Got home from work at 10 pm to find the hedgerow (otherwise described as “ditch and the stuff that grows in it”) along the ballpark on the drive to our house completely razed. Trees, underbrush, everything. Gone. Not to mention the animals that lived there.
I had a relationship with those trees, dammit. I appreciated the way they covered the verdammed chain link that ballparks require. With their help I didn’t have to see the bloody picnic tables that suddenly appeared because the homeowners’ ass (no, that’s not autocorrect) had an extra $300 to spend one year.
And, of course, the bunnies. Anybody who knows me knows about bunnies and my relationship with their halt and their lame.
And the squirrels. The Douglas squirrels our neighborhood has the privilege to house. It’s not widely known, but they’re a protected species.
That means YOU CAN’T CUT DOWN THEIR TREES, PEOPLE. You can’t shoot them with pellet guns. You can’t set your dogs on them. You leave them alone. You enjoy their antics. You’re probably not even supposed to feed them (believe it or not, squirrel feeding is a complicated exercise in getting just the right mix of stuff that won’t screw up their magnesium balance and cause seizures), but I’m not really sure about that one.
Douglas squirrels have a matriarchal society that passes a particular tree from generation to generation. In late summer they shake the pinecones onto your driveways and cars and heads so the seeds will dry in time for winter. I think it’s hilarious. My husband blasphemes and moves his truck. They’re smart little buggers and more than a match for most cats.
Another protected species we’re privileged to have are two of the largest woodpeckers available–the flicker and the pileated. They’re rare, really big, and loud. And we’ve been graced with a couple of them on our property for several years now.
By the time I got to the house I was bawling. Once that was over with I stormed down the street to the homeowner’s ass in question and proceeded to be asslike in return, figuring it was the least I could do after the fact. As is usual in these cases, I toned down my emotion and was met with maddening corporate adultspeak: “Blah-blah-blah-blah-blah.” Like in Peanuts cartoons. “The association” this, and “county regulations” that.
Into which I threw my own bomb. The one about protected species. I’m happy to say it was a stunner. And happier to say there was much backpedalling about no, there won’t be any more “work” done along the edge that borders our acre. The one we’ve been so careful to preserve by having real arborists come in and cull only the trees that are ready to fall, and never more that a few a year. You do it that way and your co-habitants can adjust. You do it in the autumn and babies of all kinds are grown and can get out of the way.
Yes, my husband puts up with me. He shakes his head and gets the work done at the appropriate time of the year. And follows the cat when we know that he knows where a bunny nest is. And prevents what harm he can. We’re not complete vegetarians. Yet. But I can feel it coming.