squirrels : Oh Fair New Mexico

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by Karen Fayeth

All The Many Ways I Told You So

Mmm, hmm. There are things I know and know with certainty. There are things I know that people deny. There are things I say that are fundamentally true but are denied time and again by those around me.

Know this, good readers of my blog: Squirrels are vermin. They are not cute, they are not cuddly, and they are not adorable. They are rodents and should be treated as such.

I say this to the squirrel huggers and they tell me that I’m being silly. I say plague and they scoff.

So here’s how we are going to play this today. I am going to repost something I wrote in 2007. And then at the end I’ll give you an update to show you just how exactly 100% right I am.

Then I will do a superior dance. You’ll have to just visualize that one but know I’m dancing hard like I’m counting coup.

I am a woman of the west. The real west. The range land, unpopulated and dirt covered west. I know things. Behold.


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People who are not like us…

First published June 12, 2007

So, where I live, we have a lot of squirrels. Now when I say “a lot of squirrels” I don’t mean “oh my, there’s quite a few out there”. I mean a whole horde, an army, a remuda, of squirrels.

They run around everywhere, up and down power lines, around trees, hither and yon. When I go for a walk at noontime from work, I walk down this one street and they scatter in all directions like a squirrely sea of doom.

People here think they are cute. Find them amusing. The fluffy tails make them laugh. People here FEED THEM. Yes, they put out food for the little b*stards.

They don’t understand my revulsion, my utter HORROR that these vermin are allowed to roam free in a civilized society.

They don’t understand this because I am a New Mexican. One of the bonus features of being raised in New Mexico is, da da dummmmmm, bubonic plague.

In fact, according to an article in today’s ABQjournal, there have already been four cases this year, including a boy who died.

To quote the article, “Plague, a bacterial disease, is generally transmitted to humans through the bites of infected fleas but can also be transmitted by direct contact with infected animals, such as rodents, wildlife and pets.”

Unh huh, no wonder every little rat with a fluffy tail gets the suspicious eye from me. Early on in life my mom would yell at all us kids to stay back from any wild creature, especially the small rodenty kind.

I will not draw one of those beady-eyed plague-carrying varmints closer to me or my home! I live in a duplex and for a while my next door neighbor put out bird seed with no cover or protection from the squirrels. I would stare horrified out my living room window to see a swarm of the things eating with reckless abandon in my back yard.

THE PLAGUE!!! THE PLAGUE!!!!

In my old place, a couple of squirrely warriors had an epic territory battle on the roof right over my apartment. Not only did I have to hear the squeals and the death call of the loser, I *freaked out* about the dead rodent right there over my doorway. As you know, fleas leave the dead rodent searching for a new home.

I shall print out the referenced article and keep copies handy for the next person who looks me and says “how can you not like squirrels, they are sooooo *cute*!!”

I’m keeping an eye on you, you plaugey b*stards!!!!


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And now, the update and my vindication:

Plague-Infected Squirrel Closes California Campground

A plague-infected squirrel has closed a California campground for at least a week, according to Los Angeles County health officials.

The squirrel, trapped July 16 in the Table Mountain Campgrounds of Angeles National Forest, tested positive for the infection Tuesday, prompting a health advisory and the closing of the campground while investigators tested other squirrels and dusted the area for plague-infected fleas.

…L.A. County health officials are urging Angeles National Forest campers to avoid contact with wild animals, steer clear of squirrel burrows and report any dead squirrels to the department of health. (emphasis added)

Oh! Oh! There it is. The I Told You So Dance.








Reporting from the Front Lines

There is a battle being waged. A mighty, vicious, chirpy battle. Take no prisoners. Victory is secured only by chasing the enemy away.

Nothing but full retreat shall be accepted.

Here is a photo of the front lines. Ground zero for the nastiest battle I’ve ever had to witness.





That’s right. It’s a fig tree. In the corner of my front yard.

The birds (mostly snotty jays) fight birds. The squirrels (generally snotty) fight the other squirrels. Then the birds join forces with other birds and the squirrels join forces with other squirrels and it’s full on species on species battle. It’s vicious! And loud.

The menagerie will squawk and chirp and flap wings and shake tails and go nuts at each other.

“Come at me, bro!!”

Yes, I’ve actually seen the birds and squirrels get into a physical tussle.

This is the prize in the all out war:





Figs. Lovely, sweet, squishy figs.

As you can see, our tree is heavy with fruit this year.





The figs on the sunny side of the tree have already ripened to brownish perfection. Tasty sugary carbs. Good energy for the wild animals.

The shady side of the tree still has a ways to go.





Which means this battle will rage on for a while.

My home studio is at this corner of the house and looks out over the fig tree. It’s rather disconcerting to be peacefully writing or painting and hear this angry battle going on right outside my window.

I look forward to the persimmon tree coming on with fruit. It’s in the back of the house and the battle will move there, away from my view and out of hearing range.

Oh, I almost forgot, the deer are in on this battle too. They eat the leaves on the low branches and like to leave their calling card for me under the tree.





(Congratulations long time readers, that’s the second time I’ve treated you to a photo of deer poop. Just keeping it classy here at Oh Fair New Mexico.)

Then the feline gets in the window and chatters at them all. Good gato mighty, it’s a cacophony over here.

Heaven help the human who simply tries to pick a few fresh figs for her morning cereal. The squawking, the strafing, the nasty chirps. Geez!

I’ll tell you, these were hard won. But oh so very tasty.






