Snail sign. That’s not good. Little ones– they’re more difficult to spot. Snails are slimy slugs with shells. I bought diatomaceous earth to put around the plants. It’s just like ground up seashells, only tiny diatoms. Snails won’t travel over that, cuts them up, like broken glass. Couldn’t use the diatomaceous earth because of the baby lizards and frogs. They hide from predators in the hibiscus and the mandevilla and just about all the potted plants. Will have to think of something else.Spider mites seem to be gone. I see an occasional white fly.
I’d get up during the night and quietly let myself out. I’d sneak up on them, pick them off with my fingers and in one fluid motion slammed them to the ground grinding them beneath my flip-flops. I don’t see snow scale as much as I did when they first invaded. Thought I couldn’t handle it, did you? The eggs are relatively easy to kill, but the adults– takes a little more ingenuity to kill them. I pulled off every bud and every piece of foliage with those white suckers on them. Should have burned them.Not much time left. It’s starting already. First, the holes in the yard. There are signs of a mole, but these holes–they’re something else. And the snail sign. That’s always a bad omen. I doubt I could get a priest to exorcise the yard or sprinkle some Holy Water over the area. I wonder if it’s too late to get some of that “special” water from Lourdes, France. It’s probably tap water. St. Bernadette would turn in her grave if she knew what they’ve been up to in her old hometown. If she had a grave. They have her in a glass coffin, for everyone to see that her body has never decomposed since her death in 1879.
The wars have begun. No one could have foreseen the squirrel devastation that would ensue, the horror. Gray squirrels are mad with a feeding behavior I did not expect to see in the subtropics. It’s been hovering around 60 degrees F (15.5 C) for days now. The cold spell which began almost 2 weeks ago must have triggered the behavior. Squirrels are raiding their caches. Digging up the lawn, garden… and my potted purslane.
Squirrels have excellent memories. They remember all the locations of their individual caches. In the Spring and early Summer those pestilent squirrels dug into my potted plants and buried their nuts. How could they know the daily watering would destroy their precious stashes– their insurance against the scarcity of food. Now, they’re mad. Mad as hell. And they know it was I who ruined part of their food supplies.They haven’t yet retaliated. They’re too occupied with defending their remaining caches from a small band of marauding squirrels. The aggressive displays are unimaginable– their bushy tails like semi-fores signaling some kind of squirrel language, accompanied by raucous shrieking.I don’t know how much time I have before they turn on me– go after my plants. It would be easy for them to shred my Coleus; the Firecracker plants; the Ixora and Impatience. My Aloe Vera. What if they go after my young avocado trees? I grew them from seeds.I can hear the cries, taunting calls of warning. I look outside my bedroom window to see squirrels preparing for battle.
The small gang of evil squirrels has increased two-fold. Normally gray squirrels are solitary. But this group is working as if with a single mind. Those not part of the group have each taken up individual stations. For them, it’s every squirrel for himself and the barbarians are at the gate.I feel helpless. I want to intercede, to stop the threats and tail displays but I’m afraid. Not for myself, but for my mandevilla on the patio. It’s a climbing vine , I can’t bring it inside. Maybe nothing will happen, after all, the sap of the mandevilla is toxic. Oh. My banana plants with their beautiful leaves, as much as 6 feet ( 1.8 m ) in length. I’ve nutured them, coveted them all summer. They were in unnecessary distress just a year ago, having been so completely neglected. I brought them back from the precipice. They rewarded me with beautiful healthy green leaves and pups– new plants, growing more rapidly than I could have dreamed. I can’t bring them in. They’re growing in the ground. Some are over 7 ft ( 2 m) tall, but they’re delicate, easily toppled with relatively moderate force. One squirrel couldn’t do it– but a group? Oh, no! Those demons are shredding the banana leaves. Oh, the horror.
I’m not worried about mostly dead tree. They can’t hurt her. She’s mostly dead. Anyway, the squirrels haven’t gone near her since my roommate’s son nailed the outdoors thermometer to the tree. And then there’s Bilbo. He’s a squirrel without a tail. I don’t know if he was born that way or was an unwitting victim of foul play, or an accident. I do worry about him. He has balance issues and he’s a bit chubby– not as fast as the other squirrels. Poor Bilbo the tail-less squirrel. All of the other squirrels laugh and call him names. They never let poor Bilbo play in any squirrel games. If I see that he’s in any danger I will intercede. I don’t care about the consequences. Bilbo is physically challenged. He must be protected.
They’re on the roof. Are they in the attic? I don’t want squirrels in the attic! This will probably go on for awhile. At least until sunset. Squirrels won’t come out at night. I think. I hope the lizards don’t get caught in the crossfire. But they’re fast. Faster than the squirrels. That evil gang of squirrels– there’s no telling their potential as a group. The lizards must run, run as fast as they can: Little Cosmo who sleeps in the hibiscus– Buddy and Brian who sleep in the mandevilla. But tiny Forest. He won’t understand: run Forest, run!
I can do nothing. If I bring in the potted plants, the lizards won’t have their usual hiding places. I’ll just sit here at the window and watch and listen to the horrors outside. The squirrel wars are here. No one is safe. Ladies and gentlemen, there is a broadcast coming in on the ham radio:
“2X2L calling CQ. Isn’t there anyone on the air? Isn’t there anyone on the air? Isn’t there… anyone?”
The preceding was a dramatization of a possible scenario for the inevitable squirrel uprising scholars have predicted since Animal Farm. This was only a dramatization. No squirrels, lizards or humans were harmed during the writing of this post. Plants– well, that’s a different story, isn’t it?
Won’t you join me next time for more adventures in defensive gardening? For your convenience, on the sidebar is an image of Sun Tzu’s book. Just click on the image to go to the suntzusaid.com website for the rules/strategies laid out by Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. If you garden, you’re going to need them.