There came a point in my life when I treated the quirky aspects of my family’s behavior like a salad bar: I thought I could sample some personality from my dad and some personality from my mom. But you can’t argue with heredity. When my mother and grandfather both designed anti-squirrel bird feeders in their back yard. . . well, I just had to prepare for the day when I too checked into the funny farm.
It started with my Canadian grandfather, who once had a blood feud with woodchucks on his farm. On any given morning, he would catch sight of something scurrying over the hillside, reach for his shotgun and turn part of his back yard into a crater. Did he ever nail the fat bastards? No, of course not. It was a one-in-a-million shot, and besides, my grandfather couldn’t buy dynamite on a milk man’s salary.
Over the years, he would translate his rage to the squirrel population around the bird feeders. His arsenal included a high-pressure garden hose, an inverted salad bowl mounted to the feeder, and the insecure yapping of his little dog. But squirrels know a thing or two about sidestepping humans. He never really stopped them from dining on bird seed.
He lives with my mom now, and both have engaged in outdoor activities. Much to my surprise, my mother has also been eager to repel the squirrel population from her back yard. What have they done about it? They pooled their resources to construct what can only be described as No Squirrel’s Land. Any furry invader that climbs up the bird feeder will face an impenetrable shield. Abandon all hope, ye critters of the wood.
Did the damned things work? Apparently so. But are they nothing less than creative madness? And will I succumb to an obsession involving rodents and elaborate, Draconian traps? Pfft. Don’t be silly.
A stray feline has been harassing my cat from the back porch. My cat is quite incensed. I grow tired of chasing the rascal out of my back yard. Technical means are needed to defend my domain. I’ve fancied installing a tube of high-pressure air under the porch, something to scare the Dickens out of this feral fiend. It should only take a week’s labor, $250 dollars in parts and a general remodeling of the foundation. Friends are beginning to stare at me as I launch into my complicated defense plan. It. . . must. . . work.
Besides, I can’t afford dynamite.