Lost in Suburbia classic column: Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater
Columns share an author’s personal perspective.
“The squirrels ate my pumpkins,” I moaned to my husband.
“Is that a secret code for something?” he wondered.
“NO! I had a whole bunch of pumpkins on the front stoop and the squirrels massacred them. Look!”
I pointed out the window to our front lawn. There lay three pumpkins … or what was left of them. They were strewn about the lawn with big chunks gnawed out.
“How’d they get down there?” asked my husband.
“Apparently the squirrels not only ate my pumpkins, they also played soccer with them.”
Honestly, I was really miffed. Every fall I buy mums and hay and pumpkins and decorate our front stoop. And every fall the deer eat the hay and the squirrels decimate the pumpkins. After 10 years of this, you think I would get the point. But I am either insanely stupid or just unconsciously doing my part to help sustain the wildlife in our area.
I went outside and started to put what was left of my pumpkins back on the stoop. While I was down on the lawn picking up the last one, I turned and saw the brazen little rodents already going to town on the pumpkins I had just put back.
“Hey, get off my pumpkins, you rats!” I yelled. “Scram, shoo!” I waved my arms around, forgetting that I was still holding a little pumpkin. The stem broke off and the pumpkin flew at my front door, smashing into a million little pumpkin pieces. The squirrels scattered, then returned and started eating the smashed pumpkin.
Muttering evil squirrel things to myself, I got a broom and cleaned up the mess. Then I arranged the two remaining pumpkins to hide the chewed out parts in the back.
The next morning I came downstairs to let the dog out. I looked out the window and scanned the stoop and noticed that there were no squirrels.
There were also no pumpkins.
I walked outside and looked around, finally locating my two remaining pumpkins at the end of the driveway. One of them was still mostly intact. The other was a pumpkin pancake. There was a big tire track down the middle. Apparently my husband had run over it with the car when he left for work.
I sighed and took the last chewed up pumpkin back to the stoop. Then giggling somewhat hysterically, I got a broom and cleaned up the squished pumpkin in the driveway.
“I have to take some action to defend our last remaining pumpkin,” I texted my husband.
“Got get ’em, Honey!” he replied encouragingly.
Scouring the internet, I discovered that renegade pumpkin-eating squirrels are a common problem out here in suburbia. There were a whole host of solutions suggested by frustrated pumpkin owners. Everything from cayenne pepper spray to squirrel-chasing dogs. I had the latter and that didn’t seem to work, so I decided to try the former. I mixed together a potent concoction and then doused my sad little, chewed-up pumpkin.
The next morning, optimistically, I ran outside.
“Hey,” said my husband peeking out the door. “Did you figure out a way to keep the squirrels from eating the pumpkins.”
“Yes,” I said holding up a pumpkin stem. “Don’t get anymore pumpkins.”
This is a repeated Lost in Suburbia column, which has appeared in GateHouse Media newspapers since 2008. As Tracy Beckerman’s main column is shifting focus - her kids are grown and she has moved back to the city - we are rerunning her earlier work for readers who may have missed these the first time around. You can follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LostinSuburbiaFanPage/ and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/tracybeckerman.