Okay, I am about to throw in the towel and spring has just begun.

In the past (see the word cloud on the right for squirrel entries) I have battled the elements in my own yard kindly, especially when it comes to the DOGGONE PEACH AND APPLE LOVING SQUIRRELS using a humane trap to relocate them and tasty enticements leading away from my yard toward the open space to try to rid my yard of these crazy, chattering creatures. This way of treating them has backfired on me several times. Those humane traps have also trapped two raccoons (man those dudes are nasty when they are mad), three birds, countless squirrels, our cat and once the neighbor's cat too!

My main goal has been to preserve the end of summer preserves (hundreds of prized peaches and apples) not to mention keeping them from raiding our vegetable garden.

I wouldn't even mind if the fussy, fuzzy varmints had one or two pieces of fruit... problem is the squirrels don't play fair. They wait until my trees are bowing low with the "fruits" of my labor and then climb up into the tree, take a bite, throw the peach, take a bite, throw the peach, take a bite, throw the peach... In one day they will throw twenty peaches to the lawn below. We are not going to eat a peach that has been munched on by a varmint who might be carrying the plague. SO, what to do?

Here's what caused me to think I might throw in the towel and let the squirrels win (problem is Tootsie never will). I was up EARLY this morning because I couldn't sleep, because at VERY first light a woodpecker decided the metal on my chimney was the best way to attract a female. Trouble is we have two chimneys and it seems two males were playing their own version of "dueling banjos" on both sides of my house.

As I crept around outside armed with pebbles to toss at MY OWN HOUSE to ward them off, I realized how cold it was because I was wearing sandles, boxers and a t-shirt. AND OF COURSE, my next door neighbor just decided to go for an early morning jog at the same moment I was hurling pebbles at MY OWN HOUSE to scare off the wood peckers. She laughed into her fist and started jogging... Oh humiliation.

As I tried to get into the back door I realized I had let it lock behind me. Now I had to do the unthinkable. Trudge around to the front of the house where of course about ten cars went by on their way to work as I stood in my driveway trying to remember the garage code. DID I MENTION I WAS IN BOXERS?

I finally remembered the code, the same code as my high school locker, DUH!

Then I finally got a cup of French Pressed - French Roast, which now wasn't as hot as I like it, settled onto the couch in my office ready to pull my laptop open, begin some writing when TOOTSIE, my dog, went nuts.

Right outside my office window were, 1, 2, 3, 4... are you kidding me 5 squirrels chasing each other around the yard, each running up a peach tree and staking it out as if to say, "YOU JUST WAIT, WHEN THERE IS LOW HANGING FRUIT HERE, I WILL CAUSE MAYHEM FOR THAT WEIRDO IN THE BOXER SHORTS!"

When this happens there is no calming Tootsie down. She has to go out there and tree the squirrels, look straight up, BARK! look to the window to see if I understand what is happening out there, BARK! Look to my neighbor who is standing at her glass back door trying to figure out why my dog is barking and surely wondering why I was circling the lawn, throwing pebbles at MY OWN HOUSE and did I mention wearing boxers? She looks at me standing in the window looking at my BARKING dog and just frowns and nods her head. Did I mention I was standing at the window (the whole length of my office) wearing boxers?

I counted 5 squirrels treed with my shivering greyhound beneath them, running from tree to tree to tree to make sure none escaped. Then I heard # 6 and I believe #7 on the roof right over my head. I leaned as hard as I could on the window without going through it, looking upward to see if they were bungee jumping off the drainspout and of course as I pulled myself back off the window I noticed the three children who live behind me with their frowning, nodding mother were all pointing and laughing at me. Did I mention I was wearing boxers?