It’s only 9:00 in the morning, and already we have had an exciting day. We caught the squirrel! The latest chapter of the story began last night when we heard rattling outside the window — about 10:30, just after we had gone to bed to bed.
I threw a jacket over my nightgown, grabbed a flashlight, and ran out to the driveway. I could see a squirrel fussing at the air vent. Earlier, Greg had taped the flap down with very sticky packing tape — a temporary solution until our builder’s “boys” (his employees, not his offspring) could fix it properly.
I shrieked. The squirrel ran into the woodpile. I ran in to the house. Greg and I discussed tape; I felt we should tape the vent even more, as one side of the flap had been bent.
As I went to the back door, I jokingly said I’d better open it carefully or the squirrel might come in. Well, those were words well-spoken, as there it was right on the porch. I startled it so it jumped through the railing. I jumped back into the house. Clearly this was a squirrel afraid of nothing: Mother Courage and her as-yet-unborn Children.
Yes, photos I took of her of her last night proved conclusively that she was not celibate or a bachelor after all:
I reopened the door and we crept out into utter darkness — lit only by the motion light, pointed in the wrong direction. I held both of our flashlights, so the light would be brighter for Greg’s re-taping. That done, we went back to bed.
At 6:00 in the morning, I heard not only scrabbling but also tiny shrieks. Were these squirrel labour pains??? They originated in a different location: the gap in the siding under the eaves. I had inspected it yesterday. Horrors! Was the squirrel now nesting in the wall under the eaves? Did we now have seven or eight squirrels where before we had only one?
Pulling on a pair of pants over my nightgown, I left the house and checked the siding; indeed, there was a wider gap now. Then I checked the trap. The cream cheese container with the peanut butter bait had been pulled nearly out of the cage, which of course was empty. But there were little claw marks across the peanut butter.
At this point Greg joined me, and as we were discussing the state of affairs, one of our neighbours came by. She was walking her dog. It was 6:30 a.m. No, we didn’t usually get up this early. We exchanged squirrel stories. Apparently someone’s daughter had her car disabled when she visited because a squirrel got into the engine and chewed up the air filter. This was not encouraging news.
While we chatted two squirrels ran, no — gamboled — through the branches of the fir trees. They were playing tree tag — maybe to bring on labour. My sense of vicarious fun diminished rapidly.
Really and truly, I knew deep in my heart that Greg and I were smarter than the average squirrel. That would be both of our brains taken together, mind you.
We toyed with the idea of putting some mouse poison from the mouse traps we had strewn around the inside of the cottage but decided that would be bad for other wildlife. Our neighbour said someone, maybe her husband, used to just shoot them. I wasn’t sure of my ability in that regard and could envision shooting up the cottage in a wild attempt to coordinate aiming and firing. Also we don’t own a gun, so there were complications in that regard, but I must admit I had given it serious thought in the middle of the night.
Greg came up with the brilliant notion of attaching the bait container to the bottom of the cage so it couldn’t be moved. He did this.
Just for the heck of it after breakfast, I went out and lo and behold, there was movement near the vent… in the cage… Busted!
A very angry, frustrated, frightened squirrel was trying everything she could to get out. She had eaten all the peanut butter.
Long story short, we put the cage in the trunk of the car in a box lined with plastic just in case she was a car-sick type of squirrel — or worse.
Then we drove off to Little Pond where there are fewer houses and more woods and let her go in a secret surrounding.
She ran off instantly, went partway up a tree where she paused and looked back at us. “Of all the nerve,” she seemed to say.
On our way, we had noticed the Little Pond bakery was open, and after we had said good bye to our erstwhile tenant, we dropped in and bought hot biscuits fresh out of the oven and some iced cherry squares. Now you know what traps us.
Speaking of which, flushed with success, we reset the trap as soon as we got back and then settled in for another cup of coffee and a hot biscuit each to celebrate.
Epilogue: Just finished this when I heard a noise, went out and there was another squirrel staring up at me from the woodpile … I told him he was not as cute as he looked. Film at 11:00, as they say.