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Friday, April 13, 2012

Squirrels Then and Now

Talk about time bringing tolerance: Years ago, I used to rail against squirrels when I wrote about them in my newspaper gardening column, calling them names like buck-toothed bandits because they had a knack for swiping tomatoes juuust before I could pick them.

The name I most often used to describe these destructive rodents was "bushy-tailed rats." Which explains why a sympathetic, empathetic reader sent me this drawing, entitled: "Bushy Tailed Rat."

While I had no interest in shooting squirrels, I certainly got some vicarious pleasure from the sinister details in the drawing.



Ahhh, how far I've come since those intolerant days in Atlanta. Now, here in Connecticut, the squirrels seem less destructive, following the code of people here in the Land of Steady Habits; they eat their acorns, have a little walkabout, admire the plants, take a nap. Or, maybe they just have more space to spread out than their city kin had. In any case, my anger has subsided, allowing me to not only shoot this picture, but to enjoy the squirrel's calm pleasure.



Tolerance goes only so far, however. If today that artist changed the subject from squirrel to deer or volemole, he'd have me laughing out loud.

14 comments:

  1. My anger toward squirrels hasn't subsided yet (it's war when you eat my strawberries) but you give me hope that I'll get there someday.

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    1. Hey, Heather, strawberry theft does give you cause. Given that, it may take you a verrrry long time.

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  2. This post made me laugh. I love it! Believe me, I can relate to your Atlanta days (I think southern squirrels must be the problem). The squirrels here are very aggressive and drive me crazy! They destroyed a three year old perennial bed I was so very proud of. Also, a few years ago, I came home to find one sitting on top of a bird house eating a hibiscus bloom! I just tolerate them. Thank goodness they don't have an appetite for daylilies, or we would have a serious problem. :-)

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    1. To be sure, squirrels do differently here in the Land of Steady Habits; they eat their acorns, have a little walkabout, admire the plantings, then take a nap.

      I don't want to speak too well of them; that'll make 'em eat down a perennial just make a liar out of me.

      Stay strong, Beth.

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  3. When I lived in a more citified neighborhood in West Hartford squirrels were a plague. We moved one town over to Bloomfield, but are now in an open area with lots of forest around. The few squirrels here do no damage. I really think it's a matter of urban vs. rural.

    Squirrels are city folk. They need sidewalks and a Starbucks nearby to feel at home.

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    1. That's definitely how the squirrel chronicles are shaping up, Laurrie – urban vs. rural. Glad you're in the latter category, too. Starbucks is a 30-minute drive for the squirrels and me. And you?

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    2. We live in the country but our nearest Starbucks is only 3 miles away. Don't tell the squirrels!

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    3. Your secret is safe with me.

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  4. No tolerance garden here. Even though they have cute little faces and bushy tails that flick their intentions. The rotten rodents chewed through the electric cords to the pump of my water feature. Grrrr Not to mention all the trees they plant in the garden that I have to pull. Nope, no tolerance here.

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    Replies
    1. Hey, Lisa, I understand your feelings; I used to have the same ones. However, your bushy-tailed rats sound worse than mine ever were – even in the city. You ever eat squirrel stew? Just wondering.

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  5. Yep, I have had squirrel stew, but not recently. One really should do something productive with all these squirrels.
    Thanks for stopping by my blog. We may be in the same zone but they put an A by my 6. So as with this winter my area can swing into 7 or way up into 5. You just never know here in SW IN.

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  6. Always a pleasure to visit, Lisa; and seeing your lovely blooms gives me a preview of what I might see here. Funny, here in the Connecticut River Valley, near the shoreline, I was given that same A by my 6, showing there are too many variables for anyone to know *exactly* what nature will do.

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  7. Don't forget to add chipmunks to the list of squirrel replacements. Chimpunks tend to get to my tomatoes juuust before my hand can reach out to pick them ... nothing but bushy tailed rats with stripes.

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  8. Joene, you're absolutely right; chipmunks are about where squirrels used to me on my enemies list. Your tomatoes, my strawberries. Grrrr.

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