9.05.2005

I've Surely Gone Squirrely

Well, I give up. I'm throwing up my hands, waving a white flag and just plum giving up. Just when I was hoping that the miserable squirrels that we've been fighting for four years now, would have been blown into the next parish (county) by this storm, I see their motto must also be the 'chicken soup' for squirrels: Whatever doesn't kill you will make you stronger and bolder, hee-hee-hee-hee-hee.
The first year I was here, Cappy and I, much to the horror of the neighbors, put stove pipe around the base of the two pecan trees to try to keep the squirrels away from them. It worked for a few days, but then I had to tell Cappy, out on da boat, by then, that the miserable squirrels had built themselves little tractors, using our stove pipes for chimneys, and were merrily riding around the yard on them. We got about a gallon of pecans that year.
The second year, we had heard that Dial soap worked great as a squirrel deterent. Directions said to put the soap in pantyhose legs and hang them from the branches. I festooned the trees with bright yellow bars of soap in long silky legs of pantyhose. Well, if that didn't look pretty...with that and the stove pipe still around the base of the trees...some of the neighbors wouldn't look me in the eye.
By that time we had planted a line of small citrus trees down the length of the yard. Wouldn't you know, by the time the fruit came out, that birds started "snicking", as Cappy calls it, at the skin with their beaks, to get the oil. Books suggested netting. Cappy insisted that he didn't want netting, cuz it would look terrible in our yard. So he bought these disposable bright aluminum pie plates and hung several off the branches of each tree. Well, ya gotta know, when the wind rustled, or even when it didn't rustle, it looked like a Mardis Gras parade marching across the lawn. With that and the pecan trees all 'decorated'...
SparkyBear was getting big enough to chase the squirrels, but he had to be on a long rope, so he wouldn't go out of the yard. He's so headstrong, we needed the Invisible Fence, but as yet hadn't gotten it. Well, here come the squirrels from the sanctuary of the neighbor's yard across the street. They'd get so far into our yard, and Sparky would take off after them at a good clip, the squirrels would take off into the street, Sparky would hit the end of the rope,his top half would stop, but his back legs would keep going and out from under him. He'd fly up into the air and land OOF! on his back. It didn't take him long to figger it just wasn't worth the chase. The squirrels figgered it was a fun sport. When he did 'chase' them, they'd run back to the street and stop in the middle of it, fiddle around and slowly saunter back into their 'own' yard, kinda "high-fiving" each other.
This year we planted strong mint around the the pecan trees, bought big plastic owls,whose heads rotate in the wind. Cappy kept the squirrel tails from his last hunting trip to Mississippi. We kept those tails frozen in a couple zip lock bags since last December. In our freezer. With the meat and veggies. These tails were our "big guns". We'd put them in the plastic talons of the plastic owls, when we thought the time was right to put out the owls. We were calculating when the timing would be about right.
The timing was right when I came back from Texas for the Storm. Nuts were all over the ground. MarkyBear has been chasing the squirrels all summer, unfettered, til he hits the electric fence border...it gives him a "beep" sound before he actually hits the "correction", as it's called. (it's only a battery the size of a watch battery that 'shocks' the dogs, but they hate it anyhow) If I'm looking out the kitchen window and absent-mindedly say aloud the word, "squirrel", I hear a "whoosh" and the sound of the dog-door flapping. Marky might be "Jabba da Pup", or "WatermelonBoy", but I'll tell you, he cuts across that lawn, low to the ground, his little "toothpick" legs scissoring like chopsticks. He's almost caught a couple of 'em, too.
The last couple of days I've seen the squirrels actually IN the pecan trees, so I put one of the owls on the ground, by the one tree, with the huge shiney owl eyes staring at the neighbor's yard. (the squirrel tails hadn't survived the storm in our freezer, and had to be thrown away.) Every time I looked out the window, the owl was looking back at ME with it's big ol' shiney yellow eyes, as if to be pleading for help: "There are SQUIRRELS out here." Oh come ON...surely the breeze will turn the head back to the street.
Just now, I looked out the window and the owl was staring at me again, but with this look of: "Uh...a word with you, please..." Just above the owl was a squirrel in the tree blithely chewing on a pecan. I shrieked, "Why you Miserable squirrel!" The dawgs took off. Marky scared it outa the tree and up a telephone pole and stayed there snarling up after it. I was thrilled to finally hear SparkyBear, after these two years also barking at them! He kept barking so wildly I had to go see if he had one cornered. He saw me coming and looked back at his target to make sure it wasn't going anywhere til I got there. He was right in the owl's face, barking his head off at it, who was staring blankly back at him. It wasn't going anywhere, but in the trash.
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