Have I ever mentioned my furry little neighbor? That would be the chipmunk who seems to live either in the bushes just outside the patio, or (heaven forbid, and I haven't had a chance to check yet) somewhere inside my little outdoor closet.
I first noticed a brown streak running across the patio towards one of the planters just a few days after I moved in. It moved so quickly I couldn't identify it, but from the smallish size and lack of a trailing tail, it looked more chipmunkish than squirrelish. There is a surprising amount of open green space and varied types of ground cover in our complex; small animals and large geese are not unexpected.
The next encounter with Mr. Chips came a few weeks later. I heard a thump, and looked over to the patio doors to see his back end scurrying away on a a rather wobbly path. Did he somehow run into the patio door - was that the thump I heard?
It wasn't until a few weeks later that I could verify that fact. You see, Mr. Chips has a bit of a habit of running along the concrete step around the corner of the chimney, then launching himself at the bottom frame of the door. I've actually seen him do it at least three times. On one of those occasions, a friend also witnessed it.
When he successfully rounds the corner without hitting the door, he scampers up onto the ledge of the planter nearest the door, posing on the rim and peering into the condo as if asking if someone can come out and play.
Or more likely, if someone would toss him some food.
He dives into the planter, and I have a feeling he may have a small cache of food hidden in its depths. The relatively loose soil makes it easy to hide or dig up treasures.
He is free to use the planter this winter, but come spring, it will be time to redo the patio, and he will need to find another pantry space.