We're still friends, aren't we?

Brushtails had just recently invaded the suburb when this shot was taken. The young were surprisingly tame which has led me to think they may have been a semi-domesticated species – quietly culled for food, perhaps. I've previously thought that about Kangaroos, but I've not had much experience with them. I've come to know the possums quite well.

They bred up and are now not so welcome. The following decades have been a nightly tussle to save what's left of the pear tree for other species – a range of parrots and, recently, the occasional fruit bat. I'm not interested in the fruit for myself. It's a hard fleshed canning peach. The tree is well beyond its designed expiry date and its flesh is very woody.

The possums are not instinctively adapted to foreign plants. They come in late winter and start eating early buds – eventually killing whole branches. As the fruit develops they take a bite, throw it away and try another in the hope that it might be riper. The battle to limit their access gives the dog an acknowledged role in the household – a role she prizes greatly and takes very seriously – limiting, but not totally preventing, access.

Most of the tree has survived, but no fruit survived to anywhere near maturity, so nothing for other species. Just checked, and this year just one pear, a centimeter in diameter, is surviving, so far.

For the last few years I've had a female and offspring squatting in the closed-off fireplace in the living room. First up, I intended to evict her once summer arrived, but it hasn't happened. Her current joey, almost half sized, is still small enough to dangle off thin fruiting branches without breaking them.