|A 19th-century cast-iron and wood squirrel nutcracker|
There are two types of squirrel that live at Darlington. One side of the property is inhabited by red squirrels. They are very playful, aggressive little creatures who spend much of their days gamboling about their territory, skittering up and down the trees and chattering in high-pitched voices.
|A 20th-century cast-iron squirrel nutcracker|
perched on the edge of a cast-iron birdbath
The other side of the property is inhabited by a population of larger and somewhat more docile gray squirrels. We see more of the gray squirrels at Darlington than we do of the red ones. That's because the grays live on the busier part of our property, where much of our day-to-day activities take place. It is also where we keep several bird feeders, filled throughout the year. The gray squirrels scavenge for fallen seeds on the ground below the feeders and occasionally try to get to the source themselves, often with hilarious results, as the feeders are designed to thwart such efforts.
|A 19th-century cast-iron squirrel nutcracker,|
surrounded by recently fallen black walnuts
The grays are are not as aggressive as the smaller red squirrels, and they appear less frantic and frenetic in their activities. They are more of a "hang-out" squirrel, if there could ever be such a thing.
|A 20th-century cast-metal squirrel sprinkler|
Although there are more gray squirrels on the property than red ones, there is little risk that they will drive out the red squirrels anytime soon. That's because the red squirrels are feistier than the gray ones and vigorously defend their turf from all encroachments by the grays.
|The water sprays out of the squirrel's head|
I've seen numerous altercations between red and gray squirrels at Darlington over the years. And in each and every case the red squirrel has been the victor, with the gray one scurrying away at the end, having been soundly thrashed by the smaller red squirrel. The red ones are tough little cookies indeed, and I certainly wouldn't want to tangle with one of them.
|A 20th-century cast-stone squirrel garden ornament|
Boy and I are quite fond of the squirrels that live at Darlington, and we enjoy sharing the property with them. We recently lost a very large, very old oak tree in a freak tornado, and we were concerned that our squirrel population would decline as a result of acorn diminishment. But that doesn't appear to be the case, I am happy to report.
|Two 20th-century cast-stone squirrel garden ornaments|
Not surprisingly, and as is seen in this post, we've collected a number of squirrel-inspired objects over the years. Most of them are vintage or antique, but we have some other, new ones as well.
|A 19th-century squirrel taxidermy under glass|
We always keep our eyes out for interesting, well-priced examples to add to our collection. But we are discriminating in what we buy. That is because if one isn't careful, it is possible to find oneself in possession of too many squirrels, since there are many opportunities to collect squirrel-related objects, given their popularity. And just as one does not wish to be overrun with an explosion of live squirrels, one does not care to be inundated with a collection of inanimate ones, either.