The Demonics Host an Unwanted Visitor

Last night, the Demonic family hosted a most unwanted visitor:

A squirrel.

People who know me know I hate squirrels with a passion. I don’t want them in my neighborhood, much less in my house. I see them as glorified rodents, rats with big fluffy tails. I don’t like rats in the house either, which is why when Mr. D became enamored of them a few years ago, I told him they had to stay in the office, not in my house.

Anyway, said creature slid down the chimney. (Damn those roofers who forgot to put up the critter barrier!) He landed on our gas logs and decided he didn’t like the look of the arrangement, so he threw a couple of them around, thus ensuring his escape from behind the glass doors.

Behind our fireplace is the sunroom, where I keep my cranky love bird and all of my orchids. The bird eats seeds; squirrels eat seeds. Squirrels like green things; orchids are green things. Ergo, the squirrel went for the sunroom.

I had heard some crashing about when I was upstairs, but figured it was just the cat and dog in some spirited play. They tend to chase each other around the house. I yelled downstairs and the noise stopped so I figured that was the source.

An hour later, Mr. D comes home and we prepare dinner. Mr. D hears an unusual noise coming from the direction of the living room, which is a misnomer because we never use the room. “What’s that?” he says.

“It’s just the bird.”

“Doesn’t sound like the bird.”

We go about our business, and the noise becomes louder. Mr. D goes to investigate and confronts a very fat squirrel. He manages to corral the critter in the sunroom, which is no easy task. Trying to herd a squirrel is much like trying to herd a cat.

The cat follows, but at a reasonably safe distance, the coward. The dog retreats to her crate upstairs.  She’s not stupid. The bird is going nuts, hopping from one side of the cage to the other. Cranky lovebird is trapped in the sunroom.

Mr. D grabs a broom and attempts to broom it into a corner. No luck. The squirrel is almost as big as the cat, and is bleeding profusely. There’s squirrel blood on the doors and windows.

Our sunroom is full of windows. Eleven to be exact, and they extend from ceiling to near the floor. Being an old house, there’s considerable framework around the windows. Our unwanted visitor parks his butt at the top of the windows, and traverses them to get around the room.

We lay out a critter trap which we have saved from when we lived in a northern suburb and used to trap baby skunks from under our deck. You would think peanut butter covered almonds would entice a battered squirrel, but no.

After dinner, we go back and attempt to round up the squirrel. Mr. D gives up when the squirrel dive bombs him from across the room. Flying squirrel? My friends, all squirrels fly. He secured the room, and we went upstairs and did the same before going to sleep.

This morning, Mr. D opened one of the windows, which hasn’t been open for at least 40 years. (No screens. I was going to have some made, but it cost too much.) It was still dark outside, but the squirrel wasn’t budging. In fact, he sat on the windowsill of the open window but refused to go. I told Mr. D to take his broom and shoo him out. When he attempted this, the squirrel lunged at him again.

It’s 20 freaking degrees outside and we had to go to work. It took an enormous amount of sneakiness to get the birdcage out of the room. Mr. D again secured the room and we left.

I emailed the roofer and let him know he should get a critter catcher on our chimney TODAY. Not tomorrow, not next week, but this morning.  I’m keeping the number of our local critter control company handy in case our house guest refuses to vacate by noon.

I’m not going back in until that thing is gone.

Damned Squirrels

I went to the Strybing Arboretum yesterday and a pack of damned squirrels followed me around.

They’re absolutely fearless. They come right up to your pant legs and start pulling on them. The beggars.

You can’t feed them (supposedly, there are signs warning against it) and I didn’t have any food on me at all, not even a stick of chewing gum. I don’t know why they followed me. They should have taken the hint that I hate squirrels.

I guess they’re not well-versed in telepathy.

Defining Moments in the War Against the Squirrels

I despise squirrels.

There. I’ve said it. For those of you who don’t know me well or think I am joking, well, step back. If you’re a card carrying member of PETA, look out.

I must admit, I do like most animals. I like my cat, Maxx Attaxx. He’s mental, spastic, and bites hard, but is endearing in many other ways. For example, he keeps my feet warm when I’m sleeping. He also catches bugs, and kills them with gusto.

I like dogs too. I especially like well-behaved dogs, ones that will actually do what you say. I love dogs who don’t poop in my yard. (I might like dogs, but this house is dog-less at the moment. If there’s dog poop in my yard, that means it doesn’t belong here, and some human was negligent about removing said feces.) I also like horses, birds and animals in zoos. I like cows, but I have no qualms about eating a hamburger or wearing leather shoes. Sure, they have huge, sad eyes, but that doesn’t bother me. I know they are dumber than a box of rocks, and someone has to eat them. *Raises hand*

However, squirrels are different. Squirrels are a scourge upon this land. Squirrels should be eliminated by all means possible. They are glorified rodents, dressed up in a “pretty” poofy squirrel tail. Get them wet, and they’re just a big rat.

