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Pears, Squirrels, and Woodchucks. Rats!


Until the end of June, everywhere I looked on my pear tree there were pears… and most were in excellent shape. Things changed in July when a squirrel decided to take charge.

What a year for pears! My tree exploded with blossoms after the crazy cold winter and it seems every one of the blossoms produced fruit. I’ve never seen so many pears on the tree in any season.

I’ve tried not to get excited; you never know how a season will turn. Any honest gardener should be willing to acknowledge things go wrong; if you haven’t had a crop fail, you’re still a beginner.

My pear crop is failing

I suppose I’m being unfair to the pear tree to say my pear crop is failing. I’m failing my pear crop. Apparently, the pears are so good that a squirrel has taken charge of them.

We’ve watched that rascally squirrel climb the tree, chew through the stem holding a pear on the tree, drop the pear, run down from the tree, and carry off the pear. I’ve found pears half-buried in mulch in my garden, and I’ve stepped on them in the lawn. The idiot squirrel is hiding them as if to consume them in winter.

I’m so busy catching up on other gardening chores that I haven’t taken time to suss out a squirrel remediation system. Even if I find the time, I’m not sure I have the engineering skills.

Double-teaming varmints

So, my wife and I were eating dinner the other day, and I noticed the squirrel in the pear tree. As we watched, I wondered out loud how long squirrels live and whether they teach their offspring skills they’ve developed. (I wrote about a pear-eating squirrel in 2008; could this be the same critter six years later?)

Stored by squirrel for winter

I’ve stepped on pears that were cleverly half-buried in the lawn, and I’ve uncovered pears tucked under the mulch in my garden. Of course, after a few weeks on the soil, many of the pears are mushy, brown smears. The squirrel must have “hidden” this one within the past few days.

When the squirrel dropped a pear from the tree, my wife stood up (we can’t see the ground under the tree when we’re seated on the porch) and discovered a most disturbing truth: there was a woodchuck under the pear tree and it had acquired the pear! The squirrel and the woodchuck are in cahoots!

Will any pears make it to maturity? Will I harvest enough to make jelly? Will we have even one pear by the time the squirrel and woodchuck are done?

Do you have any varmint stories you’d like to share? Please leave them in comments, or link to them. Thank you for visiting.

Pear-thieving squirrel varmint

I thought the squirrel operated on its own as this photo reveals. My tree has noticeably fewer pears on it. In fact, a distressingly small number remain. I’ll spend time this winter pondering countermeasures to protect next year’s crop.

Pear-thieving woodchuck varmint

This here’s the varmint what steals pears from the squirrel varmint. Clearly the woodchuck is the mastermind and the squirrel is a henchman. Seems that if the squirrel actually ate all the pears it steals, it would quickly grow big enough to be indistinguishable from a woodchuck.


4 Responses to “Pears, Squirrels, and Woodchucks. Rats!”

  • Oh, yeah! I have 2 Granny Smith apple trees that up till this year have never produced fruit. Well this year one of the two was just covered in apples. We were so excited than one morning we look outside and almost all were gone. We have maybe 10 left if lucky. It’s awful the birds pick our Cherry tree clean, now the squirrels are eating the apples.

  • Ha ha. Reminds me of my first golden retriever Abby and our cat Ariel. The two were very close. In fact, when we got Ariel, we had very recently adopted out Abby’s second litter of puppies, and that dog actually nursed kitten Ariel for several weeks. At any rate, Abby spent a great deal of time on her tie out near our front porch that also reached into a stand of oaks. On a few of occasions, I watched Ariel bring a captured chipmunk to tied-up Abby, and together the two would play with the chipmunk for a time until Abby would swallow the tortured critter whole. Once I caught on to the game, I’d stop it if I could get to them in time. Yes, I even have a heart for chipmunks. We lost Abby a few years ago at the ripe old age of 14, so obviously the rodents did her no harm. We still have Ariel, who is 15 now and who caught a large mouse last week, even though she was declawed as a kitten.

  • Haha, that’s a funny story ! Those little thieves will leave you without a crop ! At least they’re cute though, those little masterminds. Although you can’t blame them, for your pears look delicious ! You could try and buy a dog or something to stand guard.

  • Daniel Gasteiger:

    Theresa: Stupid rodents! I feel for you.

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