Mmmm. Tastes Like Turkey!

I’ve ranted off an on over the years about the plaguey b*stards with fluffy tails that run roughshod over my yard, streets and power lines. They eat the insulation off of cables. They eat all the plants out of the ground. They eat all the apricots off my favorite tree (and holler at me when I try to pick a few so I can make a nice pie.)

In case I’ve been too mild on this topic, I’ll say it out clear: I hate squirrels.

So I smiled to myself when I saw this headline linked off of CNN.com: Give Squirrel a Whirl

Yes, you of tender tummy and mild disposition, they’re talking eatin’ squirrel on the Eatocracry blog.

“The general consensus was that it tasted more earthy and sumptuous than the darkest turkey they’d ever tasted”

Now, I may not actually want to have one of these somnabitches on my dinner plate, but I’ll certainly help with the supply chain. If this trend takes off, I’m sitting on a gold mine over here.

The only trouble is…The Good Man won’t let me fire a bb gun at the rodents. He says the neighbors might not approve…you know, owing to the fact that my bb gun aim has never been right.



Rodent, it’s what’s for dinner.


Epiphany On Aisle Seven

So there I am, standing in my local Target store looking at something called Lactaid because evidently God has a sense of humor and I’m pretty sure I’ve become lactose intolerant.

I’ll spare you the details, but I’ve had a bowl of cereal for dinner this evening and I’m bloated up bigger than Airabelle, the Creamland Dairy hot air balloon (last seen at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta).

Pride goeth before a burp, and the thought of taking something to stop this feeling seems real, real appealing. I’m comparing and contrasting the relative merits of the store brand “dairy digestive aid” versus the name brand “dairy digestive aid” when in my peripheral vision, I note a man walk by behind me. I can tell it’s a man by the gait and by what he’s wearing as he shops the aisles.

I hardly notice my fellow shopper, but moments later, I get a whiff of cologne.

Oh my.

It’s that scent, that same deep musk and leather tinged scent that reminds me of someone I used to know. Suddenly I’m not in a Target store but I’m in the cab of an early model step side red Ford pickup truck sitting next to that memory and I’m mainlining that scent like a addict huffs paint.

The one I knew wasn’t especially tall but he was broad in the shoulders, owing to many long hours spent practicing his team roping skills. He was a dusky hued fellow of Native American extraction with ice blue eyes that made me go weak in the knees when he’d walk past me on campus.

We only went out on two dates because he was as squirrely as a rabid woodchuck, but oh my heavens was he handsome. Just those two dates were enough to make me smile wickedly to myself some twenty years later.

So I throw into my cart whichever box of digestive aid was in hand as I sensed the sweet smelling gent shopping in the next aisle. I look at the sign on the end cap containing the Target version of the Dewey Decimal system announcing, “dental hygiene,” and think to myself, “why, yes, I could go for something in a minty fresh breath.”

I fix my casual smile, not too wide, not too meager, just Mona Lisa enough, and sashay toward the mouthwash shelves. Memories of slow two stepping dances to the sounds of something like Alabama or George Straight or Merle Haggard fill my mind. I lean casually next to the Listerine and glance up at the object of my olfactory desire.

There stands a mid-fiftyish man with a boiler hanging over a belt holding up a pair of unflattering pants that evidently contain no butt a’tall. His unkempt hair graying rapidly from the top of his ratty hairdo to the bottom of his scruffy beard. What appears to be a remnant of dinner still lingers there on his, oh my is that really a knockoff Members Only jacket he’s wearing?

I beat a hasty retreat and three rows down, I huddle at the end of the hand sanitizer aisle. I need to regroup.

That was, as they say in the vernacular, a buzz kill. Suddenly visions of New Mexico State Ag Week dances under a clear high-desert starry sky vanish and I find myself once again an almost forty-two year old woman in a Target store. I take inventory of my own raggedy outfit, with frowsy hair escaping a hasty pony tail, glasses framing my weakening eyes and a hand cart full of things like GasX and Lactaid announcing that not only was that guy not the guy that I once knew, but I am in no way that girl I wish I was any longer.

The girl I am now needs to buy some Ziploc bags so she can pack her non-dairy, non-wheat, low-fat lunch to take to my “is this really what I wanted to be when I grew up” job and slog my way through another day, as my tummy churns and my hair grays and I no longer ride in red pickup trucks and wonder what it will be like when I’m all grown up.

This is what it will be like. This is what it is. Just me and my rumbly tumbly and enough freedom and disposable income to make it interesting. When I’m done daydreaming and remembering and purchasing my products of middle aged despair, I get to go home to The Good Man who smells of soap and cute boy and is a pretty gosh darn fine reason for going home.

For some reason, even with my frowsy ponytail and corrective lenses and an occasional bout of lactose intolerance, he still thinks I’m pretty cool. And pretty.

Crazy ol’ fool. (Me, not The Good Man)


Awesomest Street in Chicago



Photo from coolead‘s Flickr photostream.


Once again, I told you so.

October 14, 2008 by · Comments Off on Once again, I told you so.
Filed under: Bay Area, laffs, Opinions, squirrels 

Squirrels are evil.

I did too tell you so. Here.

I’m starting to build a case, now.

Flaming squirrel blamed for small Calif. Wildfire

See? They are starting to learn tricks!

Bah!

Apologies to The Good Man and the Great Mom-in-Law who are kinder souls than me and would be horrified to know I giggled at the thought of a flaming squirrel.

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