Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Water Hazard

. . .or should I say, “the Chipmunk Strikes Back”?

Remember our previous chipmunk adventure? We’ve been on the lookout for a chipmunk with a bald spot on his tail ever since. And I think we’ve spotted him. A couple of weeks ago, a rainstorm came up that sent Chris from the garden to the open garage door. While he stood there looking out, a chipmunk rather improbably came running right up to him. It paused at his feet, and then ran away again. Was it the same one whom we had rescued and inadvertently trapped in the house? We weren’t sure. . . but we suspected. Return of the Chipmunk!

So remember that ugly orange bucket from the last post? It’s the same sort of bucket that the chipmunk spent the night in after we freed him from the fence. The sides are tall enough and smooth enough that a climbing critter can’t get out using its claws. It had crossed my mind that half-full of water, such a bucket could be a lure and a trap to wildlife. But I hadn’t acted on that thought. . .

This morning when Jen pulled up to carpool to work, as Chris passed the bucket, he heard something tumble out of the rain-spout and splunk into the half-filled bucket. It was a chipmunk! Jen and myself and Chris stood there gawping as the poor little fella swam laps. He certainly wasn’t going to get out of his own power. Chris ran off – I thought to grab the camera, but I heard him yell back “I want to hold it!” But I didn’t want to keep the critter from treading water, so I started tipping the bucket over.

Instead of rocketing off to the safety of the yard, the chipmunk climbed up on the edge of the bucket and just sat there – right next to Jen, and only a foot from my hand.

Chris scurried back with a gardening glove on. He held out his hand to the chipmunk, and darned if the little fella didn’t climb halfway into his hand! We all stood there quite thoroughly stunned, waiting to see what would happen next.

What did happen is that the chipmunk decided to turn around and climb along the rim of the bucket. This brought him toward my ungloved hand. Fears of rabies or other exotic and possibly imaginary chipmunk-bourn diseases ran through my mind, so I dumped the bucket over. The chipmunk took that as his queue to get the hell out of there. He ran right across Jen’s foot, did an about-face, ran right by my feet, into the open garage, and straight towards the door to the house!

At this point I should mention that the chipmunk did look a bit scruffy around the base of the tail - though admittedly it was hard to tell since he was sopping wet. But judging by his behavior I do think he was the same one as before. No wonder he had ended up in the house! The silly critter must have seen the shady chaos of the garage as a safe refuge compared to the barren desert of the driveway.

Fortunately for everyone, the door into the house was closed this time. Jen and I laughed from the front lawn as we listened to Chris’ curses and clunks. He succeeded in chasing the chipmunk out.

There is now a stick in the bucket so that any critters who fall in can climb back out.


marna said...

when do you find the time to do all your postings when you obviously spend time in your gardens??

Stoloniferous said...

Haha! :) Hi Marna! What can I say, the two of us are a couple of compulsive internet geeks. The gardens have been keeping us distracted from too much obsession over impending parenthood. I suspect our garden activities and garden blogging will become a bit minimal in about four weeks. . .

marna said...

Just made a quick stop by - been busy collecting Monarch eggs today!!
Noticed no posts recently. You must be very busy with something!!

Thinking of you both at this very exciting time!