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Battling the squirrels

My garden includes flowering plants and many fruit trees.  Right now the nectarines are ripening, which means that the squirrels will start their annual fight with me.  They try to eat up all my nectarines before they are big enough to ripen off the tree and I try to chase them away (with the help of Daisy the Wonderdog and the occasional help of Roxie the Beautiful) long enough to get a couple of dozen fruit from my tree.  Now that I’m even more invested in locally grown and organic produce, every nectarine won is a triumph over the mulitnational conglommerates that ruin run our food chain.  The squirrels are creatures of nature and just doing their thing,  but they don’t seem to understand my mission.  I’m happy for them to take a nectarine…if they would eat the darn thing.  But they take a fruit, take a bite and drop it back in my garden.  Daisy and I have tried to re-educate them.  Daisy by barking at them viciously with an orange ball in her mouth, and me by running outside and glaring at them.  (That doesn’t work, by the way.)

I’ve tried tying moth balls in pantyhose and dangling them from branches.  Doesn’t work.  Dangling pie-plates from branches.  Doesn’t work.  Wrapping the trees in mesh.  Only works if you seal every possible gap with plastic ties.

I need to reframe my view of squirrels for you.  When I was a little girl, growing up in Montreal, I LOVED squirrels.  Thought they were the cutest things ever with their little bushy tails.  They were mostly grey and some were brown.  Moving to Toronto in 1982, I encountered, for the first time in my life, black squirrels.  Strange looking, but I got used to them, too.  My grandmother, however, did not.  She was convinced they were rats with bushy tails.  She had never liked them in Montreal, but now, in Toronto, the black squirrels were evil rats, ready to pounce on her.  She would NOT take a walk in the park and would only gingerly venture into my mother’s spacious garden, backing onto a stunning park.  Sadly, the image of bushy-tailed rats ready to jump on one’s head, is what has stuck with me.  So my battle with the squirrels, is a battle with rats.

Darn it.  That fat grey rat with the super-bushy tail just grabbed another nectarine.  That’s MY organic produce!  Gotta go and chase it away with my big orange fruit-picking pole (doesn’t work, but makes me feel better.)

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