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By Mary Pannabecker Steiner
My husband is engaged in an all-out battle with the squirrels that want to feast on our bird feeders. This is, of course, a long-standing feud, and one that neither side is willing to give up on.
Over the years, he's launched several plans, each designed to one-up the furry tailed creatures. A few years ago, for Christmas, I gave him a long-handled hook that - according to the seller - was guaranteed to out-fox the squirrels.
At first, Fred was ecstatic over his new toy. He promptly stomped out into the frigid, snowy weather to attach the long hook to the side of the house, hanging the bird feeder on its end. Then, he sat back to enjoy his birds. That lasted about five minutes before squirrel number 1 made his own appearance, balancing precariously along the pole.
Note to manufacturer:
1.) Apparently, you don't know the definition of "guarantee", and
2.) You don't know Bluffton squirrels.
A few weeks ago, we were checking out at Meijer, and I noticed an odd saucer-shaped contraption in my husband's cart. (Yes, we use two carts...that's a completely different blog.) Seeing my raised eyebrows, he grinned and proudly announced that this was a "baffle", yet another tool in "Fred's-gonna-fool-the-damn-squirrels-yet" campaign. Trust me. I did not say a word. I've learned.
That was a few weeks ago. The baffle has been installed, and he-who-would-be-the-squirrel-king has tested it at various positions, and has sprayed the pole with something that will supposedly make it even more difficult for the little guys to climb to the end. But...and here's the best part. The hubs has engaged the dog in his feud.
Always happy to please, Ike is proving his mettle as GUARD DOG. From his vantage point on a rocker in the living room, he keeps one eye on the street for his girlfriends, the two little she-dogs that pass by regularly, and another eye on the secret garden, where the bird-feeders are positioned.
At the first sign of a squirrel, he is off his chair and jumping up and down at the window, whining and barking until Fred pounds on the window, no doubt intending to cause apoplexy to any creature in the vicinity.
Usually a few whacks on the window send the squirrel flying but once in awhile, the whining, barking and window whacking continues for a solid minute. In the meantime, I cringe, hold my breath and say a prayer of thanks to whoever created those ancient heavy windows.
Personally, I think it's become a game of one-upmanship. A game which could, unfortunately, never end. Kind of like those Monopoly games that I played with my brothers. They went on for days until our mom finally got sick of seeing the board. I wonder....maybe she could intervene in this one? Mom?