Sunday, May 19, 2013

Squirrel Wars

The ink had barely dried on our computer screen after I blogged about “Our Alaska Forest Refuge” when we heard the noise.  Scuttle scuttle scuttle above our living room ceiling.  Scratch scratch scratch.  Scuttle scuttle scuttle.  I thumped the ceiling.  Silence.  Scuttle scuttle scuttle.

Finally, a red squirrel leaped onto a branch from a corner above our living room.  Superman would have lagged behind me as I dashed outside, set up a ladder and sure enough found a hole, insulation draped on the logs below.  With the scolding squirrel outside the house, I plugged the hole.  Whew!

Dawn the next day.  Scuttle scuttle scuttle.  Drat, it’s back in.  Karen and I have shared our forest with squirrels, spent enough money for an all expenses paid cruise to the Caribbean (OK -- at 1962 prices) to feed these critters and how does it show it’s thanks?  Without even waiting to sign a lease, it moves in and tears out our insulation.  Now it might chew through a wire and burn our house down.  AAAAAK  I thumped on the ceiling some more.  Scuttle scuttle scuttle.


A borrowed live trap turned the tide in the battle.  With the intruder safely residing in the trap, Karen and I began to gloat.  Barely began!  Above us -- scuttle scuttle scuttle.  Oh no -- we’re boarding a family of squirrels.  We’ve become a bed and breakfast for rodents and we don’t have a business license.  Peeking at our captive from below we discovered what we now suspected -- well used nipples.  A female, and she’d been nursing.  There’s one thing worse that a family of squirrels living in our ceiling -- a family of dead squirrels.  We let her go.  

                                                      Hey look -- peanuts!

Checking the bilge side for sex.  Drat, the mama, we had to let her go pending more information.

I could go on and on about our stress levels, about the dust falling in our faces every time I banged on the ceiling, about our worried discussions regarding the welfare of our little boarders, about insulation and peanut shells falling into our living room, but you’d need a triple shot of espresso to finish this blog post.  We eventually recaptured mama, a young ‘un old enough to make it on his own, and one smallish male whose only fault we think was naivety as he got caught up in the drama.  Finally we caught a large bruiser, we’ll call him Bruno, and.....silence....until
the next morning.  An easy catch of one more baby and I closed off the hole and yikes,  two more entry ports.

I must have burned a tank of gas at $4.55 per gallon evicting our tenants --  free rides miles out of town.  Suspecting a strong maternal instinct, we chauffeured Mama 18 miles out the road including a bridge crossing to the far side of Blind Slough.  Each deportee was sent to extended stands of big trees where we hope they’ll successfully start new careers free from the corrupting influence of our peanuts -- on which we had only recently spent $52.00 for a bag to provide an element of cheer in their lives..

Karen’s reaction -- “they sure are cute,” then she ate a peanut.

How can anybody fail to be amused by these rodents -- until they get inside your house?.

                 OK, take notice squirrel.  This tree is yours.  Please nest in or under it.

Post Script:  As I write this there is another baby eating peanuts on our deck along with one other squirrel and Karen is out with her camera.  The good news -- no scuttle scuttle scuttle last night or this AM.  Stay tuned.  If you had asked me how many squirrels lived in our woods before this war, I would have estimated two.

The newly discovered baby.  Three holes are now plugged so here's to a fine symbiotic relationship from now on.  Some friends would say we're just dreaming.  Karen says, "they sure are cute."


casey said...

Oh, the squirrel wars that have been fought (and lost) by the Cornelius...

Susan Christensen said...

I agree with K - they are DARLING! But!!! Not in the ceiling!
delightful writing Don.

Barry said...

Count me among your friends who say you are dreaming. Attract them to your house and they will soon be sharing it with you - again.

Don and Karen Cornelius Artwork said...

Casey: The wars go back to your grandfather's days.
Sus: Thanks. I have to agree about the cuteness although it quickly fades with the sound of footprints and chewing in the ceiling.

Di said...

Adorable! But not so much fun when they take over your home :/. Have a great Monday :)!

Fernando Santos (Chana) said...

Belo trabalho...Espectacular....

Don and Karen Cornelius Artwork said...

Thanks Di and Fernando: You both have very inspirational blogs.