It all started between the end of summer and the beginning of fall.
They say things happen in threes, and well, this one is for the squirrels.
First off, I don’t mind bugs — there is a place for some, like the bug zoo, fortified in rock, but this was the season for maple bugs. I know it wasn’t just me, but when you come home to the apocalypse of 100 plus red-winged bugs between the front of your house, your main door and inside your house, it’s enough to make your skin crawl.
I have no outside water tap, and according to the bug social media conversations, they said hot soap and water. So, what did I do? A double barrel super soaker full of Windex, dish soap, Raid and hot water dousing my house swearing under my breath. The recipe did not work.
In the following days, my neighbour points me to the squirrel in the tree making that lovely rattling noise and as I looked up, there was the face of a squirrel nibbling on a half-chewed and semi-rotten crab apple off the tree in the yard.
Bad enough I have a dead maple tree in the front yard, hence the bugs, I also have a half-dying, still-producing crab apple tree that is a buffet for squirrels.
The squirrel is in the roof of the house and loves to run along the eaves from the tree to the nest. Flying and swinging from tree to tree with no care in the world. It’s National Fire Prevention Week and there is never a mention of squirrels. They chew wires and cause fires.
Now at Thanksgiving long weekend, I had pest control coming to spray my house for bugs, but no squirrel trap.
Great job done on the bugs. One down, one to go.
So, in the quiet of the night, I can hear the faint sound of chewing and the skitter scatter as the squirrel runs through the back portion of the house under the roof. I went to buy a squirrel trap on Sunday in the hopes of capture.
Instead, I wake up to a blown hot water tank on a long weekend.
I grabbed a bottle of Cupcake Red (my go-to) and hid on the couch in my shed in the hopes of maybe a solemn night’s sleep. That recipe did not work either.
Tuesday morning. I got on a plane and left town.
Is fire coverage ironclad if caused by a squirrel?
Meanwhile, every day while I was away I braced myself for the potential call.
I returned the following Saturday to a house with dead bugs, a squirrel in my roof and one upset cat who I left for four days with a squirrel taunting him all day long.
Thank goodness for great friends. A night at Oktoberfest to encourage yet another night on the shed couch, as I tell my tale that was driving me nuts.
The following morning my squirrel trap broke resetting it. By this time, I was at my wit’s end.
To the rescue were a group of friends and volunteer colleagues who with a little encouragement helped set three traps, laid a lot of peanut butter, cashews and pistachio nuts — three weeks later, it all helped in the capture of the squirrel. Yes, there is a happily ever after.
Out in the middle of nowhere in a heavily forested area, the squirrel can live out the life nature intended, and I can live out mine with no bugs, no squirrels, a new hot water tank and a bottle of Cupcake Red, the way nature intended.
- Leah Bousfield if the publisher of the Rimbey Review.