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Squirrel Wars — By Tommy Purser

Despite Jeff Davis Emergency Management Agency Charles Wasdin’s report that there was no major damage from Sunday night’s storm that wreaked havoc across the state, I personally know of one home that was completely destroyed from the high winds and rain that pelted my neighborhood.
Monday morning, as I walked to my truck to go to work (the news media are exempted from Gov. Kemp’s Shelter In Place directive), I spotted the remnants of the home in my front yard. On closer inspection I discovered that the materials used to build the home included  leaves, sticks, moss and padding from the cushions on the good wife’s outdoor furniture.
The good wife has been in a tizzy for the last few weeks after discovering that the horde of squirrels who frequent our back yard had been collecting nest building material from inside the various seat pads on her outdoor furniture. Some of the pads were brand new and she was not happy.
She began soaking cotton balls with peppermint oil and placing them in strategic locations  around our outdoor sitting areas. Squirrels hate the smell of peppermint, something useful I learned on the Internet, and the cotton balls did the trick, seriously curtailing the theft of padding for a few days. She seemed begrudgingly happy.
To further mollify her anger, I have been keeping my trusty pellet rifle loaded and ready in case I by chance might catch one of the gray rodents feeding on the discards from my series of bird feeders that litter the ground beneath the squirrel-proofed feeders.
(By the way, we also have one brown squirrel hanging around our yard. I doubt it’s a real brown squirrel, which is native to California. I think the booger just has a pigmentation aberration)
So far I’ve stung the living bejesus out of five squirrels. One, when hit in his hind end, shot through the air with a leap of at least 10 feet, bringing a self-satisfying grin to my face.
Another did a standing back flip, jumped back onto his feet and scurried like a scared rat, which in fact he was, out of harm’s way.
A third found the pellet had rendered one of his hind legs temporarily numb and he did a desperate, floundering, three-legged, tail-flailing retreat to some nearby bushes.
But back to the destroyed home. The storm’s winds had swept the squirrel’s nest out of a tall oak tree in my front yard. Seeing its remains in the yard turned out to be an omen of bad things to come.
The homeowner was now homeless and I knew he/she would quickly begin looking for more nest-building material to replace the lost abode.
Sure enough, Tuesday morning, the good wife walked onto the back porch where two cushions were stacked one on top of the other with a cotton ball, reeking of peppermint, on the top cushion. A squirrel, probably the one made homeless by the recent storm, had nosed his way under the peppermint-laden top cushion and ripped open the bottom cushion to gather building material for his new home.
Later, I think I saw him limping away, dragging a numb hind leg behind him.

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