Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Nuclear Option

After pouring the concrete "ground squirrel barrier" mentioned in my last post, I sat outside waiting for the concrete to dry which I can attest is half as fun as watching its quicker cousin paint dry. With no sign of the squirrel, I went into the garage just a few feet away and did some work. I peeked out an hour later to see the squirrel digging away at my freshly poured concrete. He saw me and dove into the drainpipe and disappeared. I grabbed the nearby garden hose and poured many gallons of water in after him. I smoothed the marks out of the concrete and put a spray nozzle on the hose and sat outside some more waiting for him to come back. He did and I hit him with a stream of accelerated water throwing him backwards several feet before he secured his footing and scampered away. Surely that would keep him away for the rest of the day.

An hour later he was back digging at the concrete which had set enough that he wasn't making progress but just marring the finish. I sprayed at him but didn't score a direct hit this time. I loaded up Amazon on my smart phone and bought a nuke in the form of a pump action pellet handgun. I think the ground squirrel sensed he had crossed the line because the next day, I didn't see any signs of him. The following day, thanks to my Prime account, my pellet gun arrived and still no sign of him. The third day however, was a day that would change both of our lives.

As our oldest got on the bus, I saw fresh digging in front of my concrete plug. He hadn't made any progress forward but the hole was about eight inches deep. I filled in in and got the pellet gun out. I threw a pop can out about 20 feet, took aim and fired. The pop can flipped across the lawn so I figured my aim might be good enough for a ground squirrel about half that size if I took careful aim. I put out a lawn chair about 10 feet from the former hole (the squirrel had been letting me get that close in the past before taking off), sat down and waited... and waited... and waited. The squirrel wasn't anywhere. So I went inside to take care of some desk work and an hour later came back out. The hole had been cleared back out down to a depth of a foot. Flames of hatred shot from my eyes and ears.

Worried that I might not be able to hit something so small and knowing the squirrel was onto me, I made a cardboard box target and loaded a pellet. With careful aim, I hit it about a half inch from the center at 20 feet out. I put the box away and hid behind my car 20 feet away from the hole (I had filled in yet again) and waited... and waited... and waited. Still no squirrel. I got up and walked around the house and then down to the ditch at the bottom of the hill when I finally found him. He was sitting on a large brush pile of all the sticks I pick up out of our lawn. He was up on top where he could no doubt have seen me in my chair and hiding behind my car. I slowly eased up to him but at 20 feet, he started getting nervous so I stopped.

I pulled the pellet gun out of my jacket, took careful aim and squeezed the trigger. The ground squirrel flipped up in the air a bit and then raced into the brush pile. Not sure if I hit him or just scared him and not wanting to leave him wounded, I dug around but never found him. The brush pile is really large so it was kind of like looking for a needle in the haystack anyway. I put the gun back in the garage, set up a mole trap over his former hole just in case and called it a day. I haven't seen him since and it has been over a week now. I hope I missed and he moved on. If not, he will get a cremation here shortly when I burn my pile of sticks.


Kelly said...

I feel your pain and frustration and hope this is the end of the story for you. (and I really hope he has no kin folk)

ErinFromIowa said...

I'm a horrible person. I found this highly amusing. Mostly because I've been there and done that. ;)

Susan said...

OMG. I loved this post! I could almost see it unroll before my eyes. Rodents - especially squirrels - are certifiably insane. Or, they are hell-bent on driving you in that direction. I hope that a) there was only the one, b) he has learned his lesson and c) you consider writing a book.

Ed said...

Kelly - I haven't seen any signs of any ground squirrels since. I wrote about dispatching one earlier this year using a mole trap so I'm pretty confident I got the pair.

Erin - I do see the humor in it but still I hated that it had to come to that ending.

Susan - There were two in the beginning but I think both are gone now. No signs of offspring. Someday I want to write a book as part of my bucket list. I have several stories brewing in my head and in various hard formats.