Rhymes With Fuchsia

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Have you ever bought a guaranteed squirrel-proof bird feeder? How long did it take the squirrels to hack it? When I was a kid we had one on a pole, with a perch surrounding a food tray on a spring. There was a hood over the food, and if anything too heavy sat on the perch, the hood came down and covered the food, so that the marauding squirrel or crow or whatever couldn't get at it. This worked very well for several weeks, and we delighted in watching the squirrels come, get frustrated, and leave again — until one day we looked out the window and saw a perched squirrel, shoveling sunflower seeds with one front paw while holding the hood up with the other. I wish I had a picture.

Last spring Taz took to pulling his feeding tube out at the slightest opportunity. In addition to causing me to skip MASW in favor of tracking down a backup tube over a holiday weekend, this habit had us tearing our hair out all summer as we tried to find some way of keeping him away from the tube, meanwhile going through a lot more replacement tubes than the insurance company thought any human being could possibly need. After much experimenting we finally foiled him with an abdominal binder such as one would normally wear for strained ribs or the like (we call it his corset), covered by a bodysuit, covered by shirt and pants. This worked for a few weeks, but he got around it eventually, so we added four socks on his one usable hand so he couldn't get a purchase on the tube. That did the trick (and just in time, too, as I had been in danger of missing Rhinebeck).

But you know how squirrels are. No matter what clever gizmo you come up with, it takes them only so long to circumvent it, and then you have to upgrade.

Behold my latest gizmo-in-progress:

This mitt (it needs to be at least six inches longer) will go on over the socks, with luck being bulky enough to neutralize his improved dexterity.

We'll see how long it takes him to solve this one.


  • Sounds like you and Taz have been having some challenges. I'd guessing he's as frustrated as you and Grant, huh? I hope the blue mitt helps make things a bit better.

    By Blogger Danielle, at 9:46 PM  

  • That's a great analog for the situation but it must be so frustrating for all of you. I hope this helps.

    By Blogger Carole Knits, at 9:50 PM  

  • Taz is not lacking at all in the tenacity or cleverness department, and neither are you :)

    Here's hoping those mitts work out.

    By Blogger textilejunkie, at 12:27 AM  

  • I give him a couple of weeks ;-) I resorted to just keeping a bag of peanuts on hand and the squirrels take them right out of my hand now.

    By Blogger Carol, at 7:18 AM  

  • I was once told the story of a squirrel that would leap from a three-story building in order to (it hoped) land on a feeder.

    When you're determined, you're determined!

    By Blogger Alwen, at 9:28 AM  

  • Ahh... my devil strikes again! Hmmm... sounds like you have 2 weeks max until the blue mitt isn't enough. did his PT offer any solutions??

    By Blogger Mini, at 11:09 AM  

  • Could you perhaps duct tape an oven mitt onto the cuff of his shirt? Is the feeding tube that uncomnfortable, or is he bored? Is there something else he could get to that would be as much fun as pulling out that feeding tube? Some appealing, harmless trinket that could be wrapped up in front of him so he would know it was there, and then he could have the fun of unwrapping.

    I'm just hoping that the blue mitt gizmo does it for you. Good thing Taz's mom is more determined and stubborn than he is!

    By Blogger Roxie, at 11:35 AM  

  • Is there a reason why he's pulling out the tube? Is it uncomfortable, or does he just have the natural, very human urge to fidget? Anyway, my money's on you for determination and orneriness, I mean ingenuity. ;-)

    By Anonymous Beth S., at 11:57 AM  

  • hokey smokes! Yeah, I wonder if pulling some other tubey things might be more fun... maybe pulling on the feeding tube makes an unpleasant racket or sprays an unpleasant smell where pulling on something else causes something pleasant to happen?

    By Blogger knitnzu, at 9:01 PM  

  • I wish I had some magic for you. Ever increasing complexity might be the key.

    By Anonymous Laurie, at 6:37 PM  

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