Wednesday, September 11, 2013
A dresser of vines
No one could have been more surprised than I when when the grapevine we planted a few years back began producing bunches of grapes. There is hardly anything more simple and gratifying than having fruit ripe for the taking growing around one's back patio.
I should have known, of course, that nature is rarely so benign. A warning was given a few weeks earlier--the bag of peanuts for the mountain jays having been regularly vandalized in the pantry, I was sure the dogs were the culprits. But one Sunday afternoon the burglar's daring undid him. The dogs cornered a squirrel under a living room work table, cheeks stuffed with peanuts who, after a merry chase with broom and hounds, made his way out unscathed. A larcenist from the wild was in our midst. This being late summer, our screenless open windows left us defenseless.
I would have probably been unaware of the little critter's presence that Sunday afternoon had it not been for his distinctive distress cry, something very like a smoke alarm whose battery is reaching the end of its life, an abrupt, high-pitched squeal sounding about every four seconds. A few days later I heard that same sound eminating from an old decrepit gas grill in the back. Sure enough, Oliver had cornered the little squirrel behind the rusing propane tank. Around the little thief were, not peanuts, but grapes. He had found the grapevine, and has been dining on it ever since.