I don’t actually know what verb would apply to what they were doing, and I am still uncertain of the gender of either, but the immediately identifiable Gimpy and the squirrel with cowlicks in the right places and a bald bit behind the left elbow that I b’lieve is the now-lumpless Lumpy, were hangin’ out in the tree opposite the deck. They were not engaging in the mad squirrel runabout-and-chatter territorial thing. Instead, Gimpy sat there while Lumpy sniffed (him?) cautiously, and when Gimpy moved away fairly slowly, certainly not at full speed for even a three-legged squirrel, Lumpy followed, still sniffing.
I have no idea when squirrel nookie season is, but the notion of the only two squirrels I’ve named gettin’ it on would be entirely too coincidental. Gimpy is the slightly larger of the two, Lumpy having thinned down a bit during the winter. Three legs is evidentally no guarantee against being a Bloody Agricultural Nuisance, however, because as I watched, Gimpy hopped onto the deck and trotted out of my view. He has a very peculiar trot. The injured leg, rather than dragging, sticks out stiffly behind him, sole of the foot facing up.
As I watched, he came back into view carrying a large round object the size of a filbert, attached to a waxy green leaf. “HEY!” I said, startling the cat, “That’s my camellia! That little bugger is EATING my CAMELLIA!”
And indeed, one of the large buds that I had been watching and hoping for a flower (at least, before the flu knocked me down) vanished into Gimpy’s gullet. I had no idea those things were edible. Hell, maybe they aren’t. The camellia was doing mediocre–they’re supposed to thrive on being left Absolutely Alone, and I had thought it was my neighbor’s moving them into the shed on cold nights when we were gone–but now it looks as if that little three legged bugger is getting to it.
I am torn between mild disgust–my camellia!–and the sad fact that I can deny Gimpy nothing, because, well…I mean, the poor little guy. If it was a healthy squirrel, I’ve be out there flailing.
I suspect I’m being manipulated by a three-legged tree rat. *sigh*