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Posted by: Kim_Hamilton on 07/30/2008 12:03 AM Updated by: Kim_Hamilton on 07/30/2008 11:22 PM
Expires: 01/01/2013 12:00 AM

Operation Cone Zone~By the PineTree Pedaler, Brett Loring

It sounded like a bomb hitting the house early one morning this past week. Carefully pulling back the curtains I peered outside half-expecting to find a huge tree laying across the deck. Instead, I spied what appeared to be an elongated hand-grenade neatly placed in the middle of the walkway. Cautiously, I stepped outside, and while investigating the scene, there was another “kaboom!” that sent me scurrying for cover under our front porch overhang. Bouncing off the chalet roof with such force that organic shrapnel went flying around me, I narrowly escaped becoming the Ground Zero of a well-placed 3-pound conifer grenade - a shiny green, sap-laden sugarpine cone.....

Click on Photo to See Full Slide Show of Squirrel Gone Nuts!

As if to laugh at startling me so and for being out of my immediate reach, the determined rodent three stories up clung to his bombardier’s perch watching my every move. I had half a mind to fetch the bb gun, but instead decided to taunt him by approaching one of his recently-detonated projectiles. I stood below him on his target site and stared him down. Unsure of his exact species I did my best imitation of Alvin, Theodore, and Simon combined with some Rocky (of Rocky and Bullwinkel). Oddly enough, he began to chatter back, I think cussing me out for honing in on his plunder and interfering with his mission. Nevertheless, for a few more minutes I continued to cluck back at him until he took the offensive and boldly decided to shimmy on down in my direction. It was at the point that I could see the agitation in his eyes and the whites of his overbite as he scampered headlong down the bark of the tree that I decided it best to vacate the premises.

The battle’s not over yet, though. For I’m not about to let these little buggers keep me from strolling freely about on my property! As I walk under squirrel-occupied zones in “duck-and-cover” mode and try to avoid stepping in the fresh, sticky splotches of exploded sappy cones whose substance gets tracked in the house, on the dog, and somehow in my wife’s hair, I’m planning my counter-attack. I’m think I am gonna get out the pellet gun and take charge of some of those remaining nuisances. Those nuisances, of course, would be the green sugarpine cones that remain dangling fifty feet above me as potential bludgeoning devices. I think with a few well-placed shots to the stem of each cone, I can gradually eliminate the military capability of the conifer-loving rodents. As for the squirrels themselves… well, I’ll give them a chance to move onto other cone-bearing trees that are off the beaten path. Or, they can go after their freshly-dropped loot that I now chuck far down the hillside every time I come across it. Off to target practice…

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