We have even made a tentative friendship with Ray and Honey, the raven pair that has nested 100 yards down the shoreline from us for the last seven years. I call them Neighbor, as in "Howdy Neighbor" when they fly low overhead several times a day. (They call me Squawk as they reply, outward bound from their flyover... "Squawk!")
For the past few weekends the crawl space beneath our hideaway cabin has sounded like Saturday night aboard a Carnival cruise ship... squirrels chirping, chattering, and chasing themselves around like square dancers learning the hokey pokey.
Finally, I put my right foot down, and my left foot in, and shook all about, and set a live trap out at the bird feeder.
And then I watched, from my big bird watching chair, out the window, as the squirrels taunted me by climbing inside and outside, all over the trap. They ate the black oil sunflower seeds meant for the chickadees and the grosbeaks.
They went in the trap and licked the gobs of peanut butter I had enticed them in with. One even sat right on the trip plate, that's spring loaded to slam the door shut and capture his pretty little fluffy twitching tail.
For less than the cost of a month's cable TV, I had bought a trap and spent hours watching the drama, blue faced from holding my breath, and numb in the brain from silently urging, "Go in. Go in..."
And then Eureka!!! Friday afternoon I looked and there was a little red squirrel securely closed in the wire cage. I named her Squirlie.
Squirlie wasn't pleased, but surrounded by sunflower seeds and peanut butter she made the best of the afternoon. And then the thrill - Squirlie got to go for a snowmobile ride to her new home three miles away. I don't like to think Squirlie was unappreciative, but she didn't hang around to express her thanks when I knelt down and opened the trap door. Matter of fact, she'd have put Northern Dancer to shame lunging out of the starting gate at the Kentucky Derby.
By Sunday I was pretty worn out, watching and telepathing another furry partner as he raided my trap at will. Finally I declared war and introduced my secret weapon - BACON.
Within minutes the door had slammed on Reddy (His real name was Red Squirrel, but that sounded so formal I nicknamed him Reddy). I was ecstatic, knowing I'd soon drop off Reddy to get back together with Squirlie in their new home, and confident that Mary and I would now be able to listen to music again without all the racket under the floor.
And then, Sunday afternoon before I even got to treat Reddy to his snowmobile ride across the lake and through the trees to his new home in the forest, I looked out to view the chickadees feeding and... there were two more squirrels, proud as pumpkins in October, perched on the bird feeder, filling their cute, chubby little cheeks full of black oil sunflower seeds... getting ready, no doubt, for a night of celebration in the dance hall beneath the floor of the hideaway.