It’s outdoor-dining only for this fur ball.
Following the start of lockdown this spring, Georgia resident Angela English Hansberger found her decade-long career as a food-and-beverage writer suddenly on hold. However, she was inspired to stay involved in the industry, in a very small way, after her uncle Ed sent her a miniature wooden picnic table in April.
The tiny table was meant to be placed in a tree, to attract squirrels, but Hansberger decided to place it on her front porch at her home in Tucker instead. She served up the first course, spreading a few walnuts on the table and, within minutes, she had a furry customer.
“When I first saw the chipmunk, he was sitting there like a tiny person — his hands resting on the table,” Hansberger, 50, told Jam Press of the critter, who immediately finished the first meal at her new eatery. He was rewarded with more free food.
“I went to the pantry and gave him some nuts leftover from a holiday pie,” she said of the rodent, which she has named Thelonious Munk. “He ate them as I watched and giggled. Then I started feeding him every day.”
Buoyed by the freshly consistent service from her new regular, Hansberger upgraded her bitty venue, adding a tablecloth, cocktail umbrella and a vase made of a discarded piece of plastic.
The pair have fallen into a pattern, with Munk coming twice a day at fairly regular times.
“He comes between 9 a.m. and 11:30,” she said, noting that the earlier meal is extremely consistent — “He is often sitting at the table in the morning before I have food ready for him” — and the second meal is more of a nosh and less regular. “Sometimes he comes out in the evening and I give him a snack,” she said.
The menu changes constantly.
“I make almost everything from nuts, berries, grains and veggies, and herbs from my garden,” she said.
While Munk will sometimes climb on top of the table, “most days he sits like a respectable diner,” she explained. His etiquette, however, is tainted by kleptomania, and he frequently steals bowls, glassware and the occasional decoration. “It makes me giggle,” she said, adding that the project and her sole customer have significantly helped in alleviating some of her pandemic-induced anxiety.