Monday, May 12, 2008

Man Vs. Wild

This is why we don't need to pay for cable TV.

Background: Several months ago, we happened to be staying at a hotel with cable TV, and Ian discovered the show of his dreams on the Discovery Channel (OK, tangent: while helping me reorganize our art supplies yesterday, Eliza informed me that "I've found the crayon of my dreams!"). It was called --and I know everyone already knows about this except me, since we live in a cable-free cave -- "Man Versus Wild."

But you see, you don't need to WATCH shows about some tough guy dropping from a helicopter into a jungle where he must wrestle hungry crocodiles and drink his own blood to survive (I'm making this up, but just barely) ... when you have a back yard like ours.

On the surface: a cheery, semi-shaded postage stamp of a yard, complete with sandbox, tree fort, zipline, your basic American yadda yadda. Oh, and a chicken coop. Yes, let's not forget that part, because that's where it starts to get crazy (Steve, where are you with your movie-trailer voice when I need you?).

Be not deceived, this yard is anything but pastoral. Oh, no, my friend. It harbors dramas of a dark and sordid sort. We only THOUGHT our chickens were getting old and tired, or a squirrel was stealing their eggs. And everyone on the backyard-chickens email list (NOT making that up) my dh subscribes to assured it was squirrels, since it wasn't a snake this time. But last week, our fearless hero (henceforth referred to as "Tim") discovered the TRUE culprits. We had a RATS' NEST under the roof of our nesting house!

OK, forget about charming little Remy in Ratatouille -- this means WAR. We are now engaged in out-strategizing these little rodents. They've been unceremoniously shown the door, a.k.a. the fence to the neighbor's yard. But they've been feasting on free-range eggs for weeks now, and goodness knows, they'll stop at nothing til they get a taste of the good stuff again. We'll be monitoring any signs of their return. Traps are being discussed. Poison is on the table. And when I say "we," I do mean ... "HE." (This is why I make sure Tim wears a bike helmet. I'd make a horrible widow.)

Then. The peaches. We have a peach tree, and last year at the cusp of yielding its ripe fruit, the tree was suddenly, violently, and completely denuded of its harvest. There were pits all over the yard. Squirrels, obviously.

Well, the peaches are ripening again, and the squirrels are partying. They're getting ready to rumble. They're thinking Peachy Keen smoothies. Until today. Tim and the kids spent an hour knocking nests out of our shade tree (leaving me to feel sorry for the homeless babies). Only an hour later, he found another squirrel, calmly helping himself to another unripe peach.

I hesitate to even write this next part. What if, among my lurker readers, I have a PETA activist? All I can say, sir or ma'am, is that, number one, I would never wear a fur coat, and number two, IT WASN"T MY IDEA! Tim called his officemate, a West Point graduate, who happens to have done his time in Iraq, and it looks like there's going to be a little target practice in our back yard tomorrow with a pellet gun. And I'm supposed to take the children out to the library, of all places, so they're not exposed to any violence on our property. Because they are so sensitive, they might feel sorry for the squirrels. They might think about how the squirrel families are being torn asunder. They might imagine how some squirrel baby, maybe named Bambi, will never see his mommy again after she just stepped out for a few nuts, I mean peach pits, for his morning snack.

Would you believe that he actually offered to make squirrel meat for dinner????? I mean, what are we, the Ingalls family? (Newly discovered installment: Little House in the Suburban Section of the City.) I'm all for a night off from the kitchen while someone else cooks, but dear Lord in heaven, let it not be something that my engineer husband, the aspiring Professor Diller, shot with a pellet gun.

I mean, really.


Jennifer said...

Hannah, we have, I kid you not, the squirrel killing ace of a dog. Have you read my 'Eulogy to Stubby' post? I don't know how many she's killed, but we don't have an overpopulation problem. Want to borrow her? She likes chickens, though and has been known to get into coops. ;)

Vanessa said...

Oh the drama in your backyard! Who needs to read a book when I can just read your blog. . .lol! Squirrel meat. . .hmmmm, I just don't know about that.

Tracee said...

let's hope they at least are good aims, so the squirrels don't have to suffer too long....those peaches better be delicious and made into pies and preserves, for all the blood they are worth, LOL!

MoreThanJustaMom said...

LOL! Our elderly neighbor across the street shoots squirrels on a regular basis. We don't have a problem with squirrels ourselves, but I understand they can certainly drive one to desperate measures. I don't think I could be driven to EAT one, though...