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Squirrels Are Nuts About Pumpkins
My neighbors think I’m nuts. This isn’t exactly news, I realize. They’ve thought that for years. But lately I’ve been giving them more reason than usual.
You see, I still have Halloween pumpkins on my porch. Lots of them, in various stages of disrepair. And I’m not about to move them.
Because the squirrels will riot, that’s why. It seems my decorations are supporting most of the squirrels in a 20-square-block section of Indianapolis. I’m feeding squirrels by the dozens. They’re gorging on gourds, scarfing squash and pigging out on pumpkins.
Actually, it’s kind of fun to watch them scampering from pumpkin to pumpkin, taking a few bites from a New England Pie Pumpkin, and then cleansing the palate with a nibble or two from a White, followed by a nibble or two from a Cinderella, with a healthy serving of Howden Biggie. It’s like a squirrel cafeteria out there.
Of course, it’s a little alarming when you walk up the front steps and all of a sudden, six or seven squirrels come pouring out of the top of a pumpkin like it was a clown car or something. Once your heart resumes beating, though, it’s fun to hear them up in the trees, scolding you for interrupting their lunch in what I can only presume is bad squirrel language.
So rather than risk an uprising or some sort of squirrel blackmail ("Mike: Put the pumpkins back or we’ll get into your attic. Trust us, you wouldn’t want that to happen. - The Furball Gang") I’ve decided to leave the pumpkins in their place for now.
Actually, there are solid biological reasons my house has become the place Where Discerning Squirrels Dine.
For one thing, the squirrel population in my neighborhood is exceptionally high this year. Populations rise and fall from place to place, and this year it just happened to be my neighborhood’s turn to play host to the entire Hee-Haw Gang.
For another, the pumpkins are actually serving as a source of water. This makes sense. I’ve never seen a squirrel drinking from the garden hose.
There was a time when I would have been delighted to have all these squirrels in proximity because it would have meant fried squirrel for dinner every night for a month. I have always loved fried squirrel.
Then again, my best fried-squirrel-eating days were during my kidhood, when I lived in LaGrange County and hunted wholesome country squirrels, not urban squirrels who have been living on who-knows-what, plus pumpkin. Besides, I’m told the local constabulary takes a dim view of citizens sitting on their porches blasting squirrels out of the trees.
So I have decided, for a while anyway, to take a live-and-let-live attitude with my squirrel friends. I’ll keep the pumpkins out a while longer. At the rate they’re going, in a week there won’t be anything left but the stems anyway.
And if my neighbors think I’m nuts - well, let them. They already do anyway. And it’s sure preferable to what they might think if they saw me sitting on the porch with a .22, hunting dinner. Although it might be kind of fun to watch how they react to my casserole at the next community pitch-in. At the least, they’d probably think I was a little - dare I say it? -- squirrelly.
© 2009 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
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