We’re just back from a week at the camp. Yup, gotta love that, even if it did rain almost everyday we were there. It gets a little depressing day after day of rain and more rain, but as I like to say, even the worst day at the camp is better than the best day at work.
This trip we had what I call “varmit trouble” a red squirrel, or couple of red squirrels had taken up residence in our out building, we call it the “garage” but it’s a shed or boathouse depending on what it’s being used for at the time. Mostly it’s a place to store stuff.
However, a squirrel had decided to build a nest inside a cupboard in the shed. Imagine my surprise to open the cupboard door and find her sitting there looking at me. She froze…I froze….then I jumped back and she took a bit of a run at me….man those animals are quick, but not as quick as a 51 year old man scared half to death by a 1/4 pound squirrel.
I beat a hasty retreat to the outdoors, almost running into my neighbor who had come over for a visit. After describing the
horrific attack encounter, I convinced him we should go back inside the garage and route the little tree rodent out. When we returned to the garage, she was gone, so we seized the chance to put the nest, which she had made out of stuffing from a chair, into a bucket and carry it outside.
That’s when we discovered five little baby squirrels, buried in the nest materials. Newborn, hairless little creatures with their eyes not yet open. Softhearted cottagers that we are, we gently packed the stuffing and the babies back inside the nest, put it in a cardboard box, and moved it under the camp, where the momma squirrel could find them. Apparently she did, as we discovered the babies disappeared sometime later that day.
In the meantime I put a transistor radio on top of an old woodstove in the garage, plugged it in and tuned it to a rock music radio station. It was blasting out the golden oldies from the 60’s and 70’s the rest of the day and into the night.
Around 11 p.m. I went inside to turn off the radio, convinced that it would have been enough to discourage any squirrels from taking up residence again. Imagine my surprise….and I kid you not…to see a squirrel sitting on the stove, beside the radio….apparently enjoying the music !!
Of course we both sounded an alarm, she disappeared and so did I, pulling the plug on the radio and going outside, locking the garage door on my way out.
I didn’t sleep much that night, visions of giant dancing squirrels attacking me in the garage, hordes of hairless baby squirrels running over my feet and up my pant legs danced in my head. Fears of rabies, of tiny little squirrel bites all over my body….
I tossed and turned and ended up sitting in the living room window, looking at the garage in the darkened yard, wondering how many more squirrels were cavorting inside it.
The next day it became something of a thing, I would go inside the garage, she would surprise me somehow, turning up in an unlikely place, running around so quickly that I seldom got much of a look at where she went, but she kept disappearing. I became quite reluctant to go inside the garage for fear of running into the squirrel. A 170 pounds of macho macho man masculinity completely outdone by a 1/4 pound squirrel. Well, in my defence, it looked like a 200 pound squirrel to me.
I contemplated burning the garage down but figured I would lose my favorite salmon fly rod in the process. I thought about getting a couple of cats and putting them inside the garage, but I don’t have cats and I am allergic to them anyway.
The next day I ordered a full on clean out of the garage. Everything taken out of the garage, and everything remotely squirrely to be burned in the burn barrel.
Wendy and Darlene stepped up to the task, and went at it with a vengenance. I discovered Darlene loves to dig around in old garage stuff, and Wendy, well she just loves to get rid of my treasures that she refers to as “junk.”
They burned up, or threw away treasured possessions of mine that go back to my early days at the camp.
My first swim goggles, complete with the broken plastic strap, my one swim fin, the other one lost years ago, my first vinyl baseball glove, my favorite old boat cushion…..my box of old bathroom tap parts, various pieces of wood left over from various camp projects. Like the piece of counter top left over when we cut a hole in the counter for a sink 20 years ago….I planned to make a nice little table out of it someday….They pitched old tin cans, old rubber boots and squirrel chewed chairs and broken plastic lawn chairs. I did manage to save a 1999 Canadian Tire catalog still in the original plastic wrapper, it was on the way to the burn barrel when I caught it.
Remember the woodstove the squirrel was sitting on, listening to the radio? Well it turned out she had another nest inside the firebox of the woodstove, chock full of stuffing and baby squirrels.
Yup….I like animals as much as the next guy, and I like to see creatures like squirrels running in the trees, cavorting on the shoreline and so on. I don’t like to see them in my woodstove, in my garage, in the cupboards, or eating the stuffing out of my chairs, or listening to rock music on my radio while I stand outside in the rain.
Unfortunately I had reached my cutoff point. The place where I go from animal lover to…well….something else. As much as I would have liked to be able to say, “oh that’s ok, let them have the garage, I will just store all my stuff outside in the trees.” I couldn’t, I had to take a stand in a manner similar to the squirrel’s stand, which appeared to be that it came down to me or her….one of us had to relinquish the garage and give the garage keys to the victor.
I’m going to spare you the details, as they may be rather unsettling to the soft of heart, and to those with sensitive sensibilities, but at this time I can say there are no squirrels in the garage anymore and I have the garage keys……We are becoming such cottage rednecks…..
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