Making Peace with the Squirrels

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I picked out the most adorable bird feeder. I purchased expensive bird feed from the co-op and drove home, excited to begin interacting with nature. My husband built a screen porch off the back of our home, which is my favorite place in the world. I hung the bird feeder right outside my beloved porch, filled it with birdseed, and gave it my blessing. 


I had already envisioned the morning consisting of sitting in my Adirondack chair with a cup of joe, watching all the birds come to my feeder with songs of thankfulness for my gift to them. So, off to bed I went satisfied to know what a giving person I was.


I awoke the next morning, made my coffee, and headed out to the porch. To my horror, birdseed was all over the deck next to the screened porch. I had left the birdseed bag out, and the squirrels ripped open the bag and made a huge mess! Really? How rude! I thought.


So, after I cleaned the mess, I headed to Target to purchase a cute vintage-inspired tin trashcan with a removable lid to hold my expensive birdseed. After all, a decorator wouldn’t even think about having anything unattractive on her porch. 


When next morning came, I made coffee and again headed to the porch. To my horror, the “cute-but-functional” tin trashcan was dumped over and seed was everywhere. And worst of all, those furry varmints ripped a hole in my screened porch in order to get to that “cute-but-functional” tin trashcan. Oh, it’s on! I thought.


The birdseed came in the house, and my husband was informed of the repairs needing done. I took another trip to the store, and informed the clerk of my problem. He told me about a squirrel-proof feeder. Basically, it spins them around and around until they get dizzy and fall off. Personally, I wanted electricity run through the feeder, but realized that would defeat the purpose of feeding the birds.


So, once again, I headed home with a new bird feeder, and wondered if I was going to go in debt trying to feed the birds. The new feeder was up and ready to go for the next morning. I went to bed knowing all the problems were solved, and finally I could enjoy the stinking birds, with my stinking coffee, in my stinking Adirondack chair.




Morning came, coffee was made, and I peered out on my porch; no mess anywhere. I took a deep breath and sighed, grabbed my favorite magazine and headed out. It was then I spotted movement out of my left eye. A squirrel, not being able to get food from the feeder, came back in through the hole in the screen looking for birdseed from that “cute-but-functional” tin trashcan.


Well, once that furry critter from the rat family spotted me, he began to fly all over the porch—the decorator’s decorated porch! We are talking grapevine with garden lights, potted plants, pillows, candles, etc. He began to quickly demolish the porch. My two dogs were inside the house watching the whole scene through the glass door. They began to howl and bark, and tear at the door. I’m flying around in my robe hooping and hollering like an idiot. I ran to open the screen door hoping it would run out. No luck! Finally, I decided to grab the throw from my chair, and hopefully be able to toss it over the squirrel, grab it, and let it go out in the yard.


After several attempts, and looking like a bullfighter teasing a bull, I finally landed the throw on top of the squirrel. As I proceeded to grab the squirrel, he worked his head out of the top of the throw. I was afraid he would bite me. Not only was he scared, but totally angry that he didn’t get any food. So, I held him really firm, walked across the porch, opened the screen door, walked into the yard and let him go.


He dropped dead as a doornail to the ground! I had held him too tight, or he just had a heart attack. There I am in the middle of my yard, in my robe, dogs howling in the background, and I’m just completely mortified. Did I squeeze this creature to death? Or did my screams cause massive hemorrhages in his eardrums?


After weeks spent in a little white room with no sharp objects, I began to heal from the horror of my sin.


So a few years have passed since that fatal day. The hole is still in the screen, the dogs still howl and tear off after the squirrels, and I still feed the birds. The rumor spread throughout the squirrel community that entering the porch is punishable by death. So, they still try to get food from the feeder, and that’s okay because I’m at peace with the squirrels.

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