Creatures Great and Small

“Where’s My Food?”

By Robin Ulbredtch

As I sat at our dining room table reading my Bible I looked out the window and saw a large, reddish-brown colored squirrel looking in at me. The squirrel sat on top of the six-foot long piece of weathered two-by-four that makes the top frame piece of the gate to our picket fence. He just stared in the window at me as if to say, “Where’s my food?”

Our home is constructed with two large windows, a 9 ft. long by 4 ft. tall picture window in the living room (on the front of our house) and a 6 ft. long by 4 ft. tall window in the dining room (on the right side of our house as you look from the street). We hung bird feeders and bird houses from the eaves of our home, locating them in places where we can watch the little critters as they feed. I enjoy this very much!

This large squirrel, who regularly visits our home, figured out how to get into one of the bird feeders that hangs near the end of the house, above the concrete slab in our driveway. This mischievous fellow makes regular visits to the bird feeder. Nearly every day, at least once, he climbs up the fence, travels across the top of the gate, jumps up on the roof of our home, and scampers across the roof, making his way to the bird feeder. After getting in the feeder, he scratches, pushing the bird seed out of the feeder and on to the concrete slab. Then this mischievous fellow climbs down, stuffs his mouth full of seed, and returns the same way he came. We see him jump down from the roof, make his way across the top of the gate, climb down the fence, and scamper away.

Recently the bird feeder that this squirrel regularly visits hasn’t been refilled with food because we don’t want him dumping all the birdseed on the ground. Therefore, the squirrel hasn’t been able to get much benefit from it.

Sometimes when I see the squirrel sitting on top of the gate looking in at me, as a game I call my dog Skippy over to the window and try to show him the squirrel. Knowing that Skippy can’t reach the fellow, I try to get him to chase the squirrel away. If Skippy happens to see the little critter, he bolts across the kitchen floor—barking all the way—and races out his doggy-door, to chase the squirrel away. Lately, I think the squirrels is figuring out that he’s up too high for the dog to reach him because the squirrel is getting bolder and coming closer to the window.

Today the bold, little creature unknowingly put on a mini theatrical performance. At first he sat on top of the gate staring in the window at me with a look on his face that said, “Where’s my food?” Then he spotted a different bird feeder that hangs from the eave, just outside our dining room window. This scheming little fellow climbed down the fence and stealthily scurried across the lower window ledge to see if he could get to the bird feeder. He sat on the ledge surveying the situation for a brief time.

During this moment I called our dog, Skippy, over and showed him the squirrel. Skippy bolted out the door and the squirrel quickly climbed up on the roof of the house. After repeating this three times, one would think the squirrel would give up. But not this persistent little fellow. He wasn’t about to give up.

Soon this squirrel tried another approach. He discovered the rain gutter that runs across the side of the house. Periodically, I saw his little head popping out and looking down over the rain gutter, assessing how he was going to get into the feeder. After several times of seeing this squirrel’s head looking over the rain gutter, he must have decided not to try that approach. He soon tried walking on the lower window ledge again. Finally, he left without getting his mouthful of food.

Seeing this little creature work so hard, at trying to get the food reminded me of my two sons when they were small. They would try many ways to get into a forbidden candy dish and get a sweet treat. This memory made me smile.

Feeling compassion towards God’s little creature, I asked my husband to put a little food in the feeder that the squirrel regularly visits. The squirrel doesn’t know it yet, but hopefully on one of his next visits to the feeder, he’s going to score BIG time. He blessed me with his mini theatrical performance so the least I can do is give him a small reward.

 

“Ribbit, Mommy, Ribbit!”

By Robin Ulbredtch

One day, while I was visiting mother, my two sons were helping grandpa do chores around the house. Since the weather was fairly nice my father left the door to the basement of the house open so they could come in and out easily. The boys were occupied for quite a while, but soon my three-year-old came rushing up the stairs, screaming, “Ribbit, mommy, ribbit!” He repeated his message several times but I couldn’t understand what he was trying to say. Finally, I asked him, “Can you show me?” He nodded his head, grabbed my hand and starting pulling me toward the steps that went to the basement.

He led me to a place in the basement, pointed toward the floor and said, “Ribbit, mommy ribbit.” Looking down, I realized what my son was trying so desperately to tell me. There on the floor next to one of the walls was a small green tree frog. My son was making the sound of a frog, mimicking the sound I made when reading one of his story books to him. My son apparently saw the frog come into the house and he was panicked because of it!

Wanting to teach my son that frogs aren’t dangerous, I tried to catch the frog. When I got near, it jumped. It startled me and I jumped; then my son panicked, jumped and screamed! I calmed my son, and tried to catch the frog two more times, but he was too quick. Each time I grabbed for the frog, the critter jumped, I jumped, and my son screamed.

Soon my father came inside and said, “What’s all the commotion? Did I hear screaming?”

I explained what had happened and showed my dad the frog.

“Oh, brother!” he said. Then he tried to catch the frog. Again, the creature jumped, dad jumped, I jumped, and my son let out another scream.

“This is ridiculous!” my father said. Again, he tried to catch the frog–this time with success! Then, frog in hand, my father showed my son that the frog wasn’t dangerous. Then together they took the small creature outside.

Since that time, our family has remembered this incident and laughed many times. Yet it still amazes me how my three-year old could recognize the frog, associate the sound I made with the picture from a storybook, and communicate it to me. Yet somehow this mom couldn’t make out what he was trying to say.

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Creatures Great and Small”

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