Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

My War with the Squirrel Gang Continues…by Robert M. Katzman

by Robert M. Katzman © July 22, 2018

So in my ongoing War with the Squirrels up here in the hinterland, or North Woods–or, oh…I don’t know where the hell I am anymore–I decided to take decisive action against the birdseed stealing bastards with grey furry tails. Problem is, they’re organized.

They have this practiced pose where they sit on their haunches and hold their little grasping clawed paws together, so people will assume they’re eating something they’ve stolen. But really, they have advanced communicative implants in their paws so all squirrels know where either food or danger is at all times. The Twitchy Nose Mafia, everywhere and hidden at the same time.

This is hard for a bird-lover (without a shotgun) to overcome. I know, we have bigger brains, but no claws so we can’t scramble up trees after them, and no wings so we can swoop down on ’em, and so on. But…

Today, instead of refilling the empty bird feeder closest to my window, which hangs on the four-foot curved steel bird feeder holder which is attached to the top of the railing (meant to keep the grandchildren from escaping) but close enough for the squirrels to hit it repeatedly with their paws to make the seeds fall on the ground, I established resistance. This is a Mammal-to-Mammal struggle for dominance. Each of us using our intellect in this struggle.

I found a sleek shining five-foot piece of steel conduit in my garage. Then I found assorted short pieces of wire. And a spool of weather-resistant tape. Armed and ready. Locked and…oh never mind.

I bent the last six inches of the conduit, or pipe, to establish a secure base to attache the bird feeder, then holding it in place atop the existing too-close-to-the-railing curved holder, I tore two strips of the tape, stuck them on the top of my hand, held the pipe firmly in place angled up forty-five degrees, and five feet farther away from the railing, I grabbed one piece of tape to hold one end of the pipe in place and then the other piece of tape to hold the pipe just behind where it extended beyond the old holder. The contraption was ready to tie down.

I grabbed the wire, strong enough to defeat any squirrel, but flexible enough for this human to shape, tied it tightly around both ends of the pipe where the tape was, and wrapped it around and around to keep it steady in a thunderstorm.

Then, I took a long piece of wire, bent it in half, used a thick stick to turn it round and round so it was braided, securely attached one end of it on the bent end of the pipe seven feet up in the air, and dropped it down 18 inches to form a wire hook to hold the loaded bird feeder’s hanging wire.

I finished that, hung the heavy bird feeder on the braided wire hook, and watched it dangle in the air like a spider hanging from its web.

Then I walked twenty feet away and watched. The feeder looks like it is insecurely suspended in space, slipperier than any tree branch for the Squirrel Gang to crawl on. It dangled, moving slightly with the wind. That convenient railing as a base for the squirrels was far far away.

After a few moments, the little birds swooped around it, first one then another easily landed on one of the four T-shaped perches. If larger birds land weighing more than two ounces, the feeder door lowers to prevent their access to the seed. The little birds feed joyfully. Some seeds dropped down below them because birds are slobs and waste a lot of seed. In a few minutes more, the rabbit showed up to begin his evening meal of dropped seeds. So did a couple of chipmunks. Then the dove couple, always in pairs.

Chomp, peck, nibble, chomp, peck, nibble. A new age feeding frenzy.

Then a couple members of the Squirrel Gang creep up on the deck to examine my hopefully confusing to them contraption. They both leaned back sitting on their furry behinds, little paws bent in front of them and they tilted their heads back so their coal-black eyes could figure this thing out. I mean, all the seed just sitting up there, man. Wow! But…waaaay up there.

The squirrels just sat still, periodically speaking into their paw’s handset, as all the other back yard creatures surrounding them ate the droppings in peace. Sometimes the squirrels looked at each other, like: “Hey, now what’re we supposed to do? Fly?”

It isn’t every day when a guy sees a squirrel with a perplexed expression on its face.

I was enjoying this backyard tableau of harmonized creatures. As the others gradually moved on, stuffed for now, the squirrels remained. Plotting.

If they find some magically weightless ladder to get up there and defeat me tomorrow, I’ll call the National Enquirer and sell the weird story and maybe make a buck or two. They need obsessed people like me to fill up their pages.


Maybe I’ll put some engine oil on the pipe, just a little to coat it, and if the squirrels even make an attempt to try it, I’ll see the suckers drop to the ground like ripe apples off a tree! Cool. Maybe.

Y’know, people…if I had a nice girlfriend up here in the uncivilized wilds of windswept Racine, Wisconsin…maybe I wouldn’t be doin’ this kind a stuff. I imagine I’d find some other way of being distracted. Or keeping her distracted.

The hell with them screwy squirrels.

Just sayin’…

(Situation’s results: Monday, July 23, 2017: The new system is a complete success!! I believe the Squirrel gang will likely need therapy going forward. I love when stories have epilogues!)


Publishing News! 

Bob Katzman’s two new true Chicago books are now for sale, from him!
Vol. One: A Savage Heart and Vol. Two: Fighting Words

Gritty, violent, friendship, classic American entrepreneurship love, death, heartbreak and the real dirt about surviving in a completely corrupt major city under the Chicago Machine. More history and about one man’s life than a person may imagine.

My Facebook Book site is: Bob Katzman

Please visit my new website: http://www.dontgoquietlypress.com
If a person doesn’t want to use PayPaI, I also have a PO Box & I ship anywhere in America.

Send me a money order with your return and contact info.
I will get your books to you within ten days.
Here’s complete information on how to buy my books:

Vol 1: A Savage Heart and Vol. 2: Fighting Words
My books weigh almost 2 pounds each, with about 525 pages each and there are a total together of 79 stories and story/poems.

Robert M. Katzman
Don’t Go Quietly Press
PO Box 44287
Racine, Wis. 53404-9998  (262) 752-3333, 8AM–7PM

Books cost $29.95 each, plus shipping

For: (1)$3.95; (2)$5.95; (3)$7.95; (4)$8.95 (5)$9.95;(6) $10.95

(7) $11.95; (8) $12.95; (9)$13.95 (10)$15.95 (15)$19.95

I am also for hire if anyone wants me to read my work and answer questions in the Chicago/Milwaukee area. Schools should call me for quantity discounts for 30 or more books. Also: businesses, bookstores, private organizations or churches and so on.

My Fighting Words Publishing Co. four original books, published between 2004 and 2007 are now out-of-print. I still have some left and will periodically offer them for sale on my new website


Comment by Charlie Newman

July 22, 2018 @ 8:30 pm

Hey, Bubba, squirrels need to live too!
That, and I think you need a hobby…

Comment by brad dechter

July 23, 2018 @ 5:02 am

Nutty story!
I am waiting for the sequel to feed my imagination with more seedy undertakings!

Comment by Bob

July 23, 2018 @ 8:34 am

I know what I need, and it doesn’t climb trees or have a tail. Might eat nuts tho’…

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