The world is crawling with rodents, and they aren't all Republican office holders or Fox News commentators. In Arizona, the prevalent rodents are fat little hamsters called "prairie dogs." Those ambitious dirt-movers can tear up a yard in no time at all. They remind me of the moles that we have in the Midwest, but moles seldom, if ever, surface to look around. Prairie dogs, who live in colonies, will often come out of their burrows and scamper around for awhile before going back underground.
The parts of the country not in the desert have big rodents called groundhogs (a.k.a. wood chucks) which can be as large as medium-sized dogs. These critters also burrow, and like their tiny cousins, the prairie dogs, they will surface and scamper about in search of food or good times.
But my favorite rodent, by far, is the squirrel. There are no squirrels in the desert, and I had forgotten how much fun they are to watch until this afternoon when I took a break from cleaning and unpacking and sat on my front porch. Squirrels play. They play hard - chasing each other and racing up and down the trees and across the snow-spotted yards. I watched in awe and one went to the very top of a tall tree, ran along limbs so thin they should have trouble even supporting a bird, and then jumped to a neighboring tree. He was so quick, so limber in the timber, so regal.
Spring promises to be wonderful!