I can win the battle this year.
Where’s my gun? (Don’t worry, my ammunition is water.)
When we first moved into our house in the neighborhood with the tree-lined streets, I loved my new furry friends, the squirrels. I loved how they scampered from tree to tree and ran along the fences. I loved how they challenged the dogs in the backyard by getting on the low branches and hanging their tails down to tease. They can be the ‘Sirens’ of the animal kingdom and I fell for them. With peanuts, I hand-fed the cute critters until someone explained they can carry diseases, like rabies and rodent plague. Also, they’ve been known to bite. I changed to putting their peanuts in bowls. I wanted to get close to the wild animal kingdom while living in my city dwelling.
All my life I’ve tried to be friends with the animals. I discouraged my boys from hunting and, if you haven’t heard, I live in Texas. I nearly killed myself a number of times trying to avoid rabbits on the highway. I still cry more at a movie if an animal dies than if a person does. “Old Yeller” was almost the death of me. I really wanted to live in harmony with the squirrels.
But then I got my pecan trees and the war began. We started the trees as little, skinny sticks. We lovingly watched them grow and mature and within a few years, I had the joy of watching little green wormy things turn into little green footballs. And as the tiny footballs grew, I watched them prepare to shed their skins and give me the pecans I needed for all my winter holiday cooking. With joy I anticipated their arrival.
But none of my tiny footballs shed their skins. Instead, in a matter of days, the squirrels invaded and ravished all my pecans. And then the squirrels dug little holes in my yard to hide the pecans. My winter pecans became their winter stash.
The next year I did what any pecan tree owner would do. I went on the internet and searched for ways to keep the squirrels out of my trees. Over the next few years, I tried rubber snakes, fake owls, mothballs, tubes around the bottom of the trees and squirrel voodoo. Okay that’s not true but if I’d found a spell to chase away squirrels, I might have tried it.
If you don’t know, squirrels are smart and they outsmarted me with each new trick I tried.
This year I’ve come up with a new strategy.
I’m going to put out tiny squirrel ladders and squirrel feeders in the trees. I’ll let them think I’m growing pecans for them. When I’m outside I’ll talk about how,with the poor economy, people won’t be able to buy treats for the squirrels so my new mantra will be, ‘Save the Squirrels’. It’s not crazy. They may have learned our language over the years as they’ve taken over our neighborhoods. Like I said, they’re smart creatures.
I’m going to bury the sad squirrel bodies when I find them smashed in the streets. They haven’t learned to outwit the demon cars. I’ll start a little ‘pet cemetery’ but not like the one in the Stephen King novel. I’ll put it in the shade of my pecan trees.
Maybe if I show them all this ‘squirrel love’, they’ll pity me and leave just enough pecans for one pie. I think this could work. ‘Squirrel love’ is my new strategy.
You’re right. The truth is I’m giving up the battle.
The squirrels win.