Monday, October 13, 2008

Squirreling Away


I’ve been so busy this past week taking care of my horses’ feet that I’ve hardly noticed anything else around here. Silk is stoic about wearing the rubber medicine boot. Siete lets me put the soft boots on her back feet without anyone else holding her or helping me. I just keep doing what I need to do religiously so that they will heal and get feet as hard or even harder than all those rocks.

So, when I staggered out to the tack room in the dark this morning to get the feed, I found a surprise. We have a family of red squirrels living in the old beech tree on our patio. Apparently, they decided that the tack room, which is under the porch, would be a perfect pantry for the winter. I hang the horse blankets from hooks in the ceiling. The entire wall behind them is piled knee high with chestnuts. One of the red babies was snuggled up in the corner, guarding the goodies. We both jumped when I stepped into the darkness and turned on the light. I tried to get a picture of my little buddy, but those guys are fast.

I don’t want the squirrels to decide to taste the horse blankets after they get tired of eating chestnuts. What do you think? I hate to disturb all that hard work. Maybe I’ll just move the blankets to the other wall and “squirrel proof” the tack room, if that’s possible.

12 comments:

The Mane Point said...

Gorgeous horse.

I know the feeling . . . as a horse-keeper. 8-)

Blessings,
Linda
The Mane Point

Guess the Breed, at The Mane Point

the7msn said...

I'm thinkin' squirrel-proofing is right up there with packrat-proofing on the futility list.

Sounds like you and the girls are all in your hoof groove. Is removing all the rocks from their turn-out an option? Or hiring a troop of boy scouts to do it for you? Or bringing in dirt to cover them up? If I lived closer, I'd come over right now with my rake.

Cactus Jack Splash said...

I think I would move the horse blankets, or you could feed your new little bunk mates.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Hmm. I guess that's your call. They can be destructive little buggers though. Last winter I found quite a lot of nuts piled in a corner in the garage but never actually saw the culprits. To their credit they didn't do any damage though. Then again I didn't have any blankets or tasty chewables in there to tempt them.
Hope the girls feet are coming along nicely.

billie said...

We use big plastic bins (the clear ones) to store our clean blankets. I pack them with lavender buds. Once we get them out for the winter season, they usually hang in the barn aisle on rods.

I've started keeping our saddle pads in the laundry room - stacked and folded w/in easy reach so we can grab one as we go out to ride.

I used to keep them in the tack room but found a mouse trying to nest in between the layers of the pads! (and this with FIVE cats!)

I love the image of squirrels putting their winter treasure in your tack room, but I too would worry about them using the blankets as nesting material. I wonder if you make them a dry space outside the tack room for their nut storage if they would use it?

LJB said...

My first line of action with uninvited wildlife is to ask them to find a new home. My second line of action is to trap them and relocate them. Yesterday we relocated our 10th skunk in less than a year. This one was particularly gorgeous with long haired very wide white stripe with a small black triangle on his/her lower back. I love these animals but do not want to share local resources with them (bird food, cat food, and fresh eggs).

enlightenedhorsemanship said...

Gosh as long as they don't carry disease that's dangerous to horses like possums do, why not allow them to stay after squirrel-proofing the blankets?
Live and let live....

smellshorsey said...

They are cute -- but they belong outdoors. I know mice can cause fires by damaging wiring -- I'd be worried about the same with squirrels.

I'd try to relocate them and squirrel proof. No idea how, but that's my two cents.

Esther said...

Though call! I have no idea what I would do... Probably leave the little ones as I am too soft to remove them... :-)

cingspots said...

Hi Victoria,
I'm a first-time commentor here, but I've visited a few times. Let me first say that your girls are absolutely beautiful! I'm so thankful that they have you to care for them. Gosh, I'm so sorry that you've had so many trials lately. Sometimes it seems as though everything comes in windfalls and surely we're being punished for something! It sounds like you are persevering - abscesses can be such a royal pain, to say the least. In your sugar paste, make sure that you use only Betadine solution or equivalent - NOT 7% or Tincture of Iodine. The straight iodine acts as a hardener and if you use it before there is complete drainage of the infection, you are likely to delay healing by hardening the exterior of the hoof sole. Use iodine as a sole hardener only after drainage is complete and your horse is completely sound and the hole has filled in with new growth.

I'm sorry that you're so frustrated with your mother - I remember what that's like. Be patient and loving with her and explain why some things are unacceptable behavior (like treats at inappropriate times). If she understands that you're not just being a "control freak", she's likely to be much more understanding and compliant with your requests. Remember, you'll miss her when she's gone. You don't want to have things to feel guilty about later on in life. I am sorry to say that I learned this lesson the hard way.

And, lastly the squirrels - I had to chuckle over that one. I commiserate with your dilemma. They are sooo cute, and they've done so much hard work; but, they are rodents who could do some serious damage to your equipment and more importantly, possibly inflict disease or infection if they bite you or one of your lovely girls. Just something to think about...

Bill Evertson said...

I've been in my own world and not blogging for awhile, but now that I'm trying to catch up I realize I've missed so much. It seems that you've been through some trials. Sometimes it seems that you are a juggler that keeps being thrown another ball to keep in the air. More power to you and the hopes that you can retire a ball or two in the near future.

Callie said...

Good Gosh! All I could think of after reading this was the movie, Christmas Vacation! And the scene where the squirrel has taken over the house. I practically pee my pants everytime I watch that!