Tag Archives: squirrels

Squirrels: The Final Chapter. Hopefully.

You can’t imagine the thrill, the exciting rush of victory when you conquer an animal with a brain the size of a pea.

We reset the trap – this time I put a tiny dollop of peanut butter on the trigger so it’d have to really park there to eat it. The exterminator recommended peanut butter. Last night I rebuilt the tunnel and left the front door open. If this squirrel was ripping out insulation to get outside it must be smart enough to run out the front door. (ha ha)

Didn’t hear a peep. Couldn’t see it. This one was climbing up inside somehow. Closed up for the night.

When I got up this morning he was frolicking around the trap.

I opened the front door and fireplace and watch it hop around. I hate to say it but they are really cute. It perched exactly on the edge of the fireplace door and looked longingly out the front door but didn’t try to make a break for it.

I went into the other room and then I could hear it eating. I ran back in and it was eating the peanut butter and TRAP DID NOT SPRING.

What dark magic are these squirrels up to?

I tried to spring it but he hopped out. Bob decided to fiddle to make sure the spring was operating and when he reached in, the trap sprung, startling all of us.

Here I will note that squirrels make a wide variety of noises. They make sad squeaky noises, high pitched chirping noises and low-growly noises.

Squirrely growled.

Bob fixed the trap, re-peanutbuttered it and put it back in. We closed everything up.

It took about a half hour. We both heard the trap spring (Bob was downstairs) and squirrely’s outraged growly-squeaks.

Bob and I ran around high-fiving each other and cheering and doing variations of the victory dance before taking it outside. Of course it was too stupid to leave the trap by itself (it kept eating the peanut butter) so we had to dump it out. While it was squeaking another bigger squirrel came wandering over to see what was going on.

Total squirrels removed so far: 4
Recommended tools: trap with peanut butter – be patient, if desperate shop vac.

We have reset the trap and put it back in the fireplace, just in case.

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The Squirrel Clown Car Continues

I’m sure you’ve been dying to hear how the squirrel story ended.

Me too!

To recap: three little squirrels arrived on Wednesday night.

None of the the things we did previously worked. Everything we did scared them into a little trembling fur ball back in the corner of the fireplace. They would carefully explore the edges of the fireplace but they would not come out.

I tried luring them out with carrot snacks. They weren’t going for it. I threw the carrot snacks in the fireplace when I closed it up Wednesday night. They were going to have to spend the night in there.

Later I told a friend about the carrots and he said: You have pet squirrels now.

On Thursday we all became more comfortable with each other. One of them came out of the fireplace and proceeded to escape the tunnel and explore the living room. Bob scared him and he ran back into the fireplace. Later I watched him go all the way to the front door and peek out. I grabbed the broom and in a split second he was back in the fireplace.

These little guys are dumb.

We went out and got a trap and set it in the fireplace – this was our last resort.

When we woke up this morning they had nibbled at the snacks, sprung the trap and were napping quietly under the grate.

That’s it! We have a life to live. We called an exterminator.

$250 to set the trap plus $100 per animal removed.

Okay, we’ll keep trying on our own.

It seemed like the only way to get them was to put on heavy duty gloves and yank them out — except there are three of them, so we weren’t sure how that was going to work and we weren’t in the mood to get bitten by a squirrel.

Meanwhile, I had called Chris to come over and cover the chimney. I asked him what he thought we should do. He went through all the things that we had already tried. We discussed and discarded some other ideas and settled on the shop vac.

Man, those things make a THWOP! sound when they go through the pipe.

Great news. We got all three. My fireplace was clean. We put them outside. Problem solved.

I cleaned up the giant mess from the tunnel. Vacuumed. Scrubbed everything around the fireplace. Put away all the implements we’d found to try to sweep them out, poke them out, scare them out, scoop them out, squirt them out, loud sound them out. My house was back to normal and I could relax.

Or could I?

Because a half hour later I came into the house to the sound of squeaking and a squirrel in the fireplace.

D’oh! I don’t know why it wasn’t obvious there’s a nest in there and now squirrely is trapped because we screened off the chimney.

We called a different exterminator who said we were doing everything right. Put the trap back in the fireplace. The squirrel has nowhere to go. We can get him.

So I reset the trap. Went outside to do yardwork.

Returned and checked the fireplace.

The peanuts were eaten. The trap wasn’t sprung. The squirrel has torn out huge pieces of the insulation from around the insert.

Like a horror movie, my next note will probably be written while I’m hiding under the bed, cowering from my squirrel overlord.

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The Good News is: I Finally Got A Decent Photo

Remember last Wednesday when traffic was terrible and I was all grumpy when I got home and then I was trying to relax and turned out there was another squirrel in the fireplace?

Oh no, the exact same thing didn’t happen. Yes traffic was terrible and I was all grumpy when I got home.

But this time there were THREE(!) squirrels in the fireplace.

At first I thought it was just 2. Then I opened the fireplace door and hollered, “THERE ARE THREE OF YOU?” and they all hid under the grate.

Nobody won.

Also these guys are squeaky. I’m kinda worried one might be hurt and that’s why they haven’t just ran off. These are also younger. I guess the first one must have put a sign up saying, “Super cool place to visit,” and then fell down the chimney and realized his mistake but didn’t want to go back and change the sign.

I did the whole tunnel and leave them alone routine. Heard nothing. Finally went out and checked and they are (as I write this) all cuddled together in one corner. No idea what the outcome is yet.

I contacted someone about covering the chimney asap. I didn’t realize this was an emergency project although I should have after round 2. I guess I’ll put on more protective clothing and find some leather gloves and see if I can get them out more actively.

