Monday, March 10, 2014

Chills, Thrills, and Squirrels

[Warning.  First, while this is NOT another chicken story, the chickens are part of the background.  Second, those sensitive readers whom I've not already scared off, might want to consider skipping this entry and wait for another spider story.]

Just a day, just an ordinary day.  The Husband teleworked today, and I was working at my normal spot in the breakfast nook, lost in my writing.  From this seat, I can see the little frog pond, and the pretty garden (that looks like a winter nightmare currently), and in the background, across the drive, the chicken coop.  I won't brag on the four foot snowpile to my left, because today was just too darned warm and sunny.

I came to from my writing coma to hear the strident clucking from Leia.  I looked up, and she was standing at the top of the stone chicken path, just outside the door.  Clucking like a fiend.  Now, she is kind of a drama queen, so I figured she was just calling to the other girls to wait up.  I watched her walk away, and dove back in.

Some time later, I heard another mad clucking.  It was Ginger or Peaches, doing the same thing.  Just standing at the door, making an ungodly amount of noise.  I finally got up to go to the door to see what was causing such a ruckus.  As Ginger (or Peaches!) strutted off, I saw the culprit.  A squirrel sat up on the roof of the chicken coop, and as she moved away, it scrambled down the side of the building and THROUGH THE CHICKEN DOOR.

Well, that bugged me like you wouldn't believe.  While chicken feed is not grossly expensive, it still costs money.  And at least the chickens are offsetting the cost by laying lots of eggs.  Little Squirrel, I suspected, would NOT be laying eggs for me.  I decided to take action.

I just happen to own a terrifying huntress.  She's taken down over a dozen animals in her life, and she doesn't even make a mess doing it.  She is a good strong animal, horrifying to all...  Her name is Amy the Killer... Black Lab Mix.

Yeah, she's taken down lots of rabbits and chipmunks, even a vole.  She's terrified the groundhogs, and even tried to take down the deer.  I thought she might just be terrifying to the squirrel.  

I got my muckers on, got the dog, and walked up, bold as brass, to that open door.  I leaned in, and found that squirrel just munching away at the chicken feeder.  He didn't even look up.  My crazy side took over.

"Hey, squirrel!  I see you!"

He jumped about a foot in the air, sending that feeder spinning.  He ran for the door... except I was standing there, grinning at him.  Amy was standing next to me, terribly excited.  The squirrel changed direction, and then ran for the door again.  I was still standing there.

And there we were.  I wanted Amy to chase it, teach it a lesson.  But Amy could not get through that door.  And the squirrel wouldn't go through that door.

And the reality of the situation hit me.  This was no cute little incident.  This squirrel knew what was there.  He could be chased away by me or Amy, but he would come back.  And he would eat just as much (if not more) than the chickens.

I decided to let Amy into the coop.

I won't regale you with what ensued for the next five minutes.  Amy kept that squirrel running round and round the coop, bouncing from roost to rafter to straw, behind the storage bins, and back.  Amy caught it once, and it bit her or clawed her such that she let out an outraged whine.

Eventually, though, he got tired enough that he didn't scramble quite fast enough, and Amy had him.  She subdued him, and carried him outside.  He wasn't quite dead, because Amy rarely actually kills anything, except by accident.  (She's just like Lenny from "Of Mice and Men":  I will love him and hold them and call him George... oops, he's not moving anymore.)

He wasn't dead, but he was barely moving, so we had to put the guy out of his misery.  I've had to do that on countless occasions.

I have done some reading, and I think I may start mixing chili pepper flakes in the food.  After all, one squirrel means Legion.

But, all in all, I am proud of Amy.  Even at 10 years old this year, she has still got it.  Go Amy!  We are proud of you!

"Killer" Amy and the Damsels in Distress

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