The Garden Undead

Okay.  It’s Saturday morning, the hubster is gone, and I’ve got a wild hair to write a post.  (It’s either that or sit down with my book on parasites…which is fascinating, entertaining, and well written, don’t get me wrong.  I just don’t feel like reading right now.)  I know I just announced that I’m only going to post on Fridays but maybe it would be safer to say that I’ll post at least on Fridays.  That way I have some wiggle room if I feel chatty in between.

I finished canning the last of the peaches yesterday and they tasted  funky, which was to be expected seeing as how I picked them all hard and green.  The squirrels this year took off about three-quarters of the fruit before I finally went out one afternoon in a rage and stripped the tree of every last piece of anything remotely edible left on it, right down to the pea-sized, green, furry, little knots that they wouldn’t want anyway.  I didn’t care.  I wasn’t gonna leave anything for those vandalizing garden rats, just in case.  They make me so angry! It wouldn’t be so bad if they would at least eat the peaches.  But they don’t.  They take one bite then throw them on the ground and move to the next one.

Which Dane the mangy rescue mutt loves of course.  He’ll eat anything (including squirrels but even he can’t catch them!)  He just stands around there under the tree with his mouth open, hopeful.

One year I bought carpet tack strips and spent the entire day tying them on every branch of the tree.  My thinking was I’d turn it into a thorn tree of sorts…make it painful for the squirrels to run along the limbs.

Poor little peach tree.  By the time I finished it looked like a bad Halloween costume, like it was going to the party all dressed up as a wannabe black locust.  The strategy worked though.  It slowed the squirrels down even though it didn’t stop them completely…nothing short of a stake through their beady little hearts can do that.  But at least they were eating with a limp.

And then, last week a squirrel nailed me in the head with an apple as I was walking under the apple tree.   That tree is theirs!  I don’t even try to stop them with the apples, I let them have everything on it.  But I swear the brat waited until I was right underneath then dropped a big, green apple, catching me square in the middle of the head where it took a big bounce and then fell off down to the ground.  I could hear them all snickering up there, behind their nasty, little claws, but there was nothing (nothing!) I could do about it.  So I went, fuming, inside and watched the squirrel catapult video again, and that made me feel a little better.

I know, I know.  That video is mean and the squirrel might have gotten injured, but honestly?  I don’t believe it did for a second.  I don’t think you can injure those things.  I saw one fall fifty feet out of a tree in our backyard once and just stand up, brush off its pants, and light a cigarette.  Hand to God.

Stake through the heart, people.  Stake through the heart.

Having said all that though, baby squirrels are just adorable.  This spring we had one that kept coming up to the patio door to look in the house.  My desk sits right next to the door where I can look out at the garden and I was utterly spellbound, watching its little hands there pressed against the glass, its innocent face peering in.  It was tiny and sweet and fearless and curious…and then Dane saw it and blew out through the dog door on to the patio like a hundred pound, black fur explosion of sharp teeth and drool.  The squirrel was too inexperienced to understand what was going on, it didn’t know how to get away, so it panicked and just kept racing back and forth from one end of the concrete to the other.  It was only going to be a matter of seconds before Dane got it but then, suddenly, I blew out through the patio door screaming like a banshee, hands splayed, electricity firing out my fingertips and hair and, hurling myself fifteen feet straight through the air, I tackled him a scant heartbeat before he was about to snap the little guy up.  The baby recognized its window of opportunity and ran up the wisteria trunk, skittering away to safety across the top of the arbor.  Needless to say, it never returned to the patio again after that.

Y’know, I just had a thought.  Could that possibly have been the same squirrel, all grown up, that dropped the apple on my head?  How ironic would that be?

Although I have to admit if it was, I’d be kind of proud of the little scamp.

copyright 2010 Dia Osborn

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6 responses

  1. I LOVE the way you see things!

    I have some interesting “death/ grief stories” that may be of interest….. ( I have been a nurse for 26 years)

    best

    john ps what is dia short for>
    Nia is a welsh girls name whch means princess

    • Hey John! I replied in an email but I’m not sure you’ll get that so I’m replying here, too. Thanks, thanks, thanks for all your lovely comments and I would LOVE to hear some of your death/grief stories. (Nurses always have the best ones…) Please share whenever you get the urge!! As far as my name goes, it was shortened from Lydia right off the bat when my next older brother couldn’t pronounce his L’s yet. The nickname stuck and I’m ever so grateful because Lydia is far too dignified a name for someone like me.

  2. I am in my hotel room in Wash. DC. waiting for the Boise State vs. Virginia Tech. game and reading Dia’s blogs. This one about the ‘tree rats’ had me laughing (a lot) and appreciating my marriage to a woman with a great sense of humor. Cal

  3. Pingback: Squirrels and Spring: The War Begins Anew « The Odd and Unmentionable

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