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They make excellent soup or pies

Bagel on Tree.JPG

With autumn’s first chill, let me introduce one of the CrazyStable’s more disreputable tenants: Bagel. He has a brother (or perhape a wife) called Smeagol. I don’t suppose it’s the same two squirrels who have tormented us for 19 years, but I regard them as one malign entity, an Ur-squirrel, lacking even in the few redeeming features of squirrelhood itself.

Industrious little fellows in all those children’s books they are. Bagel and Smeagol are squatters, looters, junk food junkies, and would-be murderers. They are a laughable excuse for wildlife. And, like their psychopath cartoon brother Foamy, they laugh at us. (Link to Foamy’s web site for some warped fun, but be warned: Foamy’s wrathful language resembles mine when dealing with Bagel and Smeagol.)

A partial list of Bagel’s squirrelly crimes and misdemeanors:

  • Hanging upside down from a hole in the ceiling on our stairway landing, so as to encounter me at eye level as I descended our center hall stairs.
  • Circling the living room like a rocket, destroying all my snow globes, and inducing our most reckless cat to follow him out a second-floor window. (Cat was reeled in by the last third of its tail.)
  • Setting up leisurely housekeeping between our joists. Rolling something nutlike up and down above the kitchen ceiling bocce-style to taunt us during dinner (riddly-riddly-riddly-CLUNK.) We beat on the soffit with sticks and bells; he ignores us, but we feel better.
  • Engaging in noisy turf battles with other squatters interested in the cozy confines of joist-land.
  • Eating all my little Japanese eggplants—one bite each, then toss.
  • Digging up my seedlings and pitching them around.
  • Fornicating brazenly on our porch roof. (We have never observed a single baby, for which I’m very grateful.)
  • Dropping an apple core on my head from a tree branch.

But Bagel’s hallmark offence is the idiotic storing of scrounged carbohydrates on the exterior of the house, typically in the corner of a windowsill. Here bagel chair.JPGwe see a classic example: a gobbed-on bagel deposited on the porch chair. The “ground” into which these “nuts” are delusionally “buried” has lately extended to the windshield of our car, which on a recent morning sported a half-eaten granola bar, in its wrapper, stowed beneath the driver’s-side wiper blade. To complete the tableau, the tree rat had left a nice little pile of turds glued to the car roof. If anyone else has experienced this sort of urban squirrel dysfunction, please comment below.

Darling Daughter, by the way, thinks these creatures are precious, clever, and in all ways delightful, and takes their side in everything. She would be horrified by this account of early American life by Hector St. John de Crevecoeur (1735-1813), a gentleman farmer from a time when men were men and squirrels were flail-ties. Pass the exhilarating cup, and let the mirth and jollity begin!:

At this season another animal comes out of our woods and demands of Man his portion. It is the squirrel…If there are but few, a gun and a dog are sufficient. If they openly declare war in great armies, men collect themselves and go to attack them in their native woods. The county assembles and forms itself into companies to which a captain is appointed. Different districts of woods are assigned them; the rendez-vous is agreed on. They march, and that company which kills the most is treated by the rest; thus the day is spent. The meat of these squirrels is an excellent food; they make excellent soup or pies. Their skins are exceedingly tough; they are stronger than eels’ skins; we use them to tie our flails with. Mirth, jollity, coarse jokes, the exhilarating cup, and dancing are always the concomitant circumstances which enliven and accompany this kind of meeting, the only festivals that we simple people are acquainted with in this young country.                                   -- Sketches of Eighteenth Century America

Posted on Friday, September 30, 2005 at 05:57PM by Registered CommenterBrenda from Brooklyn | Comments3 Comments

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Reader Comments (3)

we to had those rats with bushy tails in our attic when we moved into our house on rugby road. i called an exterminator and he explained the procedure. he would close off any holes around our house and roof during the heat of the day when they were gathering, set traps and then come back and take the squirrels to new jersey. well you imagine at first my stunned silence and then laughter....jersey i said. he said yep even if he took them to marine park or sheepshead bay they would find their way back to our house and he most definitely could not kill the beasts...it's illegal. i guess only a body of water would keep them away. well i hired him. he plugged up the holes and set the traps. the next morning i looked up from my bed at my window and there was a squirrel scratching at our window. my daughter came screaming from her room there were 2 squirrels at her window...this woke my other 2 daughters. we all huddled in bed together remembering the great hitchcock movie....the birds. and that is my squirrel story.
October 11, 2005 at 07:52PM | Unregistered Commenterrugbyroadisfineroad
So, I'm not clear on this. Did the squirrels ever enter the guy's traps? Or did they continue to do "Night of the Living Dead" at your windows? A squirrel-plagued neighbor reported that his tree-rats simply gnawed right through whatever he plugged up their holes with (including aluminum siding). Anyway, the image of your family huddling as they gibbered and scrabbled outside is memorably horrifying...
...and you have also given me another good reason to avoid New Jersey! It is a penal colony for squirrels! (Wonder if they ever start truckin' across the Outerbridge and the Verrazzano...)
October 12, 2005 at 12:00PM | Registered CommenterBrenda from Brooklyn
yes they did eventually go into the traps. and for a year or two we were squirrel free but alas a new colony moved in. i haven't heard them this year yet...there is always hope...
October 14, 2005 at 12:32PM | Unregistered Commenterrugbyroadisfineroad

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