An ongoing battle between a tenacious squirrel, who has been dubed as Satan & myself
|As I sat working on my home computer, I suddenly saw movement from the corner of my left eye. I turned and looked, there through the window and sitting in my front yard, sat my 8” tall nemesis! As still as a statue and glaring at me. The nerve of the little bugger! Upon seeing he had my attention, he then had the audacity to start laughing, I mean really laughing. Holding it's gut, rolling on the ground laughing and the whole while pointing at me! When I stood up and approached the window, the little tyrant stopped and stood. Giving me a steely stare, he put his little left hand on the inside of it's right elbow, at the same time bending the arm to face the sky. As the arm went up, he began making a fist while keeping the middle finger extended. With one harsh motion, he shoved it towards me. Was this little *!@t flipping me off!!! Yes by gosh, he certainly was! He wasn't done, no, he then turned around pointing his backside at me and vigorously began wiggling his rear while curling his fluffy gray tale, swishing up and down. The thing looked like one of those New Years Eve horns, the ones you blow and they uncurl. When I started to open the widow he froze and then ran off like a bolt of lighting. That's it, this time it really is war!
Maybe I should backtrack to the beginning, which would be about six years ago, or so.
There was a time when I had a nice beautiful garden as well as a half decent yard. It's funny how time has a way of changing all things. For me and my husband, the change started with my father-in-law being diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Once we learned of his condition, and saw how difficult is was for my mother-in-law to care for him, the decision to have him come and live with us was made. We knew we could give him far better care than any nursing home and doing this would also give my mother-in-law a break. A year later, since we were doing so well with my father-in-law, we decided to also bring my mother to live with us, same reason. Our thoughts being, we're set up for one, what's one more. This caring for two persons with Alzheimer's became a 24/7 job and left no time for anything else, especially a garden or yard. We cared for our parents and during the third year, my 82 year old mother passed away, then four months later, my 91-year-old father-in-law.
In the beginning, with our parents no longer with us, I felt lost, so I decided to look at all the things I had neglected during that time of care-giving. One of these neglected things had been our yard, which by this time, was in a sorrowful state. It looked like a jungle of weeds had overgrown everything else. I knew I needed to get a game plan put together of how I wanted my yard to get back in shape. The first step, to whatever I planned, entailed pulling all those weeds. Off I began my task with much zest and enthusiasm, yet, looking back I had failed to notice I was not the only one in my yard at that time. Unbeknownst to me, there had been a pair of interested eyes watching my activity the whole time from the corner of my yard.
Finally, all the weeds were gone and I could set about planting the many plants I had by then purchased. As I was surveying what was going where, I happened to wander over by our sunroom. I went to grab a rake I had left leaning against the wall. While there I happened to and look down and noticed a hole, or better said, a burrow, which lead right under our sunroom. I hadn't really noticed this burrow before, 1: because I just wasn't out there that often, and 2: there were several over grown potted plants that were semi hiding it. I could see by looking or imagine, it might be made by a ground squirrel, especially since I had seen a few running around the yard. Well that wasn't going to do. I pulled any and all potted plants from the wall and to my surprise, this little bugger had not only dug a burrow under the sunroom but had a whole little underground channel going beneath all those potted plants I had just moved. From the looks of this elaborate labyrinth, he had been at it for some time. It felt like a scene from Paint Your Wagon, I was waiting for the music to start playing and Clint Eastwood or Lee Marvin would come walking around the corner (I wish), while a creatures starte running through all those channels.
I filled the labyrinth and main hole with as much dirt and rocks as I could find. I packed it down hard, thinking, no way that little you know what was getting through there. Ha! I guess I shouldn't have been so cocky because ground squirrels are extremely TENACIOUS. My packing in dirt and rocks was nothing for this guy, for he not only dug everything I put down, he also found another section and dug a new hole there. That showed me by gosh.
I had to change strategies, and take this far more seriously than I had. I sat up thinking most of the night until I formed a plan. I'd cover the whole area with pavers, there's no way that little bugger would get through those. Off to Home Depot I went and loaded my minivan with many pavers and bags of sand. I meant business.
I dug out what dirt was in front of the affected area to about 4” below the concrete patio. I then laid and leveled sand. One by one I set down those pavers until the area was covered from the wall of the sunroom, all the way to the concrete patio, which was about 5' away. I may be old by gosh, but I am still Woman, and still roar!
