Don’t tell me that chipmunks are cute.
They are totally irritating to me. There’s nothing cute about them. They’ve robbed me of my greatest summer pleasure, growing a vegetable garden. Those little thieves destroy the vegetables just at the moment they’re ripe, taking one bite and leaving the leftovers for me to fantasize and dream about.
And they burrow holes all over the property, causing the ground to collapse in the lawn. If anyone steps on an area of grass hiding an underground tunnel they could trip, fall, and imagine they’re in a Viet Cong tunnel dug somewhere near Hanoi.
Chipmunks relocate wood chips and garden mulch from under trees and shrubs to their preferred spots in mid-driveway. They create the peacetime equivalent of a deadly road bomb.
I wish there were some way to get rid of those little beasts, I complain to myself, as I think about planting a vegetable garden this summer. I have diabolical, even murderous thoughts towards them.
I see large birds flying overhead and wonder: “Do turkey hawks eat chipmunks? Why don’t they swoop down and grab and gobble a few?”
I decide to try a new system to deter the creatures from eating my plants: bird netting. The kind of netting used to protect berries and grapes from birds’ marauding.
I plant one single tomato plant, “Sweet 100,” in a large container and wrap the container with bird netting. Now let’s see who will outsmart whom.
Yesterday afternoon I hear my husband shriek “Come out here right away.” I rush outside, and there, near my “Sweet 100”, was my husband with a pathetic sight. He held a chipmunk that he had cut free from the netting around the Sweet 100, wrapped in bird netting. It had been trying to climb up and fetch an afternoon snack when it got hopelessly tangled. The animal was completely immobilized. “Grab some gardening gloves and help me,” he said. The poor chipmunk was frozen with fear and unable to move a whisker (do chipmunks have whiskers?).
I held him still, while my husband cut the netting from all around his body. The last batch was under his neck, choking him. That too was carefully snipped away. The animal, now free, quickly ran off to hide and recover under some blue hydrangeas.
As a reward for our good deed, we are blessed with a “rescue” chipmunk this summer, aiding and abetting his cohorts in the destruction our garden.
So now instead of growing my own vegetables I support the local farmers and buy our fresh produce at the farmers’ market. I wonder what they do with THEIR chipmunks?
Comments on: "ADORABLE CHIPMUNKS???" (12)
There seems to be more and more critters in my garden every year. I think they invite not only their family and relatives but also their friends. I have my eggplants sproting knee-hi’s but have not yet found a method to protect my sweet potatoes and other root vegs.
Don’t get me started!
We used to feed wild birds in Maine. Need I say more? We were actually feeding chipmunks – not so bad compared with RED SQUIRRELS! They were by far the worst. Then the bears would come by occasionally and wipe all the feeders out by grabbing them and dragging them down to eat.
Still, I love nature and all her beasts and critters. I think we humans are probably the peskiest of all! 😉
What a great story. Oh those little wiley rascals! I thought it was so funny that you are hoping that perhaps the birds will . . . well never mind. Your decision to support your local farmers is a sound one. We’ve got crows and squirrels to contend with around these parts. I put my vacuum cleaner filter on the deck to dry out (I actually washed it in a burst of Martha Stewart-ism) and was stolen by a squirrel. If you happen to see a squirrel passing by carrying a vacuum cleaner filter . . call me. 😀
Perhaps you might like a nice chipmunk . . .stew.
OK: please send me the recipe that you use for your family.
I have family with roots in Louisiana. I wouldn’t be surprised if they did have a recipe.
IT has been said: “He who saves one life is like one who saves the world”(paraphrased of course)
Ronnie and I should take consolation, that although we have lost a few Tomato 100s, and live in a Chipmunk War Zone, we have contributed in some small way to saving our world.
You could try spreading hot chili peppers and extra hot tabasco on your plants to trick the chipmunks into thinking your plants are fowl tasting and unattractive. If it doesn’t work, at least on an intellectual scale you will have a higher class of chipmunk.
We considered putting big nets over the cherry trees (we have two), but birds are smarter than we are. They’d find a way in, and I’d break my neck trying to get the nets back down in the fall. The slugs are devouring the basil, too. I hate when animals eat each other, but the vegetarians aren’t much better.
You don’t think the farmers’ market is breeding chipmunks, do you?
Chipmunks and groundhogs are precisely why I have a flower garden and not a vegetable garden. I too tried the netting over a potted tomato plant. When my cat started meowing at the back window I went to see what was upsetting him. There sat a groundhog on his hind legs carefully weaving his paws through the netting to extract the cherry tomaotes. I surrendered after that.
I only ever thought of chipmunks as cartoon characters, the same with skunks. From the sound of it the animated version is undoubtedly better than the real thing. Commiserations.
Ronnie, I absolutely adore both you and your husband. I confess: I love chipmunks. We don’t have them here in the south.
I’m sorry the chipmunks are treating your vegetable patch as their personal buffet. But I’m oh so happy that you and your husband rescued the little critter. Very sweet.
Bless you both.