Yesterday I came home from somewhere and the husband was downstairs stomping around, slamming doors and swearing under his breath.
“Freaking squirrel,” he said.
We have a tame squirrel who comes to the house every day and ‘knocks’ by hurling herself at the door to make a noise loud enough to alert us that she’s here.
We met her a few years ago. It was early spring and still bitterly cold and icy outside. She looked horrible. Her coat was matted and not at all shiny, her teats looked like she’d been nursing not long ago, her tail had a thick, white spot that makes her stand out among all other squirrels. She looked old, worn out and weary, and had a large scar on her back that looked fresh (and slightly bloody). But she was just so darned cute.
We couldn’t help it, my girl child and I. We gave her a nut. A big, fat walnut.
Fast forward a year or so. I came home from picking up Molly the Schnoodle, and immediately knew something was odd. I had left with the kids as Molly’s house is near their school, so the breakfast debris was still all over the dining area and counters.
When I entered the house and let Molly off the leash, she immediately went to a spot near the fridge and started sniffing something that looked like a bag of bread.
I didn’t remember leaving a bag of bread on the floor in front of the fridge, but maybe the kids did? It wasn’t likely but I didn’t know what to think.
So I approached it while Molly went away sniffing intently at other spots, and picked it up. Indeed, it was a bag of toast bread, and it was all ripped and shred. The bread itself was all crumbly, and not toast-able anymore.
I turned my head to look at the counter beneath the window near the sink and noticed a giant hole in the bug screen.
Ah. The squirrel must have gnawed through the screen and entered the house when no one opened the door for her.
The counter was a mess. She had gotten into everything that was left out.
What she didn’t discover was the basket of nuts on the dining room table. Thankfully. She must have left the same way she came in when she realized toast bread wasn’t her favorite meal.
Over the years, she discovered other windows and gnawed through them too. We periodically stopped feeding her but she is persistent (and also very cute).
Her coat has improved immensely since we’ve been feeding her nuts. She is all shiny and healthy looking now. When she comes and we are home, we give her a nut on the steps and she comes right up to us and takes it right out of our hands.
This delights my girl child to no end. 🙂
But the screen windows are now all a mess, and we realize that we have no one to blame but ourselves.
A few weeks ago, I left the back door leading to the porch with the BBQ open as I brought a plate inside. I was going to return with a different plate when I noticed the squirrel had walked in behind me.
She saw me and made eye contact in the hallway. I looked back at her and tried to coax her back outside, but by then the girl child saw her and she started making noises which alerted the teen boy and by then, all hell broke loose.
The boy in particular is very unimpressed at the wildlife coming into the house.
No amount of instruction to simply stop moving and talking got my kids to relax. They had their own (conflicting) methods of how to get rid of the squirrel, with the girl being much more practical (and calm) and the boy all agitated and bouncy.
Not surprisingly the squirrel got spooked and went under the couch.
I kicked the kids out of the house and stayed close by to watch what the squirrel would do next.
Well, she came out and looked at me. Then she saw the back door was still open so she wandered back outside on her own.
Without a nut, I may add. 🙂
I thought it was an adventure (and blog fodder, natch) but the boy child is not impressed.
Fast forward to yesterday and the ticked off man in the basement. Apparently, the squirrel found most of the main floor windows closed but discovered the bedroom, also on the main floor, had an open window. I open the window in the morning to allow fresh air into the room, and the squirrel took that as an invitation to enter the house at free will. Except, the bedroom door was closed so she had no where to go but back out. She left same way she came in and I now have huge, gaping holes in the mosquito screen in my bedroom. 🙄
Our bedroom is situated above the room my son sleeps in (he’s in the basement), so the squirrel took her chance at his room and gnawed her way through the screen and into the house that way. The teen’s bedroom door was not closed.
I guess that’s how my partner noticed the squirrel. She must have wandered over to his basement office and sat there staring at him.
Well anyway, he got her out and then delivered a lecture to me to stop feeding the squirrel.
I agreed. It’s spring now, and there’s plenty of food for her in the parks surrounding our neighbourhood. There is no longer a need to feed her nuts from the house.
As far as the squirrel is concerned though: she still arrives in the mornings, and waits for the kids to leave for school and then follows them part way.
My girl is delighted by this (she leaves earlier than her brother) but my boy is not.
PS Remind me to tell you the story about the deer my daughter encountered on the way home from school. Note, we live in a little neighbourhood that mimics a village but we are part of the city of Toronto which has almost 3 million inhabitants. What this means is, we live in a very metropolitan city, surrounded by many parks and bodies of water, which, naturally, has a lot of wildlife. But deer…they don’t typically wander around the residential streets. Maybe I’ll get my girl to guest blog here one day… 🙂