What I learned today…

Learning should be life-long, but some days are more educational than others.  Here’s what I learned today.

  1.  Arugula seeds can germinate in 36 hours.  Actually, it could be less than 36 hours, because I admit I did not camp out with a lantern to note the exact time, but this morning just after dawn, they were there.


2.  Piney squirrels are evil.

3.  Piney squirrels can chew through metal guttering, and whatever else they need to get into a wall.  And then they race around making lots of noise, and drop walnuts onto the furnace ductwork so the nuts go “Boing! Boing! Boing!” and then they sit and chatter (quarrel?) in loud squirrel voices (one high, one low) right in the wall at the headboard of your bed. so that you wake up at dawn.  Thus, you see newly germinated arugula seeds, which is the only good thing at that point.

4. Having located the chewed metal guttering on the shaded side of the master bedroom suite, hauled a ladder to the spot, and gathered supplies, I cut a metal plate and placed it in the hole, threading a wire through it and a wadded piece of chicken wire so the hole was filled.  Then I filled the entire hole and contraption with triple-expanding spray insulation, which the salesperson assured me squirrels hate/avoid.  I didn’t know that.  It is good to learn useful information.  Congratulating myself of eliminating the squirrel entrance, and having noted as I worked that no grass was growing on this shaded side of the master bedroom suite, I decided to make a new shade border there.  I have lots of shade plants that need a home, and so it seemed perfect.  I merrily planted Heuchera “Autumn Bride,” various hostas, toad lilies, foxgloves, variegated Solomon’s Seal, some pots of grape hyacinths and wood scillas, lungworts, and primulas.  Here’s the area.  Soon I’ll add mulch, edging, and maybe some more blue items to help it pop.


5.  Squirrels can chew through metal soffit, while you are filling up their  entrance and planting a new shade border.  They are apparently experts at tag-team gnawing.  Here’s the proof:

DSC03983  I know that hole wasn’t there yesterday, when I deadheaded and edged the garden below it!

6.  Squirrels retaliate.  While I was gazing at the newly chewed hole above the sunny border on the west side of the master bedroom suite, and wondering who has a long-enough ladder that I can borrow to fix that hole, and if I do fix it, will eventually the entire soffit just resemble Swiss Cheese, so I search through the garage to locate the small live-trap, and then rummage through the pantry to find some leftover peanuts in the shell for bait, and set the trap along the wall where I recalled seeing a squirrel scurry by.  When that was done, I returned to water the newly planted shade border, only to find that 60% of the plants have already been dug out and turned roots up.  Just look at this mess!


7.  Squirrels are thieves.  After I had replanted the shade plants and watered them, I sneaked around to check on the live trap.  The peanuts were gone, but the trap was not sprung. Sadly, I am out of peanuts but I am too frustrated to move the trap or bait it with something (what?) else.  So, I left it.

8.  Squirrels have dumb friends.  Later this evening, I heard a noise and went to investigate.  A teenage opossum was in the trap.  I’m positive he was “double-dared” to go in by those evil squirrels.  I could hear them laughing in a nearby walnut tree.  I think they set the opossum up as a scape-goat, but I’m not falling for it.  I turned him loose and called it a day.  I hope I don’t learn as much tomorrow.


About carolee

A former professional herb and lavender grower, now just growing for joy in my new potager. When I'm not in the garden, I'm in the kitchen, writing, or traveling to great gardens.
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3 Responses to What I learned today…

  1. I had my own battles with squirrels before I left Zionsville. A constant plague to my bird feeder, I would think my most recent plan of keeping them off/away was the winner only to see the little heathens figure out their response that one upped me. This went on for the 20 years I lived on the property. Love your writing, Carolee! Thank you for the time and thought you spend.


    • Margaret says:

      You are funny! Loved reading about the squirrels! Here in southwest Florida, I haven’t found any squirrels…only 5 snakes! Yikes! I hate a snake! Gardening is just starting here and thankful that I don’t have any of those pesky squirrels coming around to raid my work of labor! In case a hungry rabbit decides to appear, we have out smarted it with putting our garden in black watering troughs! I hope you have luck in capturing the thieves that are plotting in taking over your property!LOL!! No need to send your captured ones down here either. LOL!


      • carolee says:

        So far, one caught…apparently the dumb one. All the others have figured out how to spring the trap, and have successfully chewed another escape route!


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