Thursday, June 14, 2007

Wicked, wicked ways

"A squirrel leaping from bough to bough, and making the wood but one wide tree for his pleasure, fills the eye not less than a lion, is beautiful, self-sufficing, and stands then and there for nature." - RALPH WALDO EMERSON

Not in my yard. These wicked little boogers irritate me no end. Fox squirrels are the largest North American tree squirrel and in my eyes, the most destructive. Why do they want to break my bird bath? I liked that birdbath. It had acanthus leaves on it and some other cool motifs. And they broke my favorite blue birdbath last summer.

Once they empty a feeder, they start chewing on the metal, glass, wood, or whatever it's made of. On this one they chewed the solder strips holding the panes together. What's up with that? My trusty roll of black duct tape bolstered the seams for awhile but the whole feeder is bent and chewed, metal and all, so I'm going to get rid of it. Besides, I need the duct tape to keep the passenger window in my car in place.
A friend sent me this big old goldfinch feeder for Christmas. Okay, it's not the most tasteful feeder I've owned, but it was quirky and bright and see how its stomach held the seed? Clever, huh? Well, first the squirrels disemboweled it.

Then they chewed its eyes out, and most of the face, with a few blows to the body and tail for good measure. I hung this feeder on a Monday and by Friday they'd done all this to it. I know that eating ornamental plants is common squirrel behavior, but what's with eating the garden ornaments? When I was a kid reading the Old Mother West Wind books by Thornton W. Burgess, I never noticed Happy Jack Squirrel and Chatterer the Red Squirrel acting like this. Come to think of it they didn't have bubonic plague either, which has been found in squirrels in Denver.

Well, I'd rather not think about that so here are couple of photos as requested by Zoey who wants to see just how scary the orange zinnias and the hot pink Zepherine Drouhin rose look next to each other.
A bit jarring, don't you think? I don't hate this, but it's not my favorite view. When I get tired of being unsettled each time I look at this, I'll move some purple and white containers in front of Zepherine instead. Or not. I am a lazy gardener when all is said and done. I wish the squirrels had as little energy as I do.


Mary said...

Brats! Eastern gray squirrels are a nuisance but they aren't as destructive.

It's amazing how much damage they've done - unecessarily, really. At least you seem to have your sense of humor, Lost Roses.

No matter what you think about your garden, I think it's perfectly lovely!

ladyjicky said...

I have always fancied having those pretty bushy tailed squirrels in my yard but they seem to be like our possums here in Australia - lovely to look at and oh so cute but what pests! My roses get eaten and they chew your trees and blossoms and yes, I have had a bird bath broken when they jump on them too. Oh well, thats life! LOL

Liza Lee Miller said...

My little Rat Terrier is my only effective weapon against those nasty squirrels. She hasn't caught one but she tries and they don't seem to ignore her they way they do me. Then again I have never chased them across the yard and halfway up a redwood tree while barking irritatedly. :)

Mary Carlson said...

Wow! I thought the squirrels around here were bad, but squirrels you deal with are a lot worse. Evil little boogers!
I like your color combinations - call me weird, but the orange and pink don't seem bad at all. I know -- add a little yellow to the mixture and then we'll see which color wants to compete more! :)

Kate said...

I suppose that's one good thing about living here where squirrels are few and far between. Even then, it is amazing how much damage they can do.

At this time of year, I find oranges, yellows, reds and pinks all wonderful and cheerful ... by August, I'm looking for more restful sights...

Your garden is lovely!

Marie (FKA Piana Nanna) said...

That last picture looks like it could be a beautiful cover on a book and I love it for that purpose. But I must admit that I don't like orange and pink next to each other in my garden. It happens on occasion, and I just have to move it as soon as possible.

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Oh dear, I never realised that squirrels were that distructive! I'm so sorry about your birdbath, it looked great before.

If you don't want to move that container with the orange zinnias away from the pink Zepherine Drouhin you could always wear your darkest pair of sunglasses. Much easier on the eyes. ;-)

Apple said...

I've never seen such destruction by squirrels. My mom has me buy nuts for them in the winter so they'll visit the bird feeder less but they've never attacked the feeder! I can't remember the last time I saw a squirrel here. Moles & voles are my problems here. (& rabbits, deer, raccoons, woodchucks, etc)

KGMom said...

