The sunflower seeds are now the same color as the Cardinal on the bag. Google and chat rooms have told me birds can neither smell nor taste this stuff. Sounds right to me -- on a diet of worms, I'm not sure I would want those senses to be highly evolved either.

Up goes the bird feeder with red seed. For good measure, I sprinkle the entire branch leading to the tree with the one leftover emergency can.

Birch trees look good in red.

Back on the deck, crouched behind the Char-Broil grill, I wait. Let the sneezing begin.

A tap on the window. My wife is pointing toward the white and red birch. Peering around the propane tank, I watch three bounding squirrels approach.

Knowing I've beaten the rodents with the business part of a burrito, I look back at my wife, proud hunter I am. She's laughing.

Not good.

One squirrel is on the branch, two are hanging from the feeder. Not a sneeze to be heard.

To my horror, squirrels like it hot.

SQUIRREL DEFENSE FUND: $45.98 (add 12 cans of pepper)
ADVANCED SEARCH 2: Same as before minus pepper, spicy, burn, sneeze.

Up comes ... soap.

I'm thinking, great, now I've got to wash them. I read on.

People, who actually use the word varmint in a sentence, say soap works. Slivers of it.

From what I'm reading, squirrels think we stink. Especially so when we put on the soap that's supposed to make us NOT stink. Dial will do it for my squirrel problem.

The family is asleep. I make bathroom raids.


Unfortunately, we must not stink too much. Every bar of soap is brand new. Not a sliver in sight. Sneaking back into my wife's bathroom, I see, in all its pink glory, a half-filled bottle of Estee Lauder BEAUTIFUL bath lotion.

Lotion ... soap ... same thing. And it has an easy pour spout.

Down the stairs, out the door, to the bird feeder. At dawn, I walk around the tree, using the easy pour spout to make a big, smelly circle of BEAUTIFUL. I rub some on the branch; the cayenne pepper helps it stick.

Back on the deck, I wait. In time, bearing coffee and the morning paper, my wife joins me. Leaving out some of the key details, I tell her that the squirrels are mine.

And here they come. Four today. Bounding toward what must be a circle of stink to them.

And right through it. Two up the tree, two running around on the ground. Four very sexy-sexy smelling Estee Lauder squirrels eating my bird seed.

SQUIRREL DEFENSE FUND: $90.98 (add in $45 replacement bottle of wife's favorite shower lotion)
ADVANCED SEARCH: Same as above minus Eau de, perfume, Macy's.

Duh ... put something between them, the tree, and the food. Block the squirrel-through lane.

This I get. "Barb, I need your Home Depot card."

An hour later, I'm back with a huge, gray, plastic dome-like thing that conveniently fits between the squirrels and their dinner. And it's guaranteed to keep them hungry.

Since this is serious, I skim the directions. This goes here, that goes there, and the squirrels go flying off. Breaking only one key plastic part, I mount it above the bird feeder. I'm so sure it'll work, I even add a little seed. Come and get it, squirrel boys.

Back on the deck, smelling of peppery perfume, I wait.

And for not long.

Two squirrels up, one squirrel down. I get the sinking feeling they've seen this before. The squirrels are now triple-teaming me.

Suddenly, the dome tips, left, right, big dip, and then, sliding down the squirrel-proof dome, comes a squirrel.

One paw grabs the squirrel-proof feeder cage, swings around, and the squirrel clamps on with all four legs. Hanging upside down, he starts dishing out the seed.

I need a bigger baffle.

And it's sitting on my neighbor's front yard -- a big, plastic, replacement-window home remodeling sign. Hey the windows are in, they don't need the sign.

And even better, they're at the Cape.

So in my best, neighborly head-down-scanning-the-lawn-for-dog-poop walk, I walk over, lean on the sign, look, rest, and then calmly walk away with the home improvement sign in my hand. Slick.

In my backyard, I stick a screwdriver through it, and then hang it over the squirrel-proof dome, which hangs over the squirrel-proof bird feeder.



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