In the big picture of things, I’d have to say that normally I’m a peaceful person who doesn’t search for nor enjoy conflict of any kind. I can’t say though that I’m a true pacifist because when I’ve had enough, I’ll come out fighting. And this week - I’m fighting.
Coming from a big, barren, neonized place like Las Vegas, I loved the idea of living in peaceful harmony with all of the wildlife in our yard. All year long we feed the birds, squirrels and whatever random critter that passes through the Costen compound.
We have squirrel food that I toss out every morning like a true country girl feeding the chickens. We have squirrel feeders with ground-up pulverized cornmeal bricks for them to nibble on at their leisure. I even have corn-on-the-cob feeders so they can get a true sense of nature and eat the dried kernels as if they were stealing it straight from the garden.
But this doesn’t seem to be enough for these furry little spoiled brats. Somehow my peaceful disposition has managed to get our address put on the Squirrel’s Five Star travel guide. I can’t fill a squirrel or bird feeder fast enough. Two weeks ago I filled a three pound feeder on Monday and it was empty on Wednesday. Now that wouldn’t be a problem if I’d fed a flock of bluebirds or cardinals. But no, it was an entire herd of squirrels. (It’s my column and my story and I can exaggerate if I want.)
Drawing the proverbial line in the sand, I declared war on these obnoxious rodents and took a page out of North Korea’s crazy leader Kim Jong Un’s playbook by moving my missiles to the north side of the yard. These fur balls don’t know whom they are messing with!
Now you might say that I’m making mountain out of a mole hill, but let me put this into perspective for you.
I could’ve served my entire family a prime rib dinner for the same price as the bags of chopped sunflower seeds, special songbird blend seeds, safflower seeds, squirrel mix and suet balls - which are supposed to be squirrel resistant- that I bought the first week in April. And 14 days later, it’s all gone.
But if that wasn’t enough, the completely ungrateful little varmints ate every one of my special crocus bulbs that I planted last fall. These weren’t just ordinary crocus; they were extra large and early bloomers in special variegated colors.
So let’s get back to the war zone. After studying our cages and searching the Internet for ways to “Squirrel Proof” my feeders, I came up with a plan.
I bought an industrial size roll of the heaviest strength duct tape I could find. I taped the metal holders to the feeders. I taped the tops to the holders. I even taped the end of the poles so they couldn’t push the feeders on the ground. Seriously, I have very smart squirrels.
That only slowed them down. When they couldn’t pull the hanging handle from the tube, they tried to chew through the duct tape. When that didn’t work and they couldn’t get the tube to fall off the hook, they discovered they could hang upside down on the feeder and vigorously shake it thereby sending all the small bits of seeds to the ground, where their friends and families were all anxiously waiting for an easy meal.
My next strategic move, you ask?
Not ready to concede defeat, I once again went to the Internet to see if someone else had found the perfect “squirrel proof” solution to stop those ungrateful little pests.
After laughing till I cried at You-Tube videos of squirrel catapults (the best being -squirrel catapult country style) I soon came to realize that no matter how creative the design, they will figure it out. There were photos of squirrels stuck inside almost every “squirrel proof” feeder invented by a human. So the question is; who establishes the criteria for something to be considered squirrel proof?
Although I haven’t given up and they may have won this battle, the war is far from over; there are two silver linings in this struggle between the Costens and the squirrels.
First, they’re not black bears.
The second… I found a great recipe for squirrel pot pie.