Sunday, March 03, 2013

Squirrel Wins

I've just been reading in G. K. Chesterton's Charles Dickens the Last of the Great Men. One of the points Chesterton makes is about the equality of men in dignity and humor.
“There are two things in which all men are manifestly unmistakably equal. They are not equally clever or equally muscular or equally fat, as the sages of the modern reaction (with piercing insight) perceive. But this is a spiritual certainty, that all men are tragic. And this, again, is an equally sublime spiritual certainty, that all men are comic. No special and private sorrow can be so dreadful as the fact of having to die. And no freak or deformity can be so funny as the mere fact of having two legs. Every man is important if he loses his life; and every man is funny if he loses his hat, and has to run after it.” (p. 175)
I was reminded of the truth of this in the past week. Friday afternoon I pulled into the post office mailbox drop off lane, and a car was ahead of me. They space the boxes so that you have to either drive very close to the box or have very long arms. The poor man in front of me got only one of his three letters in the slot. The other two fell to the ground. He had to unbuckle his seat belt and squeeze out to pick up the two letters that had dropped. In the process one of them slid down off the curb under the car. Fortunately not so far as to be unreachable. But still, another effort to stoop, pick it up particularly and deposit it in the slot. I was in the car behind groaning with him and chuckling all the while. Been there, done that. Part of the humor of being human

The other bit of humor comes in an ongoing battle I have had this week with a squirrel who is eating the bird suet while the birds wait for him to finish. He could reach it by leaning out from the tree trunk and grabbing it. (see photo 1) So, I, with my highly trained master's degree brain, moved it over on the branch.

First he tried to reach it as before. (see photo 2) But, seeing that would not work, he, with his highly trained squirrel brain, climbed out on the branch, down the hanging hook (photo 3) and flipped it to the ground. Then he ate from it, though that was not so easy because it was already about 3/4ths eaten, and when he would tip it up to get at it, gravity would make it fall to the inaccessible bottom. But, he finally got a reasonable sized piece. (photo 4)

I then tried more secure hanging mechanisms. He was more determined and took the effort to get around them. I had to laugh at how ridiculous the contest was. I certainly felt as funny looking as any man chasing his hat even though no one was looking on and chuckling--except God. In the end I moved it back to its original position so it would be easier for him to eat, and I wouldn't have to be constantly going out and picking it up off the grass.

Squirrel 1 as T. D. pleads no contest.


MAX Redline said...

Ah, fell for the old squirrel vs. man gambit, eh? Pity, though often humorous. I have a squirrel feeder (a one-gallon jar) located well away from the bird feeders. Those are likewise located away from any climbing structures.

At one point I had tried greasing the pole from which the bird feeders hang, but this is of course a complete waste of time. Eventually, I hit upon placing a 3' section of pvc pipe around the pole, securing it near the feeders with a twist of spring-wire. I drilled a hole through the upper part of the pipe, and ran a small cable to a pulley attached to a nearby tree, and thence to a small weight.

It actually provided a great deal of entertainment, as the squirrel climbed up and then hit the pvc pipe. The added weight bent the spring, causing pipe - and squirrel - to move rapidly in a downward direction, away from the feeders.

As the squirrel fell off the pipe, the counterweight caused it to re-ascend. Eventually, the squirrel sought easier pickings. It was fun while it lasted....

T. D. said...

Heh. Max, you are so fun! I was going to figure a way to secure the chain to the S-hanging rod, but it seemed a bit too Yosemite Sam.

A squirrel feeder is a good idea. Since I do like the little guys.

MAX Redline said...

My father-in-law built a platform with an upright "U" at one end and an upright piece of wood with a hole cut large enough to accommodate the mouth of a gallon glass jar. Just lay the jar on its side and stick the mouth into the hole. Easy. No rolling; both squirrels and the occasional jay find their ways into the thing - and the glass allows for great visibility and protection from rain/wind.

Not as much fun as watching the squirrel on the pvc pipe, but hey.

T. D. said...

Sounds great! Thanks for the tip, Max.