Saturday, September 8, 2012

For Love of Squirrels



I was momentarily transported to Disney Pixar's Up.  I felt just like that dog, yesterday.  I was talking to my daughter, commiserating with her over the broken plastic rake in her sandbox, when I looked up, and -


The rake was totally forgotten.

It actually wasn't a squirrel that I had seen.  Rather, it was a squirrel nest.

Squirrel nest

With such a huge nest hanging from my black walnut tree, you'd really think that I'd have seen it sooner, but during the spring and summer they're actually pretty easy to overlook.

How, you ask?

They tend to be erected within the dense leaves.  Since I've been dealing with falling leaves to the point that my yard looks like it's encompassed in an early fall, I'm able to see these nests earlier than I normally would.

Squirrels are everywhere in this area.

I'll regularly find the remnants of nuts on the table that sits at my porch

nuts at the table

or on the arm of the chair beside it.

Nuts on the chair

They've actually proven themselves to be quite polite about eating at the table!

Gray squirrels love the black walnuts that literally cover my yard.  They eat them regularly.

And I've come to love the squirrels.

It wasn't always this way.  I used to hate them.

You probably remember all of the holes I'd find in my gardens.  Many a gardening project was foiled due to the digging habits of these squirrels.  Gray squirrels love to hide their treasures, then dig them up again to transport them to new, safer locations... or simply eat them on the spot.

And then, of course, there were incidents in which the squirrels actually threw their finished nutshells

It wasn't pretty.

But, at long last, we came to a truce.

Yep... that's a bowl of nuts, complete with a white flag of surrender.
And now we're quite chummy.

The gray squirrels are actually a good thing.  The large number of them in my yard show that my efforts at creating a backyard habitat after seeing one at River Bend Nature Center haven't been in vain.  People tend to dislike squirrels, because they tend to chase away birds at their backyard feeders, but I have a wealth of birds in my yard, and the squirrels don't have any negative effects on them that I've seen.

I love the gray squirrels.

Now, if only I could do something about their evil, antagonistic, smaller counterparts...

The red squirrels.

Unlike the gray squirrels, they'll actually follow me around the yard, chittering and brandishing twigs in their hands.

No... really!

***Here's a nice link to basic information about the gray squirrels in the area ------->   Gray squirrel


  1. I love squirrels! I think they are sososo cute. But then, we don't have squirrels in my neck of the woods, and I've never had to worry about keeping a backyard safe from them...but they are precious!

  2. I really do love to watch them... except the red squirrels. Those little guys are mean! They've got to be less than half the size of the gray squirrels... yet they can easily chase the grays away from whatever tree they've chosen. I'd laugh, but... well... they've chased *me* away from trees, as well!!!

  3. That’s nice to just decide in declaring a truce rather than letting yourself get frustrated of these cute, but nosy creatures. However, giving them a platter of squirrel treats couldn’t guarantee that they won’t be leaving mess in your property again. If you like having them around, just build a net fence around the areas you want to save from harm, the garden, perhaps. ;)

  4. Yeah, I've had to accept that the mess is an inevitable part of our truce. Really, they're good about staying away from the more established areas of the garden, so it's only the little plants that I need to worry about. You're right, though... I will need to put up a net fence next year. It's definitely going on the stuff-to-do-to-keep-my-sanity list!