revenge of the rodents

Greetings and salutations, everyone; once again it is I, Chess the purebred border collie, here to provide you with the most exciting news from the garden. You may remember me from such delightful posts as “A Change Of Pace” and “The Grape Bush”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose.

112706Yes, the carpet is quite level, as you can see. It’s also not terribly clean, even though it was just a couple of days ago. Fancy that. That little thing to the right, or my left, is a piece of biscuit I overlooked.

But not for long.

112707It’s gone now, see? The two of us lead really busy lives, full of excitement.

112708Starting out a post with three pictures of me might make you think that we have absolutely nothing to say, but the title of today’s post hints at something much more sinister.

We have rodents. I knew you knew this, but I wanted to say it again. Rodents.



They’re really mad at the guy I live with, who counted five squirrels at the feeder under the arbor the other day, and he said the Peterson Field Guide to the Mammals, which includes rodents, says “populations of 1 squirrel per 2 acres to 3 squirrels per acre.” He says we have a little less than half an acre so something is very, very wrong. 

He also says the book says “an important small game mammal”, which makes me wonder if I could play chess with it. Oh, ha ha, huh? The guy I live with said he might go out and read this part to the squirrels, as well as the number of squirrels per acre that are allowed.

Anyway, he replaced the last remaining regular bird feeder with a caged one, just like the one I showed a picture of a few days ago, and now they can’t get at the feeder and turn it on its side and pour all the seed onto the ground, so they’re “doing the revenge thing”, as the guy I live with said today.  

One thing that one of them did was to sneak into the garage and swipe about half of the stale bread and peanut butter that the guy I live with had set out for the mice (more rodents), so that the mice would stay in the garage instead of walking into the house when the door is open and I’m not on guard (see photos above). 

They’re doing other things too.


112703This is Pinus uncinata ‘Braska’, and if you wonder why there are cages all over the garden, maybe this will show why. (The little cage you can see is what is said to be a “seedling Daphne petraea“, which I guess is a big deal, even though the plant is really small.) The guy I live with chased the squirrel away but then it came right back to the little conifer when he was standing right next it, as if to say “Look what I can do while you take your nap.”

The green metal thing, if you were wondering, is where the guy I live with sticks a nail sprinkler to water this rock garden. He also says it’s too early for the squirrels to try to take a little Christmas tree up into their nest. “It’d dry out, and besides, there’s no place to plug in lights” he said.


112705The guy I live with bought more chicken wire and hardware cloth and I have no doubt that in a few days’ time the garden will look magnificent. “Like pictures of the Western Front in World War 1”, he said. He also has some Deer Off to spray around too.

Meanwhile I have to guard the carpet. Because you never know what might happen.

I might as well show a flower picture too. There are a few flowers still blooming. This is Crocus pallasii subsp. turcicus. Speaking of which, I got some turkey giblets on my dinner tonight, and they were good. It’s traditional for us purebred border collies to get some giblets fried in butter on the holidays. Since it’s just me now, it’s traditional for me to get twice as much as before. Oh, the crocus.

112710I told you there really wasn’t much to say today, didn’t I? But I did get the opportunity to post three, no, four pictures of me.


Until next time, then.

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12 Responses to revenge of the rodents

  1. Thea says:

    Your yard, Chess, must be so TASTY to a squirrel — er, rodent.
    I roasted two turkey wings to make stock for the gravy. After the stock-making, I planned to give our doggies Petey and Shredder the remains of the meat. My husband unbeknownst to me snatched those wings and made himself turkey salad for lunch! Poor doggies. They’ll get treats tomorrow — hope you do too.
    Love the smiling Chess photo, I do. That smile has been missing around here lately.
    Best wishes to you and the guy you live with on your Thanksgivings.

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks. The guy I live with says to say that his sister invited him over to eat turkey (so like he isn’t totally neglected or anything pathetic like that), but he said he’d rather stay at home with me, which is mighty nice of him. I do get treats.
      Petey, that’s the Little Rascals dog. Or, rather, Our Gang. They guy I live with at first thought it was from Uncle Wiggily, which dates him something fierce, but that was Peetie the dog. Peetie Bow Wow, to be precise.
      The squirrels, and the rabbits too, have, as Farrer said, a “feverish craving” for saltbushes, who knows why. He has two extra silver forms of Atriplex confertifolia that have to be caged over the top, too.

  2. VERY funny about the lack of lights on the squirrels’ Christmas tree!

  3. Happy Thanksgiving to Chess and the guy you live with!

  4. Knicky Twigs says:

    I think chess is too large of a game for a small game rodent such as a squirrel. Maybe chutes and ladders…

  5. Deborah S. Farrell says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, Chess! And the guy you live with!

    I think maybe Peterson didn’t include the feeder factor into his calculations about how many squirrels per acre there are. You have so many tempting birdfeeders there, I’m sure it draws the squirrels from miles around.

    I cooked a turkey on Tues. and cooked up the giblets for the dogs I live with. I haven’t cooked turkey in a long time (because my father doesn’t eat poultry, but he had other plans for Thanksgiving this year), so I couldn’t remember if I’d ever given these dogs the giblets. It was a tradition to give the giblets to Jake and Dollar, our other dogs (RIP), and they really liked them. But the dogs I live with now barf a lot, so I was a little nervous about giving them the giblets. I did it anyway.

    Before long, Daisy was ringing the bell to go out back to the deck, which she only does when she’s going to be sick. She ran straight to the Viburnum x burkwoodii ‘Mohawk’ bush — she likes to eat the leaves whenever she feels sick. When she first started doing that (when the bush got tall enough to reach from the deck), I Googled to see if it was safe for dogs. I found that others said their dog liked to eat viburnum leaves, too, and that they were safe for dogs to eat.* So I’ve let her do it & let the branches grow through the deck railing to make it easier for her. But this time there was nothing to eat since the leaves had all fallen off. Later she wanted to go out front, and seemed to be grazing in the peppermint along the walk out there. She never did throw up. But Buddy did — at least it was outside. Only Sammy didn’t get sick. That was because he just carried his piece of giblet out to the living room and dropped it on the carpet, and Daisy came along and ate it. So I don’t think I’ll be feeding them giblets again.

    * Last night I found an article on viburnums in general that mentioned some of them were used to treat cramps & one had the equivalent of aspirin (salicylic acid?), so maybe Daisy is on to something. But I wonder how she knows. Same with the peppermint.

  6. Tracey says:

    Chess, the guy you live with should accept the squirrels and feed them. My brother not only feeds birds and his feral colony, but also squirrels. Everyone co-exists nicely, and it will provide YOU with hours of happy squirrel watching. Here are two options:

    Happy belated Thanksgiving from NYC.

    • paridevita says:

      Same to you. Oh yeah, the things that toss squirrels. The guy I live with draws the line at feeding squirrels if that means peanuts, because then they dig in our garden and there are lots of non-cheap bulbs. Corn cobs would probably be okay.
      We might try this.

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