BAD MANNERS

I am such a sucker for living among our wild life and respecting that it was their home before it was ours, that I once had to call the animal control people over a skunk who was doing a stand-off at night when we got out of the car, and had actually charged down the hill towards Robert one afternoon, and when I asked what he would do with the skunk when he caught it in his trap, and he said “kill it, of course” –   I called the whole thing off. And this is merely to put things into perspective and ward off the criticism that might come my way because of recent events.

Everyone knows we feed the birds.  And like so many avian aficionados we are forced to put up with unwelcome visitors.  And we do try to work around everyone’s preferences but there is a limit.  It isn’t just the expense of the seed and I am happy to feed other creatures within bounds, but it has come down to outright war and sabotage.  This happened once before, nearly eight years ago when we captured in a have-a-heart trap about 25 of the culprits in one season alone.  And I suspect and hope that all 25 are now happily carousing and reproducing way down the road next to a lovely pond and scrumptious oak trees.

We seem to have wiped out the neighborhood population in the interim. Until now.

"Sunflower seeds are not all that bad".

"Think I will have some more."

"What a score!"

You may be thinking they look cute on the deck.  You may even be saying “Aah!” But trust me it was not fun eight years ago when they took up residence in the attic and amused themselves by rolling acorns back and forth above my head at night.  And gnawed their way into the twenty gallon plastic garbage can holding the bird seed.  And intimidated the feathered friends it was intended for.

I was amused, I admit, when a customer at the Mercantile introduced me this past year to her web-cam “Bad Manners Squirrel Diner” which is hilarious and includes various scenarios and tableaus depending on her mood of the moment, so you can tune in and watch a squirrel interacting with “Nurse Barbie” or seeming to take orders from G.I. Joe, or having tea with Raggedy Ann.  All this on her urban deck in Santa Monica.  Pretty funny stuff.

But not so funny on Castenada Lane these days when we discovered that the little devils (or tree rats as they are sometimes called) were RIPPING UP AND THROWING OFF THE ROOF TILES!  I started to find pieces all over the ground.  And  Robert, much to my horror, had to get up on the roof and repair the damage. I made him wear a rope. And I didn’t breathe easy until he finished.  After all, it’s three stories down on one side!

One day I was momentarily amused when I witnessed a squirrel clinging to the side of the pine tree then leaping into my hammock, swinging back and forth, then  back again upon the tree and jumping and swinging, again and again.  I even succumbed to an “Aah” or two, until I discovered just what he proceeded to do after all those funhouse antics.

I can’t pin the mess in the garden shed upon Mr. Squirrel, but somebody likes bone meal.

And save your “Aahs” because we know he likes peanut butter.

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One Response to BAD MANNERS

  1. Maryanne says:

    You have the ability to write on such a variety of subjects. How do you remember all of those things? I feel like I got to know your little visitor with the bad manners, really a cute tale! You must be so aware of your surroundings, as to write about all the nature around you. Keep up the good work.

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