~ Say Hello To My Little Friend! ~
I don't post here in the community very often because i haven't taken many new photographs that aren't art-related in a while. I generally share those in art communities. Now that Spring has sprung and the flowers are in bloom perhaps i will begin posting here more often.
But today i have some photos to share with you all! All the photos in this post were taken by me with my old point and shoot Nikon Coolpix S4300. I assure you that your phone has a much better resolution than my old camera does and i hope that this post encourages and inspires you all to make the most of what you all have to work with!
Since all of my traditional pets have passed on... this little fella' is the closest thing to a pet i have these days. It's really a cool story of how we became friends. In true Bob Ross fashion i have made a semi-pet out of one of nature's wild creatures. I hope you enjoy reading about my buddy and how we came to be such good companions!
In our backyard we enjoy watching the birds eat on the birdfeeders you can see in the background of some of the photos i will share. Last Summer we would get bags of peanuts to feed to the Blue Jay birds since they don't eat seed from the bird feeders. All the squirrels in this neighborhood usually pillage and plunder bird feeders for seed. This is cool in one way but the seed isn't cheap and the squirrels can eat a lot of other things instead of what is meant for the birds.
As it turns out squirrels love the peanuts too. I started to notice one squirrel in particular eating from the feeders so i began to throw peanuts out to the little fella. I still haven't figured out if it's a male or female... but it began to enjoy coming to the backyard for some food. Every time i would come out and catch it trying to get in the bird feeders i would grab some peanuts and toss them out instead.
Little by little i would close the distance from my patio to where the squirrel had to get closer and closer to come and get the food. The squirrels in this neighborhood, even though it's pretty densely populated, are still pretty reluctant to get too close to people. So, this little buddy of mine would take it's time coming closer and closer to where i would sit.
~ Closing the Distance ~
Eventually, we gained mutual trust and respect for one another. This led to it coming up on my patio and i was able to draw it in even closer. I tried for a month or two to get 'em to eat from my hand. It would always get close enough to think about it but then turn around and run off a bit. Then the squirrel acted like it never saw the peanut and it would get excited all over again.
We did that routine for a long time before one day it did come all the way up to me and ever so gently took the peanut out of my hand. I felt so accomplished at that moment. I knew Bob Ross would have been truly proud!
Sometimes, i would shell the peanuts for my friend. This saved it some time and effort. I would be lying if i said it wasn't growing quite spoiled. But in all honesty, it was quite a pleasure to serve my little buddy.
~ Friendship Endures ~
After Winter came and went i wasn't sure if this squirrel would make it's way to my backyard this year. Sure enough, it did come back and a little bigger and stronger too. We have spent many mornings and afternoons together. It makes me feel pretty special that this squirrel is trusting and willing enough to come and take a tiny shelled peanut out of my hand. It usually grabs it with it's mouth.
When the peanuts are in the shell it has more to grab onto but when they are shelled it's more difficult to grab and accuracy becomes an issue. This little dude has nibbled on my finger a time or two. It was startling at first, and no it didn't hurt at all, in fact it actually tickled a little bit.
The squirrel will usually take the peanut and either go a few paces away and look at me while it eats or it will sit right close and look at me while it eats. Either way... it's always keeping an eye on me. I know this is a wild animal and understand it's caution. But, you can tell it has trust when it turns it's back toward me... even if it's watching me out of the corner of it's eye!
~ See The Beauty Everywhere ~
I was finally able to get some photos of this exchange and i have been waiting to share them here with you all. It would be hard to believe if you just heard and didn't see it with your own eyes.
On the day, when i was writing my last art post, is when all these shots were taken. I truly felt like Bob Ross doing some art and having my little buddy come and join me. So, i paused what i was doing to feed 'em a bit... but since my camera was handy we now have some proof!
This day last week the squirrel was feeling particularly comfortable and allowed me to get some close-up shots. I don't have the best camera and it moved so quickly... it was hard to get any shots in perfect focus. All in all, i would say this experience was captured quite well and now it will be on the blockchain forever!
They are unsalted peanuts but my friend still will go hop up on the birdbath, which you can see in the background of the next image, and get itself a drink. Then it creeps back down and we do the whole process over. It takes a lot of patience because you can't move too fast or it will run away and just take longer as it returns more cautiously. My favorite is when the squirrel leaps and bounds across the yard to come back to me!
~ Patience Is A Virtue ~
So, i waited patiently with the peanuts and the camera in position. I absolutely love it when the squirrel pulls my finger or hand down to get a better angle upon approach. Their tiny hands are so soft and gentle.
In fact, while i have been out on my patio working on this post, my little buddy has been coming up to where i'm sitting and eating from my hand the entire time.
There was even a second squirrel that came and tussled with my friend to steal it's peanut. The sad thing is there was plenty to go around. I went out and tried to get them to make peace but to no avail. Fortunately, my friend wasn't too scared and knew i had it's back, so it stuck around.
~ Friend With No Name ~
It's strange that i haven't named my friend. Since i don't know if it's a male or female it would be difficult to decide.
We had a pet dog once... and had such a hard time choosing a name we just decided to call it Puppy... forever. I usually just call this one Buddy... but i don't think that's a good enough proper name. It's really just more of my pet name for it. I guess i will have to figure it out soon enough.
Below i was able to capture and share a short video clip of me feeding this little friend of mine. I know this isn't the typical pet and owner relationship. We are both free and for some reason that makes it a bit more liberating. Once my little friend ate out of my hand though, which took a long time to build up to that relationship goal, i considered it my pet.
Thanks for taking the time to read my post here in our awesome community. I will try and get some more shots and videos to share here in the future. I am still in disbelief at times about how cool this relationship has become. It has truly brought me more joy than i have given this squirrel peanuts... and it's been a whole lot of peanuts! hahaha I am sure we are both getting something out of our bond and i hope you all got something out of this post!