Tuesday 27 Sep 2016

Squirrel Attack
Jennifer Flaten

In an urban setting squirrels always out number any other type of wildlife, but recently at our house we’ve had more than the usual number of squirrels. What is a “usual” number you ask, I don’t know maybe one or two squirrels, perhaps three.

Yep. I am going to say three squirrels are about the usual number of squirrels one would expect to find in their urban yard at any given time. One certainly wouldn’t expect to look out the window and see 11 squirrels in their yard at one time.

I think any sane person, upon finding 11 squirrels amassed in their front yard, would feel a creeping sense of dread, wouldn’t you agree?

Most people fall in one of two camps in regards to squirrels. That is, you either find them amusing little rodents; perhaps you envision them perform a song and dance routine straight from a Disney movie, or you believe that they are the bubonic plague wrapped in a fur coat. 

Until recently, I fell in the “awe isn’t he cute” category. Not that I did anything to encourage them to frequent my yard Much to the children’s dismay, because they most definitely think squirrels are charming and wish to see them sing, I repeatedly refused to buy a squirrel-sized wooden chair that you attach to a tree.

This wooden chair comes equipped with a little prong to hold corncobs so the squirrel can munch and lounge in comfort. It’s quite cute, really, the only reason I didn’t buy it is its ridiculous price but I digress.

While I feed the birds, I don’t use bird seed that is contains nuts or sunflower seeds specifically so I don’t have to deal with the squirrel raiding the bird feeder. The only time I encourage, and I use that term loosely, the squirrels is during fall.

In the fall, I put out pumpkins. I used to put out Indian corn, but learned my lesson last year. Last year I hung several bundles of Indian corn from the light fixtures outside the garage.

The squirrels scaled the exterior of my home and then dangled from the light fixtures to eat the corn. At one point, I heard a loud thumping on the outside of my house and went outside to investigate. I found a squirrel frantically clinging to a bundle of corn as the wind bashed him into the side of my house.

They also eviscerated all my pumpkins. This year, I didn’t hang out the corn and I bought several decoy pumpkins on which they might gnaw. 

Aside from that, I don’t do anything to encourage the squirrels. Yet, my yard contains at least five squirrels at any given time. Okay, so that doesn’t sound so odd, but consider this no other yard in the neighborhood has squirrels in it; only my yard.

Over the past several weeks, it’s gotten worse. One day we had eleven squirrels in the yard at one time. Let me tell you they go from cute to menacing rather quickly when you see that many at once.

Before you start thinking that I really need a new hobby, because I obviously have too much time on my hands if I am counting squirrels, consider that one of the kids had a friend over. As the mom and I chatted, she specifically mentioned the inordinate number of squirrels in our yard.

In fact, I could tell that the squirrels were making her a tad nervous. She kept glancing at them as if she expected them to attack at any moment. My attempt to make her feel better by telling her that five squirrels was nothing we’d had eleven at one time only made it worse. I swear she practically ran to her car, and while I can’t be sure, I think she locked the doors before she drove away.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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