As most people that have stayed here at Oak Hill (or have owned a historic home) know, we have developed a strong aversion to squirrels. It is, in fact, Shell's favorite "soap box". Many of our guests enjoy relaxing on the veranda overlooking the mountains, listening to the birds and watching these cute fluffy tailed critters chase each other from branch to branch. They also love to watch Shell precariously scale this 3-story, steeply pitched roof to fill the holes they have chewed! I would not be surprised if wagers have been placed on when he will come tumbling down into the bushes. Admittedly, I hold my breath when he is up there and make him promise to take the cell phone with him. That said...you can't really make calls with the breath knocked out of you, so I listen carefully for the THUDD!
Just when we think that we may have beaten them by filling all the holes with Rock Hard Putty, we find that they have outsmarted us yet again. In the stratosphere of our uppermost roofline, we have two large vent fans that have domes to keep the leaves and weather out of the attic. The squirrels discovered that the fans don't usually run during the colder months (smart little boogers!). Cool, a perfect place for a squirrel's nest! Protected from the rain, way up high where four-legged predators don't go and out of sight from the hawk. Here we go again! The darn thing is full of leaves and twigs. The best tool for the job...the BLOWER! The most fun was watching as they bolted out like rockets were attached to their...well, anyway. The remedy, chicken wire bunched up under the dome until the fans are required again. After the first of two were retrofitted, the weather (and business) prevented work on the second fan.
We have 8 very large oak trees and this year they produced a bumper crop of acorns...much to the delight of the current squirrel population. Our little toothsome buddies typically work on increasing their population in early spring and late fall. However, Mother Nature seems top be increasingly confused this season, as evidenced by the daffodils which are in full bloom, and it's only February! And, so it is with the squirrels.
Just the other day, Shell had some time to address the second fan. He removed the dome and began to brush away the leaves and twigs. Yup, they had simply moved over to the other fan. He noticed something down in the leaves that looked like a...a...a frog! A tiny little pinkish, grayish thing a couple of inches long. Closer inspection revealed, you guessed it, a baby squirrel.
You may have formulated the opinion that we hate all of nature's little nuisance critters, and that we would have just disposed of our tiny discovery. Come on, we do have hearts! Shell very carefully brought it all the way down the roof, down the ladder and into the house where it was safely placed in a box atop a heating pad. After many panicky phone calls, we located a wildlife rescuer who picked up the little guy and promised to care for it until it could be released. Our only stipulation was, DON'T BRING IT BACK HERE!!!
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