Sunday, November 9, 2008

Fun With Squirrels..

One of the many things I love about living in Iowa is a little something we call backyard wildlife. No, I don't mean that we have wild parties with drinking binges and drugs and puking and stuff in our backyards where everyone gets so inebriated that they don't remember what happened the next morning as they wake up covered in leaves and twigs under the back porch... Or perhaps that is what's going on and I just don't realize it due to the fact that the participants are of the non-human variety. Maybe I don't know just how 'wild' our wildlife is?

We frequently (as in, nearly daily) spot all types of critters in our yard ranging in several different kinds of birds, to squirrels, to bunnies, and of course deer, raccoons and possums. It is not unusual for one to interrupt ladies night on my lawn among the neighborhood deer if one is to venture out late in the evening. The other night I opened the back door to go out and push the bikes and skateboards the rest of the way into the garage so I could shut the door after putting the kids to bed and was greeted by 3 deer outside my back door. Two were lounging lazily in the grass and the third (presumably Mama Deer as she was the biggest) was grazing. I just stopped where I was and stood silently watching them, them watching me.. eventually they decided that if I wasn't going to go away, they would, and off they pranced into the neighbors yard (their grass is probably better anyway).


My daughter is convinced that someday she will catch and hold a squirrel or a bunny. We've actually had bunnies nest in our yard.. the first batch was found with a lawn mower.. eeeewww. That was messy. They certainly are entertaining to watch though.


Our neighbors have a bird haven in their backyard with several feeders and a pedestal bath in the center of their lawn. The kids have enjoyed learning the names of some various birds and watching the squirrels mess with them - stealing their food and chattering at them from the trees.

I won't even get started on the fun Molly had with the squirrels.. since I'm still rather saddened by her absence. But you can imagine what entertainment would come from having a lab/pointer mix on a 30' line in a yard filled with squirrels.

Squirrels are little hellions. Their kind of like a pack of six year old boys who have been raised by wolves and live on a diet of sugar and sugar-coated sugar.

My parents also live in Iowa. Yep, they do. They also have lots of backyard wildlife to enjoy down in their neck of the woods. Amazing, I know. And I know for a fact that their wildlife is most certainly the partying variety.. they leave quite the mess of beer bottles and cigar stubs around my parents yard.

My mother has a bird house on a pole. Sound weird? It is. Okay, not really if you're looking at it.. but still. It's a metal pole, don't worry it will all make sense... She likes to keep it well stocked all year since it's directly in line with her kitchen window and that way she has something to keep her entertained while she washes her dishes. As fall attacked with a vengeance: temperatures dropping 20 degrees a day, plants shriveling like grapes on a hot day, and leaves dropping from the trees like clothes off a hooker.. mom noticed that the bird-feeder-on-a-pole was emptying almost as fast a she could fill it.

"What the..??" she wondered to herself as she refilled it for the 257th time in one day..

The next day, she kept vigil by her kitchen window, determined to figure out who was pigging out on her seeds. It didn't take long for the snack bandit to make itself known. Before long, she spied a squirrel, a fat furry little bugger, running full speed across the yard and scurrying up the metal pole.. Yep, the metal pole that was there for the purpose of deterring the squirrels who might rob a bird house were it hanging in a tree.

Stunned, my mother began to ponder ways she might be able to thwart young squirrel's quest for the birdie goodies. "A-ha!" she exclaimed as she opened her cupboard and grabbed the can of Crisco.

The next morning, she got up early. It was o'dark thirty and she donned her black sweat suit and ski mask, grabbed her trusty can o' Crisco and headed out the back door into the crisp fall morning. She snuck stealthily over to the bird-house-on-a-pole and squatted down in the grass beside it, opening her can o' Crisco. She scooped up some of the cool, slimy grease and began rubbing it all up and down the metal pole. When she was finished, she packed up her weapon of mass deterrence and headed back indoors.

Later that morning, as she was scrubbing the morning dishes, she watched carefully through her window for Mr. Climb-a-pole-and-steal-another-poor-defenseless-animal's-food. Sure enough, after a few minutes she spotted the little glutton jockeying for position off in the corner of the yard. He took aim and shot across the yard in a blur of brown fuzz and claws and launched himself at the pole.

Thunk.. sshhllllliiiiink.. plop. Lather, rinse, repeat. No cookie for you.

Naturally, mom laughed hysterically and dad came to see what the ruckus was about. Then, he too got to join in on the giggle-fest as they watched Mr. Not-so-clever-as-he-thought-he-was Squirrel repeatedly throw himself with wild abandon at the treat on a stick, only to slide pitifully back to the ground over and over.

I think next time mom should let dad camp out by the fire pit with a bee-bee gun, catch the little hoodlum, and put him on a stick. Forget weenie roast, let's have a squirrelly roast!


Sitemeter makes me giggle: this post earned me a page view from someone who googled 'opossoms spaying and rubbing there head on tree pic'... yeah, you know who you are...


Amy said...

Wow lady please be kind to the wildlife lets please not speak of roasting animals on sticks. I am going veg again. I will eat meat till the first of the year but not at home at least once that meat that is in the house is eaten.

Pamela said...

Squirrels are rats with fluffy tails. Why would you ever eat one? Talk about eeeeewwwww!

I'm guessing it tastes like chicken?

And poor, poor Amy. There's nothing like a nice yummy pot roast to keep away the winter cold!

muskrat said...

i see my comment from yesterday didn't post...probably b/c i used my blackberry.

i said that my pa gave me a BB gun for taking care of the varmints when i was about 10. it was a lot more fun that greasing a pole!

ChurchPunkMom said...

Amy: congratulations.. we're having corndogs today, how's that for animals on sticks?

Pamela: I love rats. Raised them when I was a kid. So, to me, squirrels just look like a more snuggly version. And I hear they're great for skewering.. so long as their not rabid.

Muskrat: my husband has a Blackberry.. I'm afraid to touch it. Was your bb gun a Red Ryder??

Dave said...

In reference to the first part of the post...that kind of wild life hasn't occurred since my last visit. I miss playing drunken darts in your shed...

Always Home and Uncool said...

I have long considered the Crisco route, but them I'm afraid my dog would stand there licking the pole all day.

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