There are easily several thousand squirrels within the one block area that contains my home. I kid you not. There are black ones, brown ones, and albino ones. I blame the overpopulation of these rodents on the complacency of some of the squirrel sympathizers in my community. Some people actually think that squirrels are cute. They feed them peanuts. There’s a retired doctor down the street who feeds them Krispy Kremes and giant bagels. I know this, because the squirrels bring their haul down to our yard and try to hide it. We’ve found pastries in my husband’s garden shoes (which he keeps outside), in the garage, and tucked under the trampoline cover. Squirrels are so stupid, they forget where they hide their stash of food. Thus, when I am weeding, I end up uncovering peanuts. (A hint: in my area of the Tundra, peanuts are not found naturally of among our flora.)

I would shoot the squirrels that come into my yard, but I can’t. I live in a rather crowded suburb of a rather large metropolitan area. If I were to start shooting at squirrels, I’d be arrested. I’d love to lay out a dish of radiator fluid, but I think that would get me jail time as well. I am, however, lobbying for squirrel birth control.

In my lifetime, I managed to fell two squirrels without even trying. One time, I netted up my strawberry patch and an unwitting (code word: stupid) squirrel got himself entangled in the net. He might have had a strawberry grin on his face, but he was dead. His limp body was a warning to the other squirrels hoping to feast on berries. “Stay away!” They did.

The other time, I was pulling into the office at work. I was driving maybe 20 miles per hour, slowing down to turn into the driveway. My daughter, Ms. MiniDemonic, was in the passenger seat. I believe she was about nine or ten at the time. The squirrel was teasing me in the middle of the road. I didn’t aim for it, but figured the rodent would scamper out of the way. I was surprised to learn that he didn’t. I flattened that thing like a pancake. He obviously thought I was going to swerve to avoid him. Where would he get that idea? From the thousands of other squirrel sympathizers? Dumb ass. Now when I drive in my neighborhood, I try to swerve into them, but they’ve all wised up. They move if they see me coming.

I just noticed that I’m going to have a bumper crop of pears this year, and am already fretting about what to do with my rodent problem. I’d kind of like to actually eat one of my pears this year.

I wonder if I can ring up General Powell on the phone for his advice. After all, he’s retired and might need something to do.

Winning the Strawberry Wars Against the Squirrels

Two years ago, I planted a bed of strawberries at the back of the yard. I have a very nice terraced far back yard, where I grow vegetables and wine grapes. It’s quite large. Before we moved here, that area was a jungle of obnoxious plants clinging to boulders that were bigger than my head. The first thing I insisted Mr. Demonic do was to hire a landscaper to try and tame that mess. Each year has been a struggle, but finally this year it’s less of an fight to dig up weeds. You can see my terrace on Google maps. Of course, you can also see my dirty car and the equally filthy patio table on Google maps. (What an invention!)

I lined the back fence with wine grapes, and planted the strawberries right under the grapes. My plan was to have enough of a strawberry crop to (someday) to make jam.

Last year, my attempts at Strawberry Heaven were thwarted by squirrels. The squirrels in my neighborhood are not your normal, run-of-the-mill cute and furry animals. They are descendants from Satan and monster rats. This area is overpopulated by the glorified rodents. The squirrels in my neighborhood eat everything, including tomatoes and zucchini. They also have a passionate love affair with my strawberries.

This spring, as I was applying a dose of MiracleGro to my garden, I thought to myself that there must surely be a way to undermine the squirrel attack. My strawberry plants are healthy and thick. It’s a crying shame that I have yet to taste one delectable homegrown berry.

With renewed vigor, I made a trek to the local nursery. I perused the shelves for anti-squirrel venom (otherwise known as fox or coyote pee), and snagged a bottle of elixir to spread around the area. I also picked up a couple of packages of netting with which to surround my tender fruits.

Once home, I encased the entire area in a double layer of netting, top to bottom. My husband came by to see what I was doing. When he learned that I was using the netting, he had a mini-fit. Twenty years ago, in another house, I had a nice strawberry garden, similar to the one I have now. I had the same problem with squirrels in that neighborhood (and woodchucks, and ‘possums, and other creatures). I used netting to cover my berries. It was effective. I had quarts and quarts of strawberries, which was a good thing, because I was pregnant at the time and one of my cravings (besides Orange Crush) was strawberries.

One morning back at the old place, I went to harvest my bucket of berries, and found a squirrel hopelessly strangled in the netting. Yes, he/she was dead. I didn’t feel badly. (So shoot me.) I’m sure the critter had a strawberry grin on his face. What better way to leave this planet?

Yesterday afternoon, I picked my first bowl of strawberries. The fruit was uber-delicious. So far, no squirrels have been harmed in the harvest of my strawberries, but I’m not going to feel bad if any are. After all, the season is still young.