Squirrel vs Pole, Part IV

Last week got away from me. There was school to prepare for, a train trip to get a certain young fellow ready for, Sir Boxnoggin to finish settling into the household, and and and. I think I’ve finally recovered from Afterwar and a long, almost fruitless wait for a publisher to get their kittens and ducks in a row. So the epic fantasy is a go now, I can continue working on revisions, and the portal fantasy’s going to have to wait.

But I was telling you about the bird feeder pole, wasn’t I.

When last we spoke, Preggers McGee had whomped Batgirl and stuffed herself with birdseed. The remaining contents of both feeders was scattered all over the deck, and I was a trifle peeved.1 But I’d come across a strange idea on the internet many moons previously, and that brainwave can be described in one word.


That’s right. Vegetable lard. The baseform of Twinkie cream. One of the less ideal but still workable ways to get your mohawk to stand up in cold weather. Good old fry-your-chicken-in-vegetarian-grease.

“Mum?” The Princess knows that when I begin to look determined, something epic or hilarious (or both) is afoot. “What are you thinking?”

“Crisco,” I said, grimly. “I hear if you grease the pole, squirrels may not be able to climb it.”

“They might just consider it a sauce,” the Little Prince pointed out. “Like the hot-sauce birdseed.”

“Well, it’s biodegradable.” I’m not sure why I chose that as my defense, but I was on a mission. I grabbed a pad of paper towels, slathered a hunk of veggie lard onto it, and stepped out into the scorching heat.

Miss B, of course, had to come with me. Besides, it was after dinner, and she had unloading and prancing to do. Sir Boxnoggin had not yet graced us with his presence, but I’m sure he would have wanted to investigate whatever fascinating thing I was doing with something from the kitchen cabinets–i.e., food.

And I greased that fucking bird feeder pole.

Now, the blessed thing is metal, and it had been an above-90F day, so there was dripping involved. But I marinated the fucker. I greased the arches, the loops where plant-pots were supposed to go (the squirrels had put paid to that particular decoration choice) I even left a glob on top of the central pole so it would melt and slide down. Miss B sniffed, but she didn’t try a single lick.

She knows better. And she had business of her own to attend to in the backyard, once she figured out I wasn’t adding anything snackable to the lower portions of the pole.

Because, you see, I was just annoyed enough to leave the bottom half of the damn thing ungreased, just to draw the little bastards in. Not very sporting of me, I know, but the goddamn arboreal rats never play fair themselves. It was time to get a little of my own back.

Anyway, I got back into the air conditioning, heaved a sigh of relief, tossed the greasy wad of paper towel, and turned to find both children staring at me.


“Are you sure this is a good idea?” The Princess looked uncharacteristically worried.

“No,” I said. “But I’m pretty sure of one thing.”

That perked the Prince’s ears all the way to the top of his fuzzy head. “What?”

“It’s going to be funny.”

That cracked both of them up pretty good, and Miss B came prancing back up to get inside. Dinner was over, the trap was laid, and the squirrels weren’t going to be back until the next day.

At least, that was the plan.


  1. I might even have described my mood as vexed.