In the past, I've defended squirrels, especially from my friend Julie. When we walk at the Berkeley Marina, she stops, holds my arm, and makes a terrible snickering noise when she sees a squirrel. Sometimes, she says things like, "Rats with fluffy tails."
Other times, she goes on about the fact that they are where they shouldn't be. "Environmental issues," she says. "People shouldn't feed them here."
At that time, I was mostly a squirrel loving person, though when I lived in Orinda, I learned to put my tomato plant on the south facing deck (they had to be on the decks only because we also had deer) because the squirrels didn't like that deck. It was too often traveled by human and cat alike to be safe, so the tomatoes thrived.
When I moved to Montclair, I realized that all these years, Julie was right. Squirrels are devil spawn. They are little shits, actually, and I've done my best to protect my vegetables and birdseed. First, Michael and I bought the bird feeder that hangs over the deck, the bird feeder with the "hat" that keeps the squirrels off. It's worked, amazingly, though the squirrels do like to give it a go--walking out to the end of the pole, holding on for dear life while trying to figure out how to fling their tiny bodies onto the bird seed.
After trying for a few weeks, the rumor of the dwindling birdseed feed post was spread, and they stopped coming around. For a while, I would see a squirrel flopped on its belly, watching the bird feeder, blinking its dark eyes. And then, I was free of squirrels and squirrel residue! Oh frabjous day!
Then the tomatoes ripened. I knew something was terribly wrong when I found mountains of tomato skins at the end of the deck. And finally, one evening while I was watching my Tivo'd Californiacation, I saw him. Or her. Sneaking up and lifting up on hind legs to grab! Yes! My prize green tomato. But it was too late. I rushed out of the house with my spray water bottle, shooting away, but the squirrel and tomato were gone.
So--it was October after all--I decided that the tomato plants had to go. The vines were dying, so I just pulled off the fruit (my mother loves fried green tomatoes) and dumped the plants. Fine. There. You win, you little monsters.
All was well at the homestead until we noticed there was a pumpkin carving contest going on outside the front door. But it wasn't by the local kindergärtners. It was squirrel spawn, carving an eye here, an eye there. We took the two pumpkins that had survived the blitz and put them on the hearth inside. But we left the art project going, and the second eye grew. It grew and it grew and it grew, until finally, there was a hole big enough for a squirrel to fit in.
Michael came home one day to find Mr. Pain-in-the-Ass Squirrel upside down in the pumpkin. Upon hearing Michael, he pulled his head out and raced one way, no, the other, and then jumped into a tree cackling and flipping his tail.
We stared at the orange seeded carnage. But we left the pumpkin outside so we could see the end results, which I have left for you in a photo here and on my author page.
The squirrel won first prize in the contest, and if the pumpkin makes it, I will put a candle in it on Halloween!
Causes Jessica Inclán Supports
Women for Women International Goodwill Industries Lindsey Wildlife Museum Freecycle.org