This Spring, we discovered that a family of squirrels were living under our deck. We counted 5 tiny baby squirrels and as they began to explore the yard, the pond, and the planting barrels at the edge of the deck, we took pictures and left peanuts and strawberries for the babies and cooed when they came out and nibbled our treats. As I’ve mentioned before, we are weak links on the food chain. If something is hungry or even looks a little scrawny or just plain cute, we feed it. It’s a bad habit. We know it, but we can’t seem to help it.
So, they got bigger as babies do and they became more brave and then … they began to mow. everything. down.
Marigolds, purple petunias, red begonias … all my early summer plantings have been demolished. Seriously, they ate the marigolds! The deer don’t even eat the marigolds. Those are supposed to be ‘safe’ flowers because they are kind of stinky.
So, I did what any writer would do and turned to my bookcase. What the heck can I do to get these cute creatures to stop eating all my pretty flowers? I read Squirrel Wars, a book that my Mom had given Stephen a few years ago and that basically told me I should learn to live with them.
I remembered my neighbor said he used to trap them and release them on the Air Force Academy. Of course, he and his trap have moved to North Carolina, so that’s not much help right now.
I turned to the Internet and read that hot pepper may burn their eyes and paws, so I am uncomfortable with that. I read some people shoot them with a pellet gun, but I can’t even imagine doing anything like that. I read that cats will chase them off, but I live in coyote territory and would prefer to keep my kitties safe in the house.
So, I’ve resorted to bribing them.
Here’s my plan: if I leave apple cores and watermelon rinds and strawberry tops on the dirt in one of the barrels each day, then will you please leave my flowers alone?
I’ll keep you posted.