Sunday, February 26, 2012

Wildlife interactions...

So I had a delay getting to my yardwork today. While having my coffee, I heard the dogs outside. Barking. Frantically, loudly, at a high pitch. Without cease. *sigh*

I had to go check it out. They were clustered around the gutter downspout by one end of the back porch.
Trying to eat the downspout.

OK, not really, just trying to eat through it to get to the clumsy squirrel which had slipped down and gotten stuck in it, near the bottom. The dogs were in full cry, the hunting blood was up. And those darn squirrels do tease them, so I can't really blame them. But the downspout not only had lots and lots of scratches, but some serious punctures as well. I think, given time, they could have eaten through it, at considerable risk to their mouths from the resulting sharp edges. Not good.

So I had to get the squirrel out, preferably without having to saw through my gutter. But first I had to pen up the dogs, in the house, closed doggy door and all. I could still hear them, just not at such volume. So I worked for awhile at the bottom of the downspout, as that seemed most likely. There was some decomposed leaf matter, and I dug that out. It was there because of the brick paver blocking the front of the downspout, there from when the dogs were little puppies and I was trying to block access to that narrow space under the deck. Did I mention that is where the downspout ends? In an inaccessible area a few inches high between decking and concrete?

This didn't work. The squirrel stayed. It did not sound happy.

So I came up with the brilliant idea. Help it climb out! After all, it sounded like that was what it was trying to do, but couldn't get a grip. I found a length of chain, and decided it should go down the downspout and provide a ladder for it. After some frustrating (and no doubt amusing had there been any onlookers) activity where the chain was not going where I thought it should, I decided that I needed my own ladder first. So I had to extract that and carry it around and set it up. Several times, trying to find a relatively stable foundation. Anyway, eventually I managed to get the chain to slither down the downspout, and tied off the string I had cleverly tied to the end so it didn't just fall on through. I waited awhile, no sound from the downspout. I guess I thought it would immediately respond to the rescue! It probably thought the dogs were waiting at the top. But after I went away for awhile and left it all alone, it must have gotten the idea, because when I let them out again, it only took them 3 or 4 minutes of frantic sniffing and barking and attempted downspout deconstruction to decide that maybe it wasn't there anymore. Peace at last, and only about 2 hours lost!

I did still manage to feed gardens and plant potatoes and some other good stuff. The pansies are so pretty, and there are some early roses and other flowers, the snowbells, some daffodils, and the citrus is about to bloom - little round white buds all over it. But I am not getting the tomatoes out of the greenhouse yet. Maybe next week.

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