Life on the ranch

The last of our townhouse units was purchased several months ago, and all but one is now occupied.  P and I met our newest neighbors over the weekend at a barbecue, and all was very friendly.

But as we’ve been discovering, we have a HOST of other neighbors.  First to show up were the bugs.  Weird bugs that somehow found their way indoors and infested our window sills during the warm spell in March.  Not so thrilled about these.

So we bought a bird-feeder, installed it just outside our kitchen window, and waited for the bug-eliminators to arrive.  Which they did — in droves.  At all hours of the day, we now have blackbirds, crows, chickadees, robins, cardinals, and…I dunno, wrens?  Maybe?  All in pretty rapid succession, all day long.

Then we discovered — you know what other bird likes sunflower seeds?  Ducks.  We have several times looked out towards the patio to see Mr. and Mrs. Mallard casually strolling through our garden and investigating the area below the feeder for spilled goodies.  (Thankfully, they seem to have a sufficient grasp of physics to not try perching on the feeder itself.)

And of COURSE, where you have a bird-feeder, you must have squirrels.  I have no idea how many actually “visit” our feeder, but I’ve identified three: a cocky, bold one, a scrawny one, and one that looks like it needs to cut out the trans fats.  These definitely fall under the category of “neighbors that look extremely cute sitting on the sill outside our open window listening to Mozart’s Requiem, but overall a nuisance.”

…come to think of it, they’re the only neighbors in that category…

This has begun a merry little war between the squirrels and P.  When rapping on the window and shouting loudly stopped producing any effect, he decided these guys needed to learn appropriate respect for the master of the house.  Now when the fuzzy rats start to climb the feeder pole, P bursts out the patio door with a hearty “YAAAAAAHHHH!!!!!” and a water-pistol gripped firmly in both hands.  Water and squirrels go everywhere.

Then, over the weekend, we discovered yet more residents on our little plot of land in the city.  I was talking with P one afternoon when he suddenly began staring intently out the patio doors: “What is that…a mouse?”  I spun around quickly to see something brown and furry moving among the lilies:

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There are at least a couple of them, and I’ll periodically look out the window to see a tiny pair of ears sticking out from some place or other:

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Meanwhile, baby is growing in strength, if not grace, as evidenced by his increasingly powerful kicks, aimed at various organs.  Yep, life is booming here!   …you know what isn’t growing here?

Siiiiiiiigh.   Good thing babies aren’t as high maintenance as plants…

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6 thoughts on “Life on the ranch

  1. Dad and I can certainly identify with your squirrel infestation. BUT – after trying everything to keep them away (see note) – we’ve discovered a “baffle” that you can get at Ace or Town & Country – don’t know about Home Depot. It’s a flat disc that hooks to itself to form a shallow cone. It sets atop an attachment to the double shepherd’s hook (you do have one of those? – a tall one?) We hung our simple bird feeders above the baffle and waited for the fun.

    For a couple months the squirrels entertained us with all kinds of acrobatics, but try as they might, nothing they did could get them past the baffle. I think it cost $25, but it was worth every penny. Occasionally one will be seen sliding down the pole, but I guess their tiny brains can’t remember things for very long.

    We do still have several (about 8) who hang around waiting for whatever the birds drop – and a red-headed woodpecker slings seeds over its head so he can get to the next sunflower seed. He’s so big he hangs on with his front claws and the rest of his body is underneath.
    we do go through the seed. I fill both feeders every other day. But the enjoyment we get from watching the birds (and squirrels and bunnies) is worth it.

    Note: Do you remember the time we had a bird feeder in our side yard in Woodstock (before the addition?) Dad was so frustrated with the squirrels that he got his BB gun, opened the screen to the window, propped a chair against the refrigerator and waited. Sure enough, an unsuspecting tree rat presented himself and Dad let him have it. (didn’t keep away for long, though. Remember the tiny brains?) .

    • I certainly remember the feeder on the side of the house, but I do *not* remember the bb gun! Why is this not a permanent part of my childhood memory collection?!

      Awesome.

      • Maybe it was b/c Dad didn’t want his little girls to get upset b/c he was going to “kill” a squirrel.

  2. Hi!

    1) I have been stalking your blog…thought I should come into the light and let you know!

    2) Congrats on the wee one, and sorry we missed you at the wedding :S

    3) The men in my family have a very undignified way of taking care of the squirrel situation. They grab a broom and chase them around the yard attempting (half heartedly) to thump them. I have to agree with your Mom re: the small brains of squirrels – the method certainly never keeps them away for long. However, it does provide hours of entertainment for the ladies of the family….and likely the neighbours too.

    • Hi, Sorcha! Happy to have you stalking, but happier to see your face. 🙂 I heard you and Andrew were at the wedding, but I didn’t even see you — sorry we didn’t connect! I hope you’re both doing well.

      I can just picture a lawn full of men chasing squirrels with brooms. HA!

  3. Pingback: RIP | A Lovely Mile

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