Furry little varmints

Rick Ryckeley's picture

When I kissed Candi in Old Mrs. Crabtree’s third-grade class, she got really upset — old Mrs. Crabtree, not Candi. I think Candi liked it.

I tried to kiss her again but was stopped in mid-pucker. Mrs. Crabtree pulled me out of the classroom by my ear. As I was pulled down the hallway towards Principal Baker’s office, I could see disappointment in her face — Candi’s, not old Mrs. Crabtree’s.

Disappointments are just a part of life. They happen to everyone, but usually they are not coupled with anger. When they do, typically something really bad has occurred. Such was the case for yours truly last week.

Warning for all you PETA folks out there: don’t read the rest of this column. Reading further will only upset you. Then you’ll write to the editor again about how I mistreat animals. I’m still getting emails about that snake article, and it’s been almost five years.

When is a squirrel not a squirrel? When they invade my deck garden and commence to treat it like their own personal smorgasbord. They then turn into furry little varmints. Varmints I intend to eradicate. That is, as soon as I figure out how.

It all started when I had the great idea to make our back deck into a container garden featuring upside-down tomatoes, assorted herbs and eggplant. The eggplant was the first casualty. The Wife called me early one morning, “You’re not going to believe this. All the eggplant has been eaten by the squirrels.”

When I got home, not all the eggplant was gone. The squirrel had left a small green one on the deck with two bites out of it. Not only had the squirrel eaten our dinner, but it was taunting me. I threw down my garden shears and picked up my bug sprayer. This was war, and only one of us was going to live through it.

Man is at the top of the food chain and allegedly smarter than all the other animals on the planet. Certainly it couldn’t be hard to eradicate one little furry varmint.

With a bug sprayer full of Liquid Seven in hand, I sprayed the upside-down tomatoes, assorted herbs, and what was left of the eggplant. I assumed that if there was enough of the bug killer on the plants, it would at least give the furry varmint a tummy ache. I was wrong.

The next morning I found all of the eggplant stalks had been chewed down to a mere inch. The upside-down tomato looked as if a hurricane had blown through. Leaves, small branches, and green tomatoes were strewn all over the deck.

To add insult to injury, the 10 or so green tomatoes lying on the deck had one little bite out of them. If Mom were here, that squirrel wouldn’t have a chance. Nothing got Mom madder than food being wasted.

My war with the squirrel hasn’t been a cold and heartless battle. Have a Heart Traps have been set, so the now fat squirrel could be caught and released ...far away in someone else’s yard.

Unfortunately in the mornings when I check, the traps are empty, the bait is gone, and the squirrel is high in the tree laughing at me. The Wife says he’s just chattering, but I know the difference.

Over the last week I’ve lined my steps with giant blow-up snakes, sprinkled human hair all over the deck, and sprayed hot pepper wax on everything. Nothing worked.

Ready to throw in the garden trowel, I saw the answer just this morning. There was not one furry varmint, but two.

It seems my hungry squirrel had found a girlfriend. And both were rolling around playing in the herb planter. At least I think they were playing. I asked The Wife and she just smiled. Heck, the last time I saw that much dirt being thrown around was during the Great Dirt Clod War of ‘72 back on Flamingo Street.

Soon my fat furry varmint will settle down and have a family. That’ll just about put an end to his eating out. Being overweight with elevated cholesterol, his wife will put him on a high protein diet of nothing but acorns. That’ll force him to stay home and not eat out as much!

Besides, a squirrel’s lifespan is only seven years. Not long at all to wait for a good tomato or a plate of fried eggplant.

login to post comments | Rick Ryckeley's blog

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Main Stream's picture
Submitted by Main Stream on Fri, 07/17/2009 - 3:22pm.

When we first got married, husband and I lived for a while in an old 1920's log cabin in the mountains out west. There were so many holes in that log cabin, you could see the light shining through on a sunny day, plus, it was home to many critters, especially squirrels, and at night those varmints would scurry above us hidden in the ceiling. We never could see them but we could definitely hear them, especially when we would just begin to fall asleep. Of course, they would wake me up constantly with their fighting and wrestling with each other over our heads at all hours. We decided to put one of those squirrel traps on the roof and hopefully catch a few and then release them several miles away in a local park. Well, it worked. However, it worked while we were away on a 2-week vacation, having forgotten to take the trap down before we left. The squirrel, who we assumed was the Head-of-Household of their rodent clan, was dead and petrified in that trap of ours, sorry to say. PETA will hate me for saying this but we never did have any more trouble with squirrels after that.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.