Bad squirrels, bad squirrels. Around here (with eastern gray squirrels) they are eating my flower pots. They use them in the winter to bury their food, then come back in the spring and summer to dig it up. Not finding it, they get angry (I believe) and chew up my pots.
Love your flowers--they are gorgeous.

The Pumpkin Faerie said...

I'm surprised by all the damage you've had from squirrels. I have them in my yard and I've never had them damage anything. I must have very well-behaved squirrels.

Kerri said...

I've had fun reading your latest posts. You have some wonderful roses. I adore the heavenly shell pink :) Strange to have the pink show up with the white blooms. Roses here in NY don't grow and bloom like that for me. I'm lucky to get a few blooms, but I treasure each one. Betty Prior looks gorgeous with the Valerian. Your poppies and peonies are gorgeous too. And I'm an avid fan of clematis. Ernest Markham is a wonderful color and shape.
I like your sleeping woman (and your sense of humor...and I think the zinnias with the hot pink rose aren't bad at all. Your photos of them are lovely.
No wonder you don't like those wicked squirrels. It might be time for squirrel stew!
Thanks for visiting and leaving such a nice comment. It's much appreciated.

CountryGirl said...

Wow, what a pain! Thankfully we don't have many squirels and they are not that destructive. I can't imagine! I've never heard of a good way to get rid of them either. Well, unless you want to get a dog.

Bob said...

I love animals but never these guys. I had a co-worker who use to feed them in her yarded. I often mentioned to her that they can cause alot of damage and to be careful. Several monthes later she relized the had eaten a whole in her roof. She not only had to repair the roof, but also the dry wall below it and had to have that room recarpeted from rain damage. They are cute but they are still rodents! Sorry for the damage they cased in your garden.

LostRoses said...

Mary, I'll trade you for some of your well-behaved squirrels.

Ladyjicky, I won't trade for opossums, they sound as bad as my squirrels!

Liza Lee, hmmm, a rat terrier. Sounds like a good deterrent because I really don't want to chase them up the trees!

Kate, I agree. I don't want to see hot colors in August either! Guess I'll wait till then if I want to make a change.

Mary Carlson, Well, I did want some bright color combinations, and I guess I made one. Glad you like it!

Piana Nanna, I used to just cut the clashing color as soon as they bloomed and put them in a vase. For some reason I'm a bit more willing to have odd combinations and I seem to be making them on purpose!

Yolanda, good point - sunglasses! The funny thing is I never go anywhere without my sunglasses, even in winter, but I never wear them in the garden! Maybe I should.

Apple, you'd think they'd be nicer to me since I do provide them with peanuts and their own special corn feeder in an attempt to keep them away from the birdfeeders, but no-o-o-o! Not sure what I ever did to make them so mad at me.

kgmom, I'm convinced they get "angry" too. Maybe when they run out of peanuts?

Countrygirl, I'd like to think a dog would be the answer, but my dog died only last year and the squirrels have been acting like this for years. I'm not sure what it would take to scare them away.

Pumpkin faerie, you must tell me how you get them to behave so well! I thought they were just destructive everywhere.

Kerri, now there's a thought - squirrel stew! I think I'd become a vegetarian real quick. Thanks for all your nice comments, I'm glad you visited.

Bob, I had a co-worker who used to feed raccoons, rabbits, skunks, you name it. I tried to get her to mend her ways but they were like children to her. I don't think she ever suffered any consequences like your friend but I'm surprised she didn't!

mon@rch said...

Ugg, they wouldn't be making me happy after all that happening at my feeders! Ugg

Ellen said...

Those bandits!!

I used to mourn the fact that we don't have any squirrels here (35 acres and a grand total of 17 trees makes for a poor environment for squirrels, I guess), but after reading your story I'm happy they live elsewhere.

My gripe is with deer, elk, and antilope that congregate in large numbers and tear down our fences. And not to speak of the coyotes, mountain lions and bears who love to hide in the scrub oak and chase the chicken, goats, and cats.

Come to think of it, wanna trade? ;-)

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

Wow, I am glad the squirrels in my neighborhood are not as destructive as your little critters, all mine do is manage to irritate the dogs on a daily basis.

The last photo is beautiful!

MariaJ said...

Oh and squirrels eat also the eggs of the nests...I have squirrels too in my yard but havent ever seen damages like you. Then about the last pic (orange-pink) Without leaves it could look worse but green leaves (and white color) helps it.

