Sunday, September 16, 2012

Pesky Varmints

I like to think that I've always enjoyed nature, and after living most of my life in the more arid western part of the United States, I have been absolutely delighted with the abundant vegetation found here in northern Virginia.  The colors in spring and autumn are so vibrant, so lush, it's simply amazing and I have loved it.

The downside of said flora, however, is the accompanying fauna.  And I'm not talking about the typical stuff we've dealt with everywhere we've lived--ants, spiders and geckos, and house mice.  We even had a rat get into our home in California.  That stuff's normal.

What I'm talking about critters that I never saw in the wilds of suburban Salt Lake Valley.  Apparently Virginia is the squirrel equivalent of Florida, because they are everywhere.  Our first year here we had a very persistent raccoon that took undue pleasure in tipping our trash can over and spreading rubbish over the back yard.  Every night.  EVERY NIGHT.  One Saturday afternoon I was taking out the trash and there it was, ready to demonstrate it's well-honed trash-can-tipping technique.

Then there were the two separate occasions when chipmunks got into our house.  We were able to chase one of them out, we never did find the other one.  My kids tell me a snake lives under the neighbor's concrete stoop--oddly enough, he says he doesn't appear to have any problems with chipmunks...

So anyway, this past spring after I got back from my trip to Thailand, I noticed there was a big hole on the backside of my garbage can.

Those holes are special-order.
I thought maybe someone had cut it with a saw (yes, I suspected my children), but then I looked at the ground near the garbage can and saw a lot of shavings, which leads me to believe that some stinkin' varmint chewed a hole in garbage can!  As if the one hole wasn't enough, I noticed while taking the garbage out today that there's another hole, as seen in the picture above.  And I know this one's new, because it wasn't there on Friday when I took the trash out.

Messing with my rubbish bin apparently wasn't enough, though.  Mali hosted a party last night, and I got the barbeque grill out so that they could cook some meat.  I noticed a small hole in the grill cover.

Yup, that's a varmint-chewed hole!
My initial thought was that the cover itself was of lesser quality and and somehow torn when I moved the barbeque.  But then I opened up the grill and pulled out the trap under the burners--you know the spot where all the grease and the occasional burger patty fall.  The grease trap itself was clean.  I mean clean as in completely dry, not a drop of grease to be found.  The larger trap itself was also clean, as were the shields that cover the burners themselves.  My initial thought was that I had gone out one night in my sleep and cleaned my grill.

Except for a few telltale droppings I probably would never have figured it out.  So, whatever varmint was responsible, I'd like to first of all say thank you for cleaning off my grill.  But next time, please don't chew a hole in the cover, just ask and I'll let you have a go.

Lest I go all Yosemite Sam on your furry little carcass.


  1. When we lived in VA, a squirrel ate my bike seat. Chewed it right off. Darn tree rats.

  2. Wow! Can't say I have that problem here. Good luck in your quest to protect your rubbish (we call it garbage in Utah :) and grill grease.