Saturday, August 5, 2017

I Can't Win

Any thought that I finally got the upper hand in the squirrel war is an illusion in my own mind.  In my heart of hearts, I know without a doubt that no sooner than I latch the door on the barn than Percy and his gang rush into the milking room to push the mice aside and pillage the grain pile.

It's kind of cute when Turk runs ahead of me to the feeding station every day.  "Good morning, Turk, and how are we doing today?"  "Can the chatter, lady, and serve my breakfast."  (Squirrels aren't known for good manners, or perhaps they just wake up cranky.)

I see roving hopefuls outside the chicken pen when I let the little girls out and throw down their scratch, but they have the decency to wait until I leave the yard before joining the al fresco buffet.  On my way back to the house yesterday, I counted six of the little boogers on the clean-up committee, making sure no grain was left on the ground; hopefully the chickens had had their fill.  On days when I don't need milk for the house or for my customer, I fill these bowls for the chickens.  For the chickens, I said.  No more than ten steps outside the pen, I looked back to see these two slurping up a milk shake.  I can't win.

The hen in the foreground is one of the brown leghorns, easily recognized by her tam o' shanter-style comb worn at a rakish angle, as well as the white earlobe.  The leghorns are such a kick.  The leghorns have a loud, maniacal-laughter cackle, unlike any of the other hens.  They are thinner and taller, and have a tendency to race around the pen for no apparent good reason.

The goats and I got a bit of a fright last evening when two very large, very aggressive dogs rushed the fence line in the vineyard to the west, barking deep, threatening warnings.  I bellowed at them to "go home!" but they weren't going to back down.  The girls clustered at my side, but I was finally able to get them into their stalls and safe.  I've never seen these dogs before and can only hope they don't belong to the people who bought the property, and that they'd just wandered in from the road.  Tall deer fencing would keep dogs from jumping over, but dogs can dig under easily.  I don't need that kind of worry.

Back to the subject of squirrels.  Pete is having problems of his own with the furry vandals.  There are several fruit trees in his yard, including a very large pear tree, absolutely loaded with fruit.  His squirrels climb the branches, cut down clusters of pears, and then gnaw their way in to the seeds.  Why just the seeds and not the flesh is anyone's guess.  However, they leave the uneaten remains on his lawn (oh sure, he has a lawn) to rot or for Pete to pick up.  I have no answers for him.  Perhaps I'll give him a white flag to fly when he concedes defeat, because he isn't going to win, either.

1 comment:

Kathryn Williams said...

Can he put a ring of slippery stuff around the trunk of the tree? Something that comes in sheets that is bendable so that they squirrels have nothing to cling to as they attempt to climb the trunk?