Digital Flower Pictures said...

I have to admit I am always after a lot of color in the garden and yours look good. A while ago I would have suggested trapping and relocating your squirrels but here in Connecticut you are no longer supposed to do that. You are suppose to trap and kill them and I just can't bring myself to do that.

Annie in Austin said...

Hello Lost Roses - just catching up on your posts and loving how you have taken your trials with odd colors, a husband who won't recognize your status as an expert, and the rotten little tree rats, and turned them into witty and engaging stories.

Squirrels in IL demolished feeders and birdhouses, and the ones in Texas act like yours, too - running off with parts of windchimes, pulling plants out of pots and ripping the bark off the trees. Perhaps they have evolved in some evil direction since Emerson's day!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

EAL said...

That semi-demolished feeder is scary!

LostRoses said...

mon@rch, it really does limit what I can do with feeders too. I always have to weigh the cost of a cool feeder against the short life it will undoubtedly have!

Ellen, many times when I'm bemoaning my garden pests, I think "at least I don't have deer, or bears"! Not sure how you cope with that, so no trade!

Iowa gardening woman, I have to admit that chasing squirrels was my dog's main form of exercise, though in his old age he'd just get up and give them "the look" rather than give chase. It worked about the same!

MariaJ, oh dear, I haven't seen that behavior but wouldn't put it past them. I moved the flowerpots around, much more restful!

Digital, my husband the dubious gardener amused himself for a couple of years trapping and relocating squirrels away from his house. I think he quit counting at number 300 and something, so you can see it did no good. As for killing them, I'm too squeamish and as you say, it's probably against the law!

Hi Annie, so glad you're back! While an expert I'm not, I do have a few "factoids" that the dubious gardener chooses to disbelieve on a regular basis!

Yes, evil squirrel evolution, that I can believe!

EAL, you're right, it looks like something that would happen to my friend in NJ who gets black bears in her backyard!

Salix Tree said...

Thankfully, I have never seen squirrels out here in the bogs. Just mice, hedgehogs, rabbits and foxes.
And I like those colors together, the bright yellows and hot pinks. Looks exotic. I think it helps having those white flowers inbetween everything.

LostRoses said...

Salix, I'd trade you for a hedgehog any day! And yes, I think white is always a saving grace no matter how bold the colors.

lisa said...

My squirrels are evil, too...every time my mom visits, she reminds me that they "taste good with gravy". (She grew up in a very large family in KY, and they ate just about anything.) I almost tried it once when an old BF shot one, but when he skinned it, he left the long, bony tail on. Well after I cooked it, all I could think of was the carcass' resemblance to a RAT-and I couldn't take even one bite! To provide you with amusement and vindication, check out the "Yankee Flipper" feeder at
It sends the beasts flying!

LostRoses said...

Lisa, I love those spinning squirrels, that's a great video. The feeder price is a little rich for my blood though! I actually found a feeder at Lowe's the other day that has kept the squirrels off for almost a week now, which has to be a record. But are they mad at me! I was sitting on the porch yesterday and a squirrel in a branch not far from me was really in my face, chattering away at me. I'm sure he was saying, "You bitch, what have you done?" Love it!

Umm, fried squirrels? I wouldn't even be able to look at it, much less cook it. You're a brave woman!

tori8lucy said...

I love that picture with the Zephirine! I live in Lakewood and I know what you mean about the squirrels. Last year they ate the top of my canopy on my garden swing and I could see the heads of my sunflowers on the roof of my shed! I love your pictures and it's nice to see another Colorado garden.

LostRoses said...

tori8lucy, it must be something about Colorado squirrels, they're sure destructive little devils. I guess you're lucky they didn't eat the swing too! Do you have a public blog? I couldn't find it, and I'd love to see another Colorado garden. I think there are only four of us, counting you!

MrBrownThumb said...

Come to think of it they didn't have bubonic plague either, which has been found in squirrels in Denver.

Sorry for the damage they've done in your garden and to your feeder but that was one of the funniest lines I've ever read.

LostRoses said...

mrbrownthumb, thanks, and I'm glad you liked that line! I have a similar "funniest line I've ever read" on someone's blog and sometimes I go back and re-read it and it still crack me up. The joys of blogging.