We're about a year into the pandemic, and for those of us who spent most of it at home, we've discovered parts of ourselves we never knew existed. For me, I realized I actually do like limes – for decades I fancied myself solely a lemon girl – and I became a fervent devotee of the early-to-mid 2000s medical drama "House," all 38 seasons of it.
Julie Davidson, my friend and co-host of our podcast, "Dandelions: A Podcast for Women," became a feeder of snacks for squirrels.
"It didn't start because I was a friend of squirrels or concerned they were getting a balanced diet," says Davidson, who is also a DJ on B93.3.
Instead, she started feeding them because she couldn't get them to stop eating her garbage as well as her porch decorations. "I bought the cutest little orange and white mini pumpkins last Halloween and made a little display in front of my house," says Davidson. "But the squirrels ruined it. They ate parts of the pumpkins. At first I was like 'Oh hell no' but then I thought how can I expect them not to?"
After thinking about it more, Davidson decided the squirrels had every right to eat anything she put outdoors and took on a new "If you can't beat 'em join 'em" attitude. And with that, she started to leave bits of food for the fuzzy creatures.
"And really, it became a joke between me and my family," says Davidson, who shares her home with her husband and two teenaged sons.
Davidson posted photos to Facebook of the tiny feasts she set out in her yard for the squirrels comprised of mostly nuts, fruit and bread chunks. Facebook friend Kim Foster Carlson commented that her husband would be happy to make a squirrel picnic table and, much to Davidson's surprise, it arrived in the mail a couple of weeks later.
Davidson's husband attached the mini wooden picnic table to a tree in their yard and Davidson sets little noshes on the tabletop every day. Today she served peanuts and pomegranate seeds.
"The food is always gone, but I am yet to actually see a squirrel eating off the table," says Davidson.
In the past week, at least one of Davidson's neighbors has secretly joined in the rodent-nourishing fun.
"I don't know who it is, but I get up at 5:30 or 6 a.m. everyday and there's already been something there: a little tea set, an American flag," says Davidson.
Davidson also found little notes, signed by Sly the Squirrel, on the picnic table. "I had named him 'the illusive Midwest fuzzy tailed coal gray squirrel,' but 'Sly' is easier to say," she says.
Tonight, Davidson plans to leave a little bowl of water for the squirrel that, come morning, will serve as a small ice rink.
Davidson continues to document the squirrel picnic table scenario on her Facebook page, and she hopes to soon get photos of the squirrel while dining.
"He's hanging out in our yard, might as well treat him like family," she says. "We're still 90 days away from sunshine and warm weather. We're in a pandemic. I'm just trying to have fun."
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.