by Tim Hauserman
The first battle began early in the morning when I was startled by what sounded like a bomb hitting the roof of my house. It was followed quickly thereafter by a second and then a third explosion. My eyes tore open with the thought: what in the hell was going on? I ran to the front door and looked over the deck railing, just in time to see another fir cone bomb fly by, followed shortly thereafter by the loud screaming chirp of triumph of a squirrel. But not just any squirrel, this was the work of that hyperactive little monster of Sierra Nevada rodent land: The Douglas Squirrel or Chickaree.
Oh, I’d had my run ins with these Red Bull infused creatures before. Most memorably as we huddled inside our tent during a thunderstorm at 10,000 feet in the eastern Sierra. One of those little Alvin’s kept dropping fir cones onto the tent even as it was raining, and they arrived with such force that we thought for sure one of them was going to drive a hole in the tent.
Back at my house on that fateful morning, it was fully light by the time the squirrel took a break from the non stop chewing parade. I surveyed my yard and found my squirrel had dropped at least 100 fir cones already.
For the next week every time I emerged from my house the squirrel was quickly moving from place to place with a cone in his mouth. When he saw me he would often run towards me, put it down and scream and run towards me a bit more before finally backing off. I noticed him scurrying into a spot below my front deck, so I put up some bricks to keep him from heading there again. A few hours later I took a look: He had moved all the bricks out of the way.
A few days after my squirrel arrived I saw a pile of chewed up cone right on the top step at my front door. I didn’t see him sitting there eating the cone, but every time I swept it away within a few hours there would be another pile. I think he’s up to about 50 cones on the steps by now. It’s either his dining room table, or he is a cat and trying to leave me a prize. Either way, until he runs out of cones, I will keep on sweeping.