Success! The bugger could not dig anywhere on that side of the sunroom. I so happy that I danced a jig. I went to bed that night and slept soundly knowing, I won. The next morning I went out to check my handy work, no signs of the enemy. I had a huge smile on my face, at least that was until I went to the other side of the sunroom and saw a freshly dug hole! UGGHHHHH!!! Oh, if that wasn't bad enough, there's more.
Satan, as I had at this point named him, had not stopped with one measly hole, no, he opened up the gates of hell, gathered an army and ordered them all to start digging holes under as many places as they could find. Holes began showing up everywhere. Under pots, stones, sidewalks, and plants. They dug up all of my flower and vegetable bulbs! Tulips, onion, daffodils, narcissus, lilies, you name it, nothing was safe. Upon seeing all of this, my blood pressure began rising and choice words began spewing from my lips, F*$%#*s!
I stomped back into the house, booted up my computer, when all else fails, Google and YouTube it, they know everything and boy howdy did they. One bit of information after another came up, who knew there were so many ways to get rid of rodents? Bingo, one bit of information caught my eye, rodents hate garlic powder and so I went to Amazon began buying garlic powder by the 5 lb bags.
Garlic powder was spread throughout my yard, reaching every nook and cranny. My yard began to smell like a garlic factory. A thought came into mind, ground squirrel in garlic sauce, hummm, how would that be. The powder seemed to work, for a while at least, but after about 6 months, they were back. Seems they had acquired a taste for garlic and from then on couldn't get enough of it.
During the garlic powder trial, I had time to lay more pavers, this time completely around the sunroom. I was approaching this war from all angles, with a determination to win. I also began noticing during this process, I had another type of audience which had slowly joined the party. A small family of crows. One by one, they began moving from different parts of the fence to places where they could have the best views of me cussing while working away. They would be quawking (probably laughing at me) the whole time. Once I noticed, there in the corner of the yard, sat Satan, watching me with his mouth covered, snickering. I had to stop using my choice words because I noticed my neighbors could hear me, “Gosh !-mn F*/@&$G Squirrels!”, they had began shutting windows or going inside. This evil little vermin was bringing out the worst in me.
Time went by, while, on and on went this tortuous chess game. I'd come up with something that seemed like it would work and Satan would retaliate with destroying something else. Is this how Bill Murray felt in the movie Caddy Shack? Rodents suck!
I guess another thing that was urking me was, across the street from our house is a creek, a REALLLY LONG CREEK! Thousands of squirrels could live there in blissful squirrel harmony. Plenty of oak trees loaded with acorns and the creek for water. If they wanted my garden stuff, fine, just cross the street and take a little, then go back HOME ACROSS THE STREET! But nope, obviously, that wasn't going to happen.
I began thinking of predators and we not only live across the street from a creek, but are also surrounded by wilderness. We have plenty of wild life, deer, raccoon, possums and even coyotes, especially coyotes, packs of coyotes. My neighbors don't let their cats or small dogs out because the coyotes will eat them. Then why the heck can't those coyotes be fat and plump by eating all these dog gone ground squirrels?
I finally reached the point of murder, their murder. I don't like killing anything in or from nature, but this had gone on too long. YouTube, show me whatcha got. Watching YouTube, I found a recipe for a mixture that was supposed to eliminate not only ground squirrels but rats as well, which by then had joined the party. The recipe would work without hurting other creatures, perfect. This sounded like a plan, so I gathered the ingredients, all of which were in my kitchen cabinet, mixed them up and placed the powder in baits all around the house, around the fence and in the yard. I forewarned my neighbor, who by this point had joined in on the battle, about the possibility of seeing a bunch of dead ground squirrels.
Day one, no action. Day Two, no action. Day three, all the bait dishes were knocked over, no sign of dead anything. Day four, my Nemesis, Satan, is watching though my office window as he sits on the front lawn.
A thought comes to mind, don't fight nature, you'll, or should I say “I”, will never win. It is now winter and since I no longer have to worry about bulbs, as Satan has dug them all up, I think I'll focus on my trees. A rock garden is starting to sound better and better, we are in a drought after all. I could concrete everything, nothing could dig through that. Chicken wire wrapped around a raised bed, that might work. YouTube did have a few more ideas.
With the new year quickly approaching, being just around the corner, I think maybe I'll wait and to start a new battle plan then.