I need another glass of wine first.

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I’m With Stupid

You’ll never guess who stopped by again.

I know this is a terrible photo because it captured nothing but it’s supposed to be a picture of the world’s most stupid squirrel crunched up under the fireplace grate.

Bob had a concert ticket and I was looking forward to an evening to myself. I was going to work on a new story idea.

Unfortunately, traffic was a living nightmare and I didn’t get home until late. I decided to do a short exercise class to relax and help with my ongoing back issues.

I was barely 20 minutes in when I heard an amazing racket. It was a squirrel in the fireplace.


There must be something going on up on the roof that makes the chimney seem attractive. We’ve been here for 18 years this month and we’ve never had a squirrel in the fireplace before and now we’ve had 2 in 10 days. Clearly we need to deal with this.


I did the same protocol as before except this time Squirrely would not budge. I tried new things like spraying water in there, shaking the grate, and making loud noises. Squirrely was hunkered down under the grate and wasn’t going to move. I finally left the room. (Meaning — front door open, fireplace open, tunnel built.) I answered email and made my dinner. Did some hand washing in the laundry room.

When I finally checked back I did not see his beady eyes. I shut the fireplace and the front door but left the tunnel in case I’m wrong. I would have preferred to witness his hairy ass hopping out the door but I think we’re in the clear for now and we’ll have to get some sort of squirrel guard for the chimney. And I will have to cash in my quiet evening at home later.

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Why Pam Can’t Read

I am reading a giant sci fi book that I really like and would love to dig into but it seems like every time I manage to pick it up, something happens. I’m on page 28 and I’ve been “reading” it for at least 2 weeks. This morning I decided to treat myself to a leisurely hour of reading before I started my day.

I had barely cracked the book open and re-read the last 10 pages to remember what was going on and I heard this incredible noise coming from the living room. I wasn’t sure what it was but I hoped that was related to something Bob was doing (in the basement, sure, why not?) and I ignored it.

That’s my favorite method of problem solving is ignore and hope it goes away.

No luck. It was clear that there was something alive stuck in our fireplace. The doors to it are closed unless there is a fire in there.

Since I read too many stories of course I pictured some sort of giant 2 headed spider-bird with huge teeth.

I ran to the basement and said: I think something is stuck in the fireplace and I’m scared.

Bob said: I don’t want to deal with it.

Me: You’re the guy. You have to.

We went back upstairs and looked.

It was a squirrel and it looked like it was as unhappy about the situation as we were.

Sorry this is such a terrible photo. My intentions for great photo-journalism were tempered by my fear of crazy squirrels jumping up and biting me. If you use your imagination you can see its fluffy tail and one beady eye.

Bob wanted to try to capture it and throw it outside. I thought too many things could go wrong with that.

It’s a straight shot from the fireplace to the front door. I figured if the front door was wide open it would just run outside.

This sounds like a great plan but if the squirrel freaked out and decided to hide somewhere in the house, we were screwed.

Using furniture and boxes we built a tunnel from the fireplace to the front door.

I’m sure Hannah will be delighted to see that I still haven’t taken down my World Cup banner. I keep thinking about it but once I take it down, then it’s just something put away in a box. Why not keep enjoying it?

I went around and closed all the bedroom and bathroom doors to minimize the damage if Squirrely decided to check out the house.

We opened the fireplace.

Nothing happened. I called gentle encouragements. “You’re free squirrel!”

Bob threatened to get a broom.

Nothing happened. It was hiding under the grate.

Bob got the broom.

That little guy shot out the front door at the speed of light.

Success! We haven’t had such wild animal drama here since the dramatic baby raccoon rescue of 2004.

I took a video, because of course everything has to be documented but I don’t know how to edit videos and I wasted 1/2 hour this morning trying to figure it out. I guess I can take an online class and you can expect it in 6 years.

Meanwhile the video isn’t really worth it because (a) during the first half you’re looking at a fireplace with me cooing: “It’s okay squirrel. Come on, baby, it’s okay” and then (b) during the second half the camera is at a weird angle because I didn’t want to risk getting attacked by an ash covered squirrel. So it’s basically 1/2 second of brown lump zooming out the door so fast its feet didn’t touch the ground.

The evict squirrel project ate into my reading time but I made it to page 47.

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How Many Groceries is a Car Load?

As I explained, I dug up what was left of the garden last week. Since then I’ve seen a squirrel (squirrels? They all look the same) wearing a panicked expression bouncing from one side of the dirt pile to the other and frantically digging. If squirrels have expressions. I’m sure they’ll survive.

The weekend before Thanksgiving I bought a giant car load of groceries hoping we could make it two weeks without going back to the store. We’re almost there but getting thin in a few spots. Bob is going to take his Mom to buy groceries today so he’s going to pick up a few extra things for us.

We still have about 15 containers each with a tiny serving of leftovers. I was considering scraping them all into one dish and grating some cheese on top, sprinkling some bread crumbs and throwing in the over for an hour. Bob would love it.

But instead I’m making Turkey Tetrazzini for him tonight. He loves it and it makes a ton so we’ll have it for a couple of days and for lunches.

I don’t think I explained that this year I only made a turkey and a pie. We got the rest of the meal from a store. While this was a big success in terms of me not being bummed out about cooking a giant meal all by myself, all the food I make is a million times better. So next year I am going to suck-up and do all the cooking again. Lesson learned.

And that completes 30 days of posts. I want to work on more advanced Photoshop next month so possibly more photo oriented stuff in December.

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