister's blog - Bashasgarden. I recently had an experience with a baby squirrel. My neighbor & I found a baby squirrel in her front yard. We didn't quite know what to do about it. I called animal control & they said they didn't come out to rescue squirrels. My lawn man was here at the time so we got a box, put the baby in it & set it loose out in the back of my yard in the brush, hoping it could find something to feed on. Alas, it found it's way to my patio. We put out cut up apple & covered it with an old cotton diaper......alas- the next morning we found that it had gone to the squirrel heaven.............

Posted by: MsQua at March 26, 2004 02:08 PM
decorative line of bighorn petroglyphs