Happy Squirrel Appreciation Day

Squirrel standing and eating a nut

Did I ever tell you I’m involved in a squirrel war?

It’s not a war against squirrels. It’s a “war” celebrating squirrels and neighbors.

About fifteen years ago, we had renters that left the house with a less than friendly attitude. A good neighbor who owned properties for a living was helping us with getting the house ready for my grandmother to move into. There were small things found after the final walk-through that wouldn’t be things we could charge for, but needed to fix.

One of those things (or so we thought at the time) was a series of small cuts made into the aluminum wire that held the chain-link fence to the support poles. The wire wraps around the horizontal pole, weaving in and out of the actual chain link. About every six inches were precise gouges, almost going through the entire width of the quarter inch wire. This was the time before Ring doorbells and cameras were common, so no one had footage of the damage being done. None of our neighbors had heard an angle grinder, which was the type of equipment that could make this type of damage. So we called a fence repair person and figured the renters had gotten away with another thing. Before the repair person arrived, we received a picture from a neighbor who was helping us. There was a squirrel running alone the fence, stopping to gnaw on it every spot there was one of the gouges.

That’s how we learned squirrels love to use aluminum to grind down their teeth. It’s strong enough that it gives resistance, but soft enough that they can cut through it.  We replaced the aluminum wire with steel and have had no issues sense.

My mother, having a sense of humor, sent a text back of a picture of squirrel paws in the air with a text bubble saying ‘guilty.’ That lead to a stuffed squirrel being left at our door. While I was on vacation next months, I found a mug with a squirrel in prison stripes. I immediately purchased it and gifted it to the neighbors when I returned. We continued to gift each other squirrels, slowly increasing in inventiveness. One time, we went as far as having their daughter let us in while they were on vacation so we could leave random squirrel mugs, tea-towels and figurines in their kitchen. Later on, we found our welcome mat had been swapped with a squirrel themed one. At least it didn’t say, “Welcome to the nuthouse.”

It’s gone back and forth like that for almost twenty years. Almost every holiday and some random days had some sort of squirrelly shenanigans occurring. Yesterday I dropped off a pop-up get well soon card, and some random tchotchkes. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you what their theme is.

So take some time to enjoy Squirrel Appreciation Day. And maybe start the best type of war with a neighbor.

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