Jeanette Riffle: Albino Squirrel

The Free Press WV

I saw a picture of a white squirrel on FB recently, and my husband told me he remembered that Jake Shaffer tanned the hide of one.  He doesn’t remember if it was Jake or his son that went squirrel hunting and killed it. Jake lived down the road from where we now live. I remember Dad taking my brothers to visit Jake after he dropped Mom and I off at Newton and Flossie Rider Boone’s place up the Tanner Fork Rd. Mom was related to Newton and also to Ugee Stump. We came on down to see Ugee after we left Newton’s place. This would be on a Sunday afternoon. Jake had a pet coon named Polly and she entertained my brothers. She would wash her liquorish sticks before she ate them. Jake always had liquorish for my brothers and the coon. They enjoyed visiting with him.

Duane and I had a pet squirrel up north when we lived in Dearborn Hts. Michigan.  It would come to the front door and eat peanuts right out of our hands. Our son liked to feed it, too. I remember watching the squirrels to see when bad weather was coming in.  If they were scurrying around real fast gathering food to store for the winter, it wouldn’t be long until the cold weather blew in and snowflakes were falling. They have black squirrels in Mi.  They used to be in the northern part of but now have migrated down into the lower part. We have the red and the grey ones, here in West Virginia. There’s a little red one that the old folks used to call, “Fairy Dittle.”  We also have a flying squirrel.  One night our dog was barking behind the tractor shed and wouldn’t shut up. Duane went out with a light and didn’t see a thing. Directly something flew up from the roof of the shed and he noticed the movement and shined the light up and saw it. We don’t eatsquirrel anymore but I used to boil the meat up and then take it out on a plate, cool it down, and then pick itoff the bones. Throw the meat back in the pot of broth and put it on a low boil.  I made dough for rolled dumplings. You roll the dough out on a floured surface with a rolling pin and cut it into strips. Then cut little squares out of each strip.

Add a box of chicken broth to the pot to make plenty of liquid and to better flavor it.  Lay the little squares on top of the meat, along with the flour that sticks to them. That will thicken the broth into gravy. Pepper the top good. Put on a lid and cook until the dumplings are done.

Mom used to make yellow squirrel gravy that was good. She had fodder beans, mashed potatoes, white sweet potatoes, applesauce and biscuits with her fall meal. Until next time, enjoy the cooler weather that is supposed to come in by next Saturday.

Take care and God bless!

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