Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Squirrels are Taking Over

It's not that I don't like squirrels. Well, actually maybe it is that I don't like squirrels (see story below). But it seems that the squirrels have taken over our yard. There chattering was so loud this morning it was audible from inside the house.

There was a squirrel on our front step. When I tried to shoo him away, he just looked at me (I'm calling them all he, even though, as you might suspect, I don't know for sure). They sit on our deck rail (and use it as a bathroom - ick). They eat our raspberries. They eat our roses. They eat our cone flowers. They eat the bird food. And they don't scare easy.

There is a family of about six squirrels that lives in a neighbors tree. They spend their time chasing noisily after each other - and eating our plants). And they cavort throughout the yard.

Now, I'm not averse to creatures cavorting. But our backyard is small, and I'd like to have the space available for human use.

I realize that squirrels are a minor problem. We don't have deer eating all our plants like some of my friends do. We don't have bears breaking into our house (which happened in North Jersey.) These are squirrels - not ground hogs or muskrats or raccoons or skunks.

But squirrels (although they are little and cute) bug me and here's why:

Why I Like to Keep my Distance from Squirrels

When I was in first grade we had squirrels in our attic. Not as bad as having bats in the belfry (that was our neighbor) but a nuisance all the same. We needed to get the squirrels out and my mom figured the way to do it was to sit on the roof, lure them out with food, and then put chicken wire over the opening.

So she did this. My mom sat on the roof, feeding baby squirrels. As a result the squirrels got pretty tame. And the plan seemed to work. Though one of the squirrels did fall off the roof and our neighbor a fifth-grade veterinarian wanna be tried to nurse it back to health (I don't think it worked, but I could be wrong there).

The other mishap was when one of the little squirrels fell down the chimney. It got trapped on the flue. My dad put a box in the fireplace and opened the flue, the thought being that the squirrel would fall into the box and be transported outside.

My brother and I watched. The squirrel missed the box. Chaos ensued. Somehow the squirrel was removed from the house - but I don't know how - my brother and I had wisely made ourselves scarce for that part of the adventure.

But none of these things are the reason that I don't care for squirrels.

See one day (it was a gym day at school, so I was wearing pants instead of a skirt - which becomes important later in the story) my neighbor (the fifth grader) and I were racing home from the bus stop. He went around the front of the houses, I went around the back (we were going to back doors, his house was one house further), he had a sprained ankle - it was a pretty fair race. And as I got to the back of our house - just outside the kitchen window - one of those cute looking, and now relatively tame, squirrels, ran right up my pant leg - circling around.

I screamed.

The squirrel jumped off and ran away.

My mom came running, my fifth-grade neighbor came running.

My brother hid under a kitchen chair.

I was okay - but shaken.

And that is the reason that I prefer that squirrels keep their distance. (Do you think a super soaker will convince them to give up our backyard as their new play space?)


Alice Gunther said...

I understand how you feel perfectly!

Squirrels can be so bold too. Here in San Francisco, they are always walking right up to you looking for food. It is cute, until you are surrounded by four or five, and they all have that hungry gleam in their eye!

Vivian Mahoney said...

Oh my...I wouldn't like squirrels either with your stories.

This is so funny because I was just thinking about squirrels and chipmunks this morning. They are everywhere.

And I've been nervous one would get into the house. I'm not sure what I would do.

Hope you can get those squirrels out. My sister-in-law had to trap the squirrels in her yard and then let them go in the local park. Good luck!

christine M said...

Taking them to the local park would be good - but it's only down the street. I think they'd find their way back!

And Alice, I know what you mean about that hungry gleam - it's a little unnerving.