Adventures in Homesteading: The Strawberry Bandit Part 2

Pudgy, Pipsqueak and Gomer were unsure what to do next. Obviously it was not the bee who was pilfering the strawberries, so who could it be?

The three mice watched throughout the afternoon but didn’t see much. Birds flew by but either didn’t see the inviting strawberry patch or had plenty to eat from the multiple bird feeders throughout the property.

“Let’s go over to the other side and see if anything happens,” mumbled Pudgy, starting to head to the far corner of the strawberry patch. The other two started to follow when Gomer felt something staring at them.

“Uh…Pudgy…what’s that?” he asked.

Pudgy turned to see what Gomer was pointing at and saw a small hairy head with two beady eyes staring at them from a hole in the ground. As if the creature had assessed the situation and determined there was no immediate danger, it slowly stepped out of the hole and scurried over to the mice.
“Never seen you three ’round here. Are you lost?” it asked rather rudely.

Pudgy, with a glance at Pipsqueak and Gomer, replied, “No. We are not lost.”

Before Pudgy could stop him, Gomer asked, “What are you, some sort of striped mouse?”

“Nope. I’m a chipmunk” it said. “Name’s Leo.”

And with that, Leo dashed straight for the strawberries.

“Stop!” Pudgy shouted.

Leo stopped and ambled back to the trio.

“Sorry, did you need some directions or something?”

“You can’t eat those strawberries,” said Pipsqueak.

Leo laughed.

“This is no laughing matter Leo, those strawberries are off limits,” said Pudgy.

“Says who?”

“The woman who lives in this house,” replied Pudgy.
Leo sobered up. He had lost two cousins and an uncle to the owners of this house. He had always suspected that it was accidental or that his cousins were careless, but if she had declared the strawberries to be off limits and they had been caught eating them…

“Look,” said Pudgy, “If you stop eating the strawberries, I will tell you where you can get more food than you can possibly eat.”

“I’m listening,” said Leo.

Pudgy, Pipsqueak and Gomer motioned for Leo to follow them as they headed around to the back of the house to where the garden beds were.

After all, she had only said the strawberries were off limits.

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