I’ve mused before about our eventual subjugation by Sciurus carolinensis or more commonly know as the gray squirrel. I withstood your mocking and derision but now it is I who shall have the last laugh.
This past weekend Mrs. TwShiloh and I went to our mountain redoubt for a bit of R&R. As I was unloading our horseless carriage, Mrs. TwShiloh looked upon our deck and exclaimed:
Something has eaten half of the cover to our propane fueled outdoor cooking device!
I hurried to see what all the hubbub was about and was shocked to see that, indeed, there were significant pieces missing from the cover which had a cheap plastic exterior and an even cheaper synthetic fabric interior. We quickly agreed that the most likely culprit was a squirrel looking for bedding material.
As usual during these winter months one of my first tasks is to fire up the wood burning stove. As I began to do so I noticed the flue was not moving as freely as I was accustomed to it doing. So, glove on hand, I reached into the stove and began digging around to dislodge what I assumed what a mass of creosote which had dislodged from our chimney and perhaps blocked the free movement of the flue. Sure enough I pulled some of the black material out but something light colored caught my eye as I was removing the debris. ‘Uh oh’ I thought. ‘All my digging around must have dislodged some of the internal insulation of the stove.’
Dreading the worst I went for my tools and began to remove the screws which held the top of the stove in place to both assess any damage and find out what was blocking the flue which continued to resist all my attempts to free it.
Removing the bolts I called Mrs. TwShiloh to help me lift the top off and when we did, to our amazement, we saw a squirrel, curled up in a tight ball, sleeping and oblivious to all the clanking and banging I had just done, in a bed of ash and repurposed grill cover.
They can’t even wait for the end of human dominance of the world before moving into our homes and taking our stuff.
Mrs. TwShiloh, who has an inexplicable fear of squirrels began a lengthy repetition of the mantra ‘omygodomygodomygodomygod‘.
-Note to self. In the event squirrels do attempt to take over the world, Mrs. TwShiloh will probably not be much help.
In order to make a cozy home in our stove he had to gnaw/scratch away at a heat shield which has the dual characteristics of being very fragile AND very expensive.
So now I had a squirrel in the house, sleeping so deeply it was not disturbed by the fact that the roof of its den had been removed, under bright light and with a constant stream of ‘omygods’ that I wondered if it was still alive. A quick check to see the rising and falling of its body assured me that it was. So now what to do. I needed a way to catch it so that it would not be able to run riot in the house, scurrying behind or under every piece of furniture while also preventing myself from getting bitten.
My plan therefore was to get a large, strong garbage bag and putting that over my heavily gloved hand, grab the squirrel by the tail. In one fell swoop, therefore, the squirrel would be in the bad (so to speak) and I could then release it into the woods.
As I was getting my bag shod hand into position the squirrel finally decided to wake up, leapt six feet away and stared at me.
On to plan B.
I opened a sliding glass door and angled around the rodent. Seeing a chance for escape, the squirrel made a sprint to and through the door and off to safety.
There was enough damage done to the stove that we couldn’t fire it up and (of course) a replacement part will take several days to arrive. We beat a hasty retreat from the redoubt with plans to further fortify it from smaller invaders. It appears while I was planning for (and defending against) a horde of the undead I overlooked a far more insidious enemy. I have been undone!
But it doesn’t end there…The next morning Mrs. TwS and I went out to run some errands and upon our return we discovered evidence that the squirrel uprising was more broad than we imagined. Fortunately, the TwShiloh team is determined to not go down without a fight. We were greeted with this sight as we looked out upon our yard:
And so, let the history books record that on the 20th of February, 20011, the human/canine alliance struck back in the Battle for the Planet of the Apes Squirrels.
I disposed of the corpse quietly and in the dead of night. In order to avoid suspicion from the squirrel horde I buried him deep in the earth. I passed an old man on my way back home who told me that the land upon which I walked was once an Indian burial ground but it was desecrated by devil worshipers and hippies. Now, the evil has seeped deep into the earth and it produces things most foul that have names only the Old Ones can pronounce….
So, I’ll be sharpening my chainsaw….you never know when that bugger will come back