Tuesday, January 29, 2013

In which I give succour to mine enemy...


The squirrel. Varmint of summer. Digger of holes and destroyer of young lettuces, whose roots are left high and dry in the digger's wake. Also, the squirrel who - inexplicably - will not steal my summer strawberries.

Of course, this could be another squirrel. A bright squirrel. This squirrel has been hunting through the dry foliage of the strawberries, raking down each stem and lifting each leaf with its little paws, to find dried and frozen fruit. I had so many strawberries that I left the last berries on the plants, and there they stayed until this squirrel ate them. The animal even hunted through each flower pot and inspected the rose canes for any edible shoots. There were none.

The streets below are lined with oaks and I know that acorns are buried three deep in my pots. Miniature oak saplings germinate every spring on the terrace floor. So the squirrel has resources. But the pots are frozen, see. Solid. No. Access. 

I felt bad.

So I left a couple of almonds out for it.

I know.

Weak.


My feeling is that I will buy some nuts in shells. Pecans, maybe. And toss a few onto the roof. That way the squirrel will think it is finding them, rather than learning to come and wait and look pathetic every day, should it become used to my hand outs.

And then spring will come, and I will plant my pea and fava seeds and the frenetic digging will begin again, and I will stretch tight the chicken wire, and curse the fluff-tailed rodent, and think about making squirrel terrine.

24 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Indeed. I plead guilty. I will receive no sympathy in spring.

      Delete
  2. Obviously this squirrel does not know what an adventurous cook you are.

    My way of making peace with the squirrels who try to raid my bird feeder is to put out peanuts in their shells and sometimes a cob of dry corn. The corn attaches to a screw on a plank of wood so they can't carry the cob off into the woods. I buy all this at a local bird seed store.

    Last year I had a single pink tulip growing smack in the middle of my lawn, no doubt replanted by a squirrel. Mowed around it. They are little gardeners! And cat revitalizers.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Kindness is a wonderful Virtue.

    ReplyDelete
  4. The little wild things in the city deserve our kindnesses.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Love this! I wish I lived in Brooklyn rather than downtown NYC when I see the other version of the city that you lucky Brooklynites show. I grew up in VA and I miss having my own outdoor space and lots of little critters (winged or on cutesy feet like Mr. Squirrel above) popping in for a visit. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Marie - Dont do it, don't make friends!! He'll tell his squirrel buddies and teach his kids to come to your terrace. You'll be very sorry in the spring. They are cute and intelligent but they are not the gardener's friend.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Maybe you could look at the squirrel as livestock...

    ReplyDelete
  8. I call it kitty television. I have a bird feeder that is squirrel proofed (most of the time) so every now and then I toss some of the seed on to the patio outside of the sliding glass door. The ground feeding birds have a field day and the squirrels soon eat every last tidbit. The two cats, of course, are glued to the windows making those odd chirping noises. I think they are the cat version of a bird call because they don't do it to the squirrels. A good time is had by all.

    You're right about those acorns. They come up everywhere in the spring. The squirrels need a map of where they bury the darn things.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Squirrel treats should be dried corn on the cob or nuts in the shell. Their teeth need a lot of use to keep them in shape.

    ReplyDelete
  10. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. We tamed ours, when I was a child. They would come and knock on the storm door – tick tick tick. Mother would open it and they would sit up with their little human hands clasped in front of their chest while she reached into the jar on the mail table and pulled out a peanut. They never tried to come inside, never made impatient noises, just waited dutifully for her to hand them a treat.

    Their nests, or dreys, are airtight and waterproof, and in January they have a brood of babies. I am a gardener but I have a soft spot for them – a bit of Mother Nature that seems to carry on joyfully in spite of us dirty, noisy humans.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a nice story...The first squirrel I ever saw was in The Company Gardens in Cape Town, and my father pulled its tail. He is attracted to fluffy tails. Er...

      But yes, who can resist those little clasping hands?

      Delete
  11. I remember as a kid feeding squirrels out of the kitchen window. They became quite tame. They were the grey squirrel ( or should that be gray)and responsible for reducing the numbers of the indigenous red kind in the UK. Funny thing is there's a black squirrel which now threatens the grey.

    I'm so glad to be at the top of the food chain....

    ReplyDelete
  12. There isn't a squirrel in this town that isn't already on the dole. They eat well, so naturally you'll become friends.

    My uncle, who lived with his parents, had been feeding a squirrel when I was just a boy. When I would sleep over, the squirrel they named Stanley would come out for feeding when I was in the morning yard. I fed him peanut M&Ms, which he would grab from my palm, peel the candy shell, and eat the rest.

    I like squirrels. Its so fun to watch the young ones chase eachother -sometimes they jump straight up in the air when they are surprised by another. Cats are my problem in the garden. So you've got a solution (netting) and a new friend. Time for names to be traded.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I always thought they were cute til one came into my house and as I came down the hallway he confronted me front paws up in an aggressive manner.....haven't liked squirrels since! Stew, I tell ya....get him, before he gets YOU! : )

    ReplyDelete
  14. I'm just as weak Marie. Ok I'm a sucker for all animals (since I'm no gardener). Just..make sure Squirrel doesn't end in Estorbo's mouth... As THAT I' know would really not sit well...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Estorbo has no interest in chasing the squirrel. We learned (only yesterday) that the reason for this is that the squirrel is in fact Estorbo's chiropractor. You don't bite your chiropractor.

      Delete
  15. I have an excellent recipefor Brunswick Stew - the authentic kind... made with critter, not chicken. I've even made it once. Delicious. Just sayin' ...

    ReplyDelete
  16. We have squirrels, black and grey, coming out in droves. If you are so fond of them maybe I can send a few hundred to Brooklyn for you to nourish, before I plant my containers in the spring. They are a pain in the ash!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Oh! I had a squirrel on my first balcony. It also came into the roof and scratched the ceiling over my bedroom. I still loved that little thing. The cats thought it was the best entertainment ever. This balcony has very little life. I think that's because it is recessed. I did have a few hummingbirds though and a large, green treefrog. Slugs abound, but I am not sure what they are doing. They aren't munching anything that I can see. I simply drop them over the edge and set them free. I also had a gulf fritilary caterpillar on my passion flowers. Sweet little thing. May have named it and anxiously watched its growth, development, and final metamorphosis even though it was eating my favorite vine. I, too, am weak.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A tree frog! That's wonderful. So is your caterpillar. I make my slugs drunk .

      Delete
    2. I am not sure what the slugs are eating since I spotted no damage.. so I just sent them on an "adventure." (In other words, I picked them up and dropped them down to the grass three floors below). I am terrible-- I can't kill anything :)

      A tree frog was my dream! And there it was. It showed up in November, just when I had given up hope.

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...