Big, small, fat, skinny.
Squirrels of all shapes and sizes are stealing what few nuts we have left from the February frost. Meanwhile, a whole family of moles is hard at work destroying my front yard and tunneling to downtown Corning and possibly even China.
We have tried everything. From the Caddyshack blasting device to smoke bombs, flooding their houses with water, setting live traps and hunting them down with dogs.
My morning and evening ritual this summer begins with a walk in the orchard with our dogs who are slowly becoming master squirrel killers. The only problem is that for every dead squirrel, three more show up at his funeral.
I hate rodents of all kinds, but I especially hate squirrels this time of year. They are good at finding a water source by chewing on drip lines and gnawing through plastic sprinkler pipes. If anyone has mastered the art of becoming a free gopher, mole, and squirrel, email me some tips.
New York’s daughter is no stranger to an occasional chipmunk in her apartment. I once observed these annoying guys spying on us from the fire escape during a summer visit. As I left, the girl in the movie discovered pecans hidden in the soil of a potted houseplant she kept on her open window sill.
After several weeks of squirrel surveillance, he discovered that his neighbor was a real-life squirrel Instagram influencer.
What is that you ask? Well, it’s someone who becomes famous on Instagram for squirrel content, of course.
After following the Squirrel Summit Instagram account, it’s pretty clear that these pesky rodents are loved by many. Take Otis, for example. A gofund.me account for this squirrel’s medical care has already raised $2,475 of its $3,000 goal.
Who spends $3,000 to fix a squirrel? They are clearly not people trying to grow nuts for a living. More than 60 donors contributed the funds to help Otis get back on his feet. However, not everything was roses for the owner of it. Someone complained to higher-ups at gofund.me and temporarily blocked Otis’s account. I promise, it wasn’t me.
Because I’d rather talk about squirrels than Roe v. Wade, here’s a short list (compiled by the National Wildlife Federation) of unusual squirrel facts that will hopefully make everyone despise these pesky creatures:
1. Squirrels’ front teeth never stop growing. The word rodent is derived from the Latin word rodere, which means to gnaw.
2. Squirrels can find food buried under a foot of snow.
3. They zigzag to escape predators. This strategy works well for escaping our dogs but not as effective when it comes to crossing South Avenue, thankfully.
4. Humans introduced squirrels to most major city parks. Believe it or not, urban reformers wanted to reimagine great cities like New York, so they brought in squirrels for their country charm. This was definitely a good idea gone wrong, IMHO.
A legend of Red Bluff and the rodeo world died last week. At 93, Cotton Rosser was alive and present to see his own alma mater dedicate his new rodeo grounds in his honor. We were lucky enough to attend the grand opening of the Cotton Rosser Rodeo Complex at Cal Poly, along with Bert and Anne Owens from Red Bluff, and probably other locals in attendance.
I subscribed to the Cowboy Channel (finally) to watch Red Bluff’s Jack Kerr and his teammate, Jordyn Staley, compete in the Junior Rodeo National Finals representing California last week. Great job to these two local kids for representing us so well.
The Cowboy Channel also broadcast the Reno Rodeo and featured Cotton Rosser’s mare being led around the arena, riderless, by her own son. It was hard to hear Bob Tallman hold back tears as he introduced the impact the King of Cowboys had on the rodeo world.
Fly high, Cotton. And thanks for the wonderful memories.
Shanna Long is a fourth-generation journalist and former editor of the Corning Daily Observer. She and her husband reside in Corning and grow almonds, walnuts, and prunes. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org, instagram @sjolong.