Squirrel War II — By Tommy Purser

Squirrel War II is underway.
Regular readers of this column may recall that, about a year ago, I wrote a column about the fact that our backyard squirrels’ nest-building activities relied on stuffing from the good wife’s outdoor furnishing cushions. They’d sneak onto the back porch, rip open a seat cushion, remove great quantities of seat cushion padding and scurry up to their nests to build warm, comfortable abodes ….. leaving the seat cushion essentially destroyed.
I discovered this when a storm ripped across our town and blew out of a big oak tree one of those squirrel nests, layered with cushion stuffing from our back porch furniture cushions.
We tried all sorts of remedies. Peppermint was a temporary solution to the problem as, it turns out, squirrels absolutely detest the smell of peppermint and will avoid any places where peppermint-soaked cotton balls are placed. But, again, that was a temporary solution. When the smell faded away, the squirrels returned to harvest their nest-building necessities.
I tried a pellet gun offensive which sent the pesky rodents dashing madly and painfully to my next door neighbor’s back yard. A few days later, the neighbor asked the good wife if we had been finding dead squirrels in our yard because he’d found several in his.
Oops! I didn’t intend to kill them, I thought I was merely administering a painful sting that they would learn to associate with being in my back yard and staying clear. My bad.
I solved the problem of the squirrels hogging the bird seed from my most welcome bird visitors. That was an easy endeavor.
But, now, the squirrels have launched a new offensive that has ignited Squirrel War II. They have been building nests in the 6-inch deep crawl space in the ceiling of my outdoor cooking area. I can hear them scooting around a few feet from my head, and a few feet from my grill/griddle/fish cooker/steamer cooking apparatuses. That’s gross. Not to mention unsanitary.
And the nesting material visibly leaks from every crevice in my ceiling which grosses out the good wife.
I sprayed critter repellent around the area with no success. The nasty little rodents are so emboldened by the failure of that attempt that they poke their heads through their entryway and peer down at us with — and I swear this is true — a smirk on their little faces.
Then I tried a critter trap, baited with peanut butter on a wheat cracker. I found out they love peanut butter on a wheat cracker. But they are either too light to trigger the trap mechanism or they have been just jumping over the tripwire and enjoying their little snack compliments of me.
That trap was flawless with dumber-than-dirt armadillos but squirrels are smarter than those lawn-destroying vagabonds.
I may have lost a couple of battles with the squirrels but the war is still on. A well-placed napalm attack may be next. Stay tuned.

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