Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Whacked Out Squirrels by Alison Henderson






Are you aware of squirrels? You should be; October is Squirrel Awareness Month! At my house, we have no choice but to be aware of squirrels. They hang out on the patio, pound on the sliding glass door, and frequently try to break in.



It all started innocently enough. My father-in-law used to feed peanuts to the cardinals, and my husband thought it would be fun to see if he could attract some, too. His efforts were quite successful - one winter evening we had twenty-two cardinals on the patio - but the peanuts quickly drew every squirrel for blocks. Now we're up to our eyebrows in bushy-tailed beggars.



Our squirrels run the gamut of rodent ingelligence from the pair that are too busy chasing each other in a furry jumble to notice peanuts to the "Hamlet of Squirrels", who clutches one paw to his breast and leans the other against the glass while he peers into the kitchen trying to convince us he's dying of hunger. Every workman who has been to my house in the past six years has been amazed by this act.



Every now and then, we'll hear a loud THUMP and look at each other and say, "There they go again, trying to break into the kitchen". A few like to climb onto the handle of my large, wheeled hose reel to get a better view into the house. Unfortunately, they often lose their footing on the smooth metal handle and fall off, slamming into the patio door. It doesn't seem to faze them (no surprise, given the size of their brains), and I'm slowly getting used to it. At least they stay outside. That hasn't always been the case.




One morning, as I was finishing breakfast, my husband opened the door to toss out a few nuts. One of the pair that usually prefers to tussle came up on the porch for a treat. That seemed to irritate his friend, who ran up and bit him on the butt, startling him so much he ran right past my husband into the kitchen. I expressed my dismay in no uncertain terms. Fortunately, the squirrel was equally dismayed and ran back out, but I now consider it my duty to loudly remind my husband, "Don't you let that squirrel into my kitchen" every time he opens the door.



Last Christmas, I decided to give my husband a squirrel he could keep in the house. His new friend came with a number of outstanding costumes and lives on the desk. Every evening when I walk through the door, I never know who I'm going to see - my favorites are Zorro and the Samurai. He dresses up all year, so every day is Halloween at my house!






15 comments:

Jerri Hines said...

Alison,
I absolutely love your blog! Whacked out squirrels...can't help but laugh. Good one!

Barbara Edwards said...

How funny! I also live with a squirrel herd. We've never fed them, but are surrounded by giant oak trees with bushels of acorns. I've never seen any wearing a costume and am looking forward to that sight.
Barbara

Lu/Grace said...

We now have two squirrels who'll take peanuts from our hands. They'll also stand on the deck railing and look into the window, in the same Hamlet pose you mentioned. So pathetic. One of them likes to climb the screen on the back door, to the great amusement of our cats.

Alison H. said...

Yesterday we had the plumber out again (can you guess I live in an old house?), and the squirrels were at it again.

Lu/Grace - it's a bit of a relief to know we're not the only ones!

Vonnie Davis said...

What a cute story of "dumb" animals. If one came in my house, I'd freak, too. Simply love the Hamlet squirrel-dude. Too cure. Thanks for an entertaining post.

Jannine Gallant said...

What you need is a dog! Ginger is a ferocious squirrel chaser. She's been known to climb on top of the woodpile to bark at her chattering prey as they scamper up a tree. I'm waiting for the time she climbs up after them!

Thanks for entertaining me this morning, Alison.

LizbethSelvig said...

This is awesome, Alison. I love squirrels, they make me laugh. My father hates squirrels since they've damaged his roof multiple times. My husband says they keep him awake when we're camping. My son has two albinos in his neighborhood that are so cool-looking. AND they're the only animals that can drive my Border Collie to absolute distraction--which is pretty funny to watch. Thanks for the great post--nature is almost always good for the best entertainment around!

Maeve said...

LOL!! What an AWESOME post. I love squirrels - we've got an entire herd of the little varmints at our house and they're a joy to watch. Thank you for letting us know that October is squirrel awareness month. I had no idea!

:-)

Alison H. said...

Squirrel Awareness Month took me by surprise, too. I'm so glad I didn't miss it!

Brenda Whiteside said...

Alison, thanks so much for an uplifting Friday blog. Loved it!

Linda Banche said...

Oh, we have squirrels, too. My husband wants to put an electric fence around the bird feeder to keep them out. But he settled for raising the feeder so they have to jump to get on it. And we have the type of feeder with a feeding perch on a hinge. Too much weight on the perch, ie, squirrel, and the a cover comes down over the seed. Take that, you bushy-tailed varmint!

Alison H. said...

Linda, we have that same bird feeder. Works like a charm! The squirrels don't even try any more.

Katherine said...

A friend of mine always threw peanuts out into her yard for the Blue Jays and Cardinals and ended up attracting squirrels too. She didn't mind at first. Then one day she was driving down the road and her car started making a strange noise so she called her mechanic and made an appointment to have it looked at the next day. She needed a new fan and the case it goes in because the squirrels had been hiding the peanuts in there. Needless to say, she now parks the car in the garage and only puts the peanuts in the bird feeder the squirrels can't get to.

Lilly Gayle said...

This is too funny. I was dying of laughter. It's also familiar. I have a dog. I have a dogging door. I have a black male cat who likes to bring all sorts of critters, both dead and alive into the house. A cornered gray tree squirrel will let you save him from the evil cats clutches, his little chest panting as he curls his claws around your fingers as you lift him up to take him outside to freedom. He will look at you with big brown, thankful squirrel eyes before scampering up the tree.

A cornered flying squirrel will first, scare the crap out of you by flying over your head hissing. Then when you attempt to pick him up, he will bite your finger, latching on like a booger you can't shake off. And when you do, he will fly back over your head and growl until you throw a towel over his head and unceremoniously toss his ass out the front door.

Thankfully though, they're NOT trying to break through the doggie door on their own!

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Allison,
What an interesting post. I haven't come across any squirrels, we do have possums though, a similar kind of creature, and if they get into the roof of your house, you really know about it.

Regards

Margaret