Living in the Wild
During the past years we have tried to grow gardens, but to our dismay, the deer accepted them as a gift. In other words, they ate most of the produce that we attempted to grow. After trying several types and heights of fences, we did finally find success. We discovered that if you build a fence high enough, it indeed will keep out the deer, but then, one has to consider the other creatures that desire to take their place.
Later we found that Chipmunks were indeed eager to take over for the deer. They dug up our garden seeds right after we planted the crop. Inevitably, just like the deer, it was struggle to rid ourselves of their presence. I found that trapping Chipmunks does not work, there are just too many of them; besides, a little later while at Disney World, my little 3 year old boy informed Chip and Dale what I did to our fury friends in our garden. One only has to see the gasp of panic on Chip and Dale’s faces as they jump back in horror, I then felt very small indeed.
Squirrels are another challenge that I have faced while trying to feed the birds in several locations around our house. They tip feeders upside down, crash them to the ground and then eat the remains gleefully. Meanwhile, I spend many hours trying to repair our feeders all the while birds are flying back and forth in front to the windows wondering what I did with their food source. Guilt eventually overcomes me and I work into the night repairing another feeder. I have tried greasing the chain with beeswax that holds up the feeders. The squirrels come down the chain rather quickly, but then choose to leap 10 feet to the ground instead of climbing up a greasy chain. After awhile, I see that they seem to enjoy the adventure of the greased chain. Anne, (my wife) tries to hold back a smile as she walks by.
Speaking of the squirrels, they also like to steal the orange slices that I put out for the orioles and finches. They climb the Shepard hooks and hollow out the orange halves until nothing is left but the skin. Wishing no harm to them, I searched my brain for a way to dissuade them from enjoying another animal’s food. One day I thought, “How about putting a lemon out for them!” I thought it rather cleaver, though Anne thought it rather strange and perhaps a little perplexing. “I don’t think they will eat them anyway”, she said. Anne was right, they didn’t even come close to the lemon halves. At that point I was wondering if I was losing a battle of wits and I questioned myself if I indeed was the one with the larger brain.
Then it came to me, how about putting the lemons inside the hull of the orange halves. Perhaps it will fool them. Later that afternoon, I was at the computer, when I looked out the window and low and behold, I watched a squirrel chewing away on the lemon. It jumped back after several bites, all the while exposing it’s teeth involuntarily. It appeared to have a smile that seemed rather Macabre. It then frantically looked around and stopped under the hummingbird feeder. Side note: (The squirrels in the past drank their sugar water as well, that is, until I hung the hummingbird feeder from the eve of the house). Meanwhile, the squirrel was frantic at this point in its quest for something to rid itself of this awful taste in its mouth. I could see the gears turning in its brain, “I need that water right now!” After several failed attempts at reaching the hummingbird feeder, it raced down the deck post to the water cask below. Drinking rather liberally, it then looked back at me with a look that seemed to say, “We are not done yet!”
|One small step for . . . ugh, my chin!|
Needless to say, I felt rather like a noble knight who just defended the weaker person from the bully in the village. My idea though, had flaws in its development. “How could I feed the songbirds if the squirrel did in fact return. With downcast heart I woke up the next morning to discover the orange halves hollowed out once again and a mother oriole looking dismayed over the prospect of not being able to feed her babies. In a last ditch attempt to outwit a formidable foe, I coated the shepherd hooks with vaseline. Resigning myself once again to failure, I looked over and watched the downey woodpeckers sliding down the greased Shepard hooks all the while trying vainly to climb to the suet feeder. I wonder if Einstein had these days?
|Slip, slip, slip~. "This is embarrassing!"|