HALLIE: I like to think of myself as green. I recycle, conserve energy and water, and try to share my space with critters like spiders and worms and pill bugs that have as much right to be here as I do. But every spring, squirrels do me in.
One year they moved into my attic. Just climbed right up the chimney and squeezed behind the bricks. Every morning we could hear them--it sounded like they were playing field hockey with acorns overhead. Every spring they behead my tulips. They don't even eat the blossoms, they just nip the stem and I come out to find the stem snapped the petals on the ground.
We used to have a peach tree by our front porch, and every year a particularly fearless squirrel would come down and take the peaches before they were ripe. Me screeching and throwing shoes at it barely gave this squirrel pause.
That same year a friend left a bag of groceries for me on my front steps, and when I got home to bring it inside, a french bread was missing. A few hours later, we had friends to dinner and as I was explaining why there wasn't any bread, I looked out the window and there was that damned squirrel that was stealing our peaches, racing up the trunk of a maple tree across the street with half loaf of french bread in his mouth.
Do you get along with your critters, or is it a constant battle?
HANK: Are you kidding me? GRRR. I am filled with rage. Our back yard is full of tulips, and they're gorgeous. Mostly white, but also some icy pink and apricot.
So I go outside to admire them--and some stupid squirrel has bitten off the flowers! You have to see it. Or not, because it's too awful. They apparently are looking for some tiny bit of nectar that's between the flower and the stem, so they bite off the flower with their little razor teeth, and then just LEAVE the flower on the ground next to the decapitated stem. Oh, it's terrible.
I had a big Facebook discussion about it, and someone suggested scattering hair clippings and eggshells around the plants before the flowers bloom, and that would keep the squirrels away. Gosh, that would keep anyone away!But next year, I'm doing it.
(Eddie Izzard does a hilarious squirrel imitation, though! Have you seen it?)
JAN: We have squirrels in the attic, too. Last year we hired the special "Squirrel" guy, who traps them and brings them somewhere and releases them. So humane. So kind to animals. The squirrels were back in about twenty minutes.
I don't think its a "green" issue, I think its a ASPCA issue. I can tell you for sure, I'm not signing up or donating funds to the ASPCA on behalf of squirrels, but I don't hold it against the squirrels in the yard. Especially since its the deer who are destroying my Rhodies.
RHYS: Until this year we had no squirrels in the neighborhood, but I've started to see them so I guess we're part of the invasion. However I live in deer country--I mean DEER country. I'm up on a hill, backing onto open space and all summer long my garden is full of deer. They are rather cute, as they bring their babies but they are so destructive.Our compromise has been to fence in a patio with high trellises and leave the rest of the property to them--junipers oleanders pyrocantha etc.
And we also have raccoons--their snarling at each other kept me awake last night. Oh, and coyotes. They "sing" so loudly, especially on moonlit nights, that I'm sure they're under my windows. Oh, and mountain lions, snakes, foxes, bobcats.... when my mother stayed once she complained, "It's like living in a bloody zoo!"
ROBERTA: This is very timely as we seem to have an entire squirrel neighborhood that has moved into our chimney. They wake up the dog and the cat in the morning by pounding across the roof so none of us can sleep in. We've had three guys come out to look the situation over so far: the carpenter, the roofer, and the ultra-expensive special duty wildlife man who charged us $125 just to tell us he couldn't handle the problem. Now we're trying to get a chimney sweep to call us back--the flue is apparently jammed with forsythia branches and squirrel babies.
This is our first squirrel invasion though. Our nemesis has been Mr. Groundhog. He barrels over our garden fence and mows down anything that's up. Twice he ate our new raspberry bush to the ground--can you imagine chewing all those brambles?
RO: In a national park, I love them. In my garden it's war. Squirrels, raccoons, deer and their smaller brethren - moles, voles and chipmunks. Walt Disney and Chuck Jones have done us a great disservice by making these critters appear cute. They're MONSTERS. I actually bought a slingshot a few years back - not that I ever connected with anything other than a tree trunk - but it made me feel good to be able to fight back in a non-chemical way.
I love the snakes though. They're cool and they eat or discourage some of the others. I keep an inflatable one in my garden for those days when the real ones don't show up.
HALLIE: So is your garden a peaceable kingdom or a war zone? Any great ideas on getting rid of squirrels, moles, and groundhogs? Recipes perhaps??