My Enemy is a Varmint!

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.

Pecans are common throughout Kirby

I've never seen the hulls open on my trees

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 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.

Deutsch: Grauhörnchen (Sciurus carolinensis) i...

You’re right.  The truth is I’m giving up the battle.

The squirrels win.

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37 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. alittletoohonest
    Mar 26, 2012 @ 19:36:17

    Don’t give up! I have been fighting them for a while, but I won’t tell you how I won. just that I did :)

    Reply

    • kewsmith
      Mar 26, 2012 @ 20:18:27

      Oh my, a challenge. Not even a hint?

      Reply

      • alittletoohonest
        Mar 26, 2012 @ 20:22:31

        Well, lets just say I found a foolproof way to thin the herd……they haven’t outsmarted me on this one yet :D I get a lot of flack about it, so I dont usually say too much…but around here they are like flies, just wayyyy too many of them. Ya gotta do something!

  2. philosophermouseofthehedge
    Mar 26, 2012 @ 19:52:55

    (No, don’t put on “Old Yeller”! Nooooooo! too sad). Good luck with the squirrels..the only way I’ve ever found to discourage them is a hurricane – and that’s just too much trouble! ( besides they have those fluffy tails…and cute tricks…gave up on having a garden – they will have to go elsewhere…)

    Reply

  3. fluffandfeathers
    Mar 26, 2012 @ 20:20:37

    Buy yourself a squirrel live trap and take them camping.

    Reply

  4. whatimeant2say
    Mar 26, 2012 @ 20:22:23

    As long as they stay out of my house – particularly my attic, they can do whatever they want! My husband, though, does not feel the same way…

    Reply

  5. Naomi Baltuck
    Mar 26, 2012 @ 20:31:41

    I SO relate to your predicament. One year I planted a hundred fall blooming crocus bulbs, and the squirrels must have had quite a party. Three bulbs survived, and the reset were consumed or relocated. They are rats with fat tails, and very smart, fascinating to watch. But you might as well try, like King Canute, to hold back the tide with a spoon!

    Reply

    • kewsmith
      Mar 27, 2012 @ 16:32:28

      No kidding. For years I was sure I could figure this out but -no. I picked up one of those upside-down tomato things yesterday, on a whim. You may be reading about what they do to it next.

      Reply

  6. Howlin' Mad Heather
    Mar 26, 2012 @ 20:56:48

    Caddyshack reference FTW. I’d say if you’re waging war on varmints, there’s no better weapon than a Jack Russell terrier. We had one and no varmint would dare get near our property.

    Reply

    • kewsmith
      Mar 27, 2012 @ 16:40:25

      Thank you for getting the reference. I was hoping someone would and I should have guessed it would be you. It’s my shoutout to Bill Murray.

      Reply

  7. momshieb
    Mar 27, 2012 @ 04:30:39

    For me it isn’t the squirrels so much as the deer! I started out loving them…Bambi and all that ……then I planted roses. Good God! they can eat through everything, including my chain link fence, once I dug up the roses and moved them to the inside of the dog fence!
    Let me know if your plan works; I might just try leaving bits of venison sausage in my yard to discourage them!

    Reply

    • kewsmith
      Mar 27, 2012 @ 16:34:58

      Interesting idea. We have opossums around here and a few foxes but so far I haven’t seen a deer in town. My family in south Texas says the deer population is getting thick. Good luck with the roses.

      Reply

  8. Harper Faulkner
    Mar 27, 2012 @ 08:24:27

    “I still cry more at a movie if an animal dies than if a person does. “Old Yeller” was almost the death of me.”

    Yep, me too. Me, too.

    HF

    Reply

  9. sarahpotterwrites
    Mar 27, 2012 @ 11:31:07

    We have an albino squirrel visits our garden. Its eyes are like rubies. My dog isn’t allowed to chase it away.

    Reply

  10. PM
    Mar 27, 2012 @ 23:27:35

    c’mon don’t let your pecan tree down!

    Reply

  11. teeceecounsel
    Mar 28, 2012 @ 12:59:15

    The squirrels win? You probably didn’t do enough Squirrel voodoo. Lol. Sometimes they are a beauty to to behold, just that they don’t spare whatever the trees produce for us.

    Reply

  12. orples
    Mar 28, 2012 @ 16:38:11

    You have some lucky little squirrels. Not many people would plant pecan trees just for them. LOL. Sometime it is tough to try to grow food when critters are around.

    Reply

    • kewsmith
      Mar 28, 2012 @ 19:52:38

      I may just hang out a white flag so they know the battle is officially over. Squirrels in the frontyard and dogs in the backyard. Growing anything is tough. I may need a new hobby.

      Reply

      • orples
        Mar 28, 2012 @ 20:00:43

        If it is any consultation, you get kudos from me for being a fellow sap. I buy extra cat food so the raccoon doesn’t go hungry. You have to admit, though, the squirrels are fun to watch, so at least you got something in return for the nut trees you planted for them. I know … not funny. ;)

      • kewsmith
        Mar 28, 2012 @ 20:06:34

        They are fun to watch. A raccoon- I would love that!

  13. orples
    Mar 28, 2012 @ 20:14:54

    I have a friendly little critter that comes to visit me, usually at night. She (?) lives under the storage shed. Last summer she was coming out in the daylight hours, which worried me. I was afraid the neighbors would see her and think it strange, since racoons are nocturnal. I think she got hot and thirsty, and just wanted some water. She wouldn’t stay out long. I did a post on her, if you care to check it out.

    http://orples.wordpress.com/2012/03/09/meet-rocky-rockette/

    Reply

  14. riatarded
    Mar 28, 2012 @ 20:29:37

    LOL loved the post! The description was hilarious! I love squirrels!

    Reply

  15. Trackback: P&Q’s Week In Review « Prawn And Quartered
  16. Jane Thorne
    May 31, 2012 @ 02:25:49

    Oh Karen I’ve missed you…squirrel voodoo..love it. I have just moved from a home where squirrels were everywhere…I lost countless bulbs etc…only thing that worked…my dogs! J xx

    Reply

  17. Smaktakula
    Jun 02, 2012 @ 10:53:22

    I got here late–but I feel your pain. Only my varmint problem is gophers!

    Reply

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