As cute and cuddly squirrels may seem, they're tree rats to me. Varmints! No good for nothing, just plain apple thieves, in my humble opinion.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm a peace loving, tree hugging, animal rights abiding citizen. I think insects are fascinating, and I appreciate bats for their bug eating services.
I'm not a bad person. It's just that I don't like squirrels that think my apple tree as a free pass to the Golden Coral. Shoplifting one apple after another, and discarding them often uneaten.
You see, this year, my one and only apple tree – the last of three that once stood on our property – is laden with what will be plump juicy fruit for pies and crisps. That is, if I am able to save them from those ravenously insatiable, lowdown, thievin rats with bushy tails.
Those squirrels have already scoped, planned and begun to carry out their strategic assault. This requires desperate measures. You may have heard of swamp wars and cupcake wars. Well, I am declaring squirrels wars and my arsenal is building.
For starters, I've skillfully hung disposable aluminum pie pans on branches. Supposedly, the shiny reflection of the sun will spook the critters.
I risked breaking bones by climbing to the top step of my kitchen utility ladder to hang my version of star wars. On tip-toes, I reached with glad hands to carefully place a wind chime. Mission critical, since the sound, I reasoned, would certainly scare them off.
Not stopping there. Next? Mothballs. Sacrificing several pairs of nylon knee highs, I plan to stuff them with mothballs and hang them in strategic locations. If the stockings don't scare the living daylights out of them, the stink will most definitely deter those darn smarty pants.
I may even go so far as to fasten a 12-inch-wide, six-foot-high piece of sheet metal around the trunk of the tree. Think of it as a squirrel slip and slide.
Experts recommend giving dogs full run of the yard to keep predators out. My Dachshunds go crazy when they spot a squirrel, zipping up and down the fence line.
However, being no taller than eight inches, their leaping ability is not much of a threat. Besides, all that yipping and yapping only seems to egg them on.
This isn't my first scrape with those pesky pests. Years ago, two conveniently broke through a screen on an open kitchen window, and then helped themselves to a loaf of bread. Right on the counter, such gall.
My husband, Brian, grabbed his weapon of choice – the kitchen broom – and with our son Nicholas' help, isolated the squirrels in the living room.
Try imagining this. My living room, filled with a bounty of breakables and dainty ditties, turned into a war zone in less than a minute. Brian, broom in hand, and our Springer Spaniel Michael chasing squirrels everywhere. Racing over furniture, on the grandfather clock, squirrels here, there and everywhere.
These weren't your everyday squirrels. Believe me, they were squirrels from hell. No, make that flying squirrels from hell.
Frustrated, my husband asked if I had any ideas. I suggested climbing a tree and acting like a wing nut. That would get them out. He didn't think it was funny.
And then it happened. Landing on the fireplace mantel, they upset my prized Bavarian china tea cup, shattering it.
On the next pass, those instigators climbed and clawed their way up one side of the windows and down the other, using curtains as footing. That was the final straw. It was them against us.
Realizing it was now or never, they broke for the front door, which my son was holding open.
Let me make it perfectly clear; I'm not out to kill squirrels. I just want them to be gone. There's nothing lethal about my "Squirrel Be Gone" strategy. Pie tins. Wind chimes. Cayenne pepper and dish soap mixture. And, an occasional broom.
A domestic war Martha Stewart would be proud of.
2012 © Copyright Paula Damon.
A resident of Southeast South Dakota, Paula Bosco Damon is a national award-winning columnist. Her writing has won first-place in competitions of the National Federation of Press Women, South Dakota Press Women and Iowa Press Women. In the 2009, 2010 and 2011 South Dakota Press Women Communications Contests, her columns have earned eight first-place awards. To contact Paula, email boscodamon.paula@gmail, follow her blog at firstname.lastname@example.org and find her on FaceBook.