Tell a Friend

Free Articles :: Squirrels, Sweet Potatoes, and Sugar Maple Trees

Squirrels, Sweet Potatoes, and Sugar Maple Trees

There's a cat curled up and snugged up to my left hip. I have to lean a little to write this. She's smart. She knows enough not to fling herself at the window to the outside world. I'm not so smart on this one. I was perched here on the sofa, unloading my cranky hips on the reclining end, and I looked beyond her to see a large, flickering bushy tail outside her window.

A squirrel. A dadgum squirrel. Now you may think, as I almost always do, that every little creature (except fleas, wasps, and earwigs) has its place. Even squirrels who are vastly entertaining, take care of the hickory nuts, and drive the birds insane and can make a grown man cry. Fellow next door was going to take a 12 gauge to his attic to get rid of one camping and partying up there. I only wondered if he'd thought about the--what's that word?--collateral damage. That's a lot of hole on account of getting rid of a little rodent!

This squirrel, as it happened, my squirrel was in my curing sweet potatoes. I have no idea how many it (I won't dignify it with gender) had already scarfed up. All I know is I was on the phone with a friend when I chose to haul my creaky bones off the sofa, clinging to the phone and aplogizing for the hollering that was fixing to happen, and dashed out the door within two feet of this rodent.

Pity it, it had dug its little (ha!) front teeth into a sweet potato so firmly that when I surprised it, it couldn't get them out. Stuck to the tuber, it tried to haul tail. The cat? Oh she was having a ball! She couldn't contain herself and had dashed out drooling for the squirrel. Me? I was hollering like a wild woman at the hung up squirrel, trying in vain not to terrorize the cat, and wondering what in sam hill the neighbors might think. I'm surprised they haven't set up theater style seating with a popcorn stand.

The squirrel flung itself loose from the tuber, the cat fled back inside and I laughed so hard I hurt. I was, yes, mad as an old wet hen about my loss of sweet potatoes. I have now sewn them to the wire top table with screen wire mesh and fine gauge wire. I eat, when I'm good, one a day through the winter. This has become a food-chain issue. The squirrels need to have a talk with the surviving rabbits about my attitude about food chain issues.

Meanwhile in my front yard the big old sugar maple, long since turned golden was beginning to turn off red. It has, since the squirrel and sweet potato incident last week, blushed into crimson, possibly with embarrassment, and shed half its leaves from the top down. Better trained than the wildlife, I am pleased to say it piled them underneath itself. If I could just get the squirrels to eat the neighbor's nuts before they end up in my yard...