warning: file_exists(): open_basedir restriction in effect. File(/var/www/vhosts/glencoenews.com/httpdocs/../ad_/ad_cache_.inc) is not within the allowed path(s): (/var/www/vhosts/glencoenews.com/httpdocs/:/tmp/) in /var/www/vhosts/glencoenews.com/httpdocs/sites/all/modules/ad/adserve.inc on line 160.

Squirrels do play while we’re away

Ever wonder what goes on in your neighborhood when you are at work? Now that I’m retired, I get a good idea of what my neighborhood squirrels have been doing all these years.
Here are several observations:
• I heard the extra loud metallic clunk of a nut falling on one of the vehicles parked in my driveway. I looked out the kitchen window, up to my elbows in dishwater at the time, and there he was — a squirrel sitting on the steering wheel on my son’s 1953 Ford police paddy wagon.
It was like the squirrel wanted me to see how proud he was. The squirrel looked like an interior hood ornament. But then he gave me that “what-t-t-?” look.
If his legs were any longer, he might have taken off straight through the garage door and out the other end.
Thankfully, the paddy wagon has a stick shift. Half the human race hasn’t mastered that, yet.
As it sat proudly at the helm, I raced to get a camera. But the vermin fled by the time I got back, my hands still full of suds.
By the way, my son’s paddy wagon has no windows and it is usually stored in the garage unless he needs the garage to do repairs on whatever new “treasure” he drags home.
• There must be something in those nearby acorns. I was watching a squirrel chasing its tail the other day. It suddenly jumped around in mid-air, landed, did a summersault and then chased its tail until it actually caught it. I suspect he took a big bite, because he suddenly pirouetted in the air and looked startled. I suspect getting bit on the behind by another squirrel is bad enough, but to do it to yourself? Like I said, it must have been fermented nuts he was consuming.
• Peeking out the back door one morning, there was a squirrel perched on the back of one of the lawn chairs, munching on a bitter hickory nut and looking right at me. You would have thought he owned the furniture! Hey, clean up after yourself you freeloader!
• In the neighbor’s yard to the west is a bird feeder, but with no seeds. That doesn’t stop a hungry squirrel from trying to snitch a morsel or two anyway. I spotted him out the kitchen window (again washing dishes) hanging from his back feet, head toward the ground. He did this several times before finally giving up on those imaginary seeds in the empty feeder. They are persistent, that’s for sure.
• To the east, my other neighbor has a large sump pump hose coming from the front of the house. As I was taking a break from my “busy” schedule, I noticed a big furry tail sticking out of the hose. Thankfully, my neighbor said, it did not lead directly into the house. A squirrel loose inside a home is even hard to fathom!
• The cacophony of pings and bongs from nuts falling onto my house, awnings and gutters is picking up pace. The fruit of the bitter hickory and oak trees is plentiful, and the numerous neighborhood squirrels are busy picking them clean, leaving broken shells and half-eaten nuts everywhere.
One of my new daily tasks is sweeping up the unclaimed nuts throughout the yard and driveway. It is an endless task, but ideal for a new retiree. I think I clean up after the squirrels more than the rest of the family.
•  Finally, as a welcome-to-retirement moment, I was sitting in a backyard lawn chair holding a cold beverage when out of nowhere a nut hits me on the index finger. I nearly dropped my beer.
It is bad enough the little darlings dig up my wife’s flower pots (while I’m home), but now they are trying to knock my beer right out of my hands.
Buster, that means war! Where did I put that garden hose?
Rich Glennie was the editor of The Chronicle for 23 years. He retired Aug. 1, but plans to submit an occasional column.