Mother Nature seems to be having a grand time — at our expense. This week alone, our weather will go from having snow to being warm enough to run around in shorts while courting the first sunburn of the year. I fully expect a third of our population to develop raging head colds because we have no idea how to dress for the weather. The other third will be dealing with allergies.
So, two-thirds of our population will be terrifying the other third with our sniffles and sneezing. I can only imagine the reaction of the shoppers at our local big box store, when I show up with bloodshot, streaming eyes and sneezing repeatedly in my mask. Eww. Of course, the last time I was in the store, a vast majority of the shoppers are obviously immune to the COVID virus as demonstrated by the lack of masks, poor social distancing and lack of courtesy to the other shoppers. But that rant is for another time.
Mother Nature has apparently been feeling impish, aside from the weather. Her fun with furry creatures nearly has us going out of our minds. We have been dealing with an onslaught of ground moles. In the past, whenever I saw one, they were small and easily fit in the palm of my hand. The beasts that we are grubbing out of our lawn look like they were cross bred with morbidly obese guinea pigs. They are so fat; I imagine they could easily hibernate for a couple of months with no problems.
For the life of me, I can’t figure out how they can move those stubby little legs enough to excavate an entire subway system through our property. We have enough tunnels winding through our yard, it’s evident a commune of the thyroid-challenged buggers has moved in. I only wish we still had my West Highland Terrier from long ago — she would have rooted them out in no time. Of course, that same dog would have found the nest of bunnies in our front flowerbed.
Nestled amongst the stalks of the iris, six furry little bodies appeared below our kitchen window. The Hubs set a lawn chair with a tarp over top to keep the wind and rain off of the kits. Daily, we would watch for movement and do a head count. Admonishing our son Sparky to “not touch”, he would sit on the brick wall and watch with utter fascination as they would shift about, but not leave the nest.
One morning last week, when we peeked out the window, the nest was empty. Sparky dashed outside in his pajamas to check on the baby bunnies, his dismay almost matched mine. His because the bunnies were gone; mine because all the tender young pea shoots that were planted the same day were found the rabbits had been chewed completely off. So were the parsley, basil and cabbage seedlings. It’s fair to say our unhappiness was very different in nature.
The Hubs has also been fighting with Mother Nature, starlings insist on building nests inside the engine compartment of our pickup truck, which he has been trying to get running. Every day he removes great handfuls of straw, sticks and string while the adult birds sit atop the garage and scold him. It has almost reached a point where it seems to be a battle of wills to see who will give up first. Since he is the second most stubborn human on earth, I know who I would bet upon.
We also have what the Hubs calls a “Fairy Diddle” in the garage. It is nothing more than a giant red squirrel who spends all its time chewing and pooping on everything. I am finding walnuts stashed in empty canning jars, my potting soil and even in the chicken feed. Dog biscuits are placed on the tool benches and inside gardening gloves. You can hear it bouncing around overhead when you go into the garage and catch the occasional glimpse of the varmint when he decides you are no risk to him.
The Hubs has progressed from setting humane traps for catch and release, to threatening to sit in the garage with a gun. That squirrel jumps over the other traps, manages to set them off and remove the bait. He ignores the rodent poison and only once did he nearly get caught in one of those glue traps. He left behind a healthy patch of fur, which means that he now looks like the punk he has been behaving like. It’s annoying, but at the same time, my husband’s frustration by being outwitted by a two-pound furball is kind of amusing.
I am sure there will be more battles of wills with the local fauna; this morning I found a walnut buried in the pot of pansies on our deck with dirt strewn all over the floorboards. We will probably be getting a couple of owl and snake decoys to set about in strategic locations to deter critter invasion, not to mention making another trip to the local nursery for plants and seeds. In the meantime, I sure hope Mother Nature has enjoyed herself this spring; she’s had the longest running and most diverse pranks I can remember.
Written and submitted by Sarah Roush for The Circleville Herald. The views of this column may not necessarily reflect that of the newspaper.