I spotted him on Sunday, slinking across the yard, not looking anywhere but at the almond tree. As I flung open the back door, I roared as loud as I could, then ran out gingerly in my bare feet, waving my arms and trying to look ferocious. The squirrel merely sat up on two legs, front paws tucked into chest (was he casting his eyes?) and with a quick look back at the tree, flicked his tail and scampered much too nonchalantly up to and over the fence. I ow-owed my way back to the house, picking stones and debris out of the soles of my feet!
And where was squirrel patrol? Probably terrorizing some poor birds nest. I’m not a cat person. The three mangy moggies who make up squirrel patrol ignore me (at best) and I choose to let them walk hassle free in my yard so long as I see some benefit to me. So far the benefit has been a distinct lack of squirrels… until this morning.
This time last year the almonds were intact. But then I went to Ireland. When I got home three weeks later, all that was left was a pile of shells beneath the tree.
This year things are going to be different. I wrapped the tree up in a strong plastic net.
I made sure to secure it at the bottom so the squirrels could not get up the trunk of the tree.
I do worry that the large mesh size will only help them climb up the tree and that they’ll figure out how to put their arms in and still steal the almonds. But it’s the best I can do – like many aspects of gardening – it’s an experiment.
So for now the nuts are safe and looking squirrel-enticingly good.
Now I’ve got to stop the squirrel patrol from pooping in my raised beds. So the backdoor is flung open and I go charging out when I see a cat in the yard. I really must remember to keep shoes by the backdoor!