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Sleep - Donna Everhart

Donna Everhart


Early to bed, early to rise, that’s how I operate best.  If I lose any sleep, even a couple hours, I can feel it.  I spend the day yawning, out of sorts, and though I might get everything done I’d planned on, my typical energy levels lag behind having a hard time catching up.

And I’ve lost sleep the last few nights.

Because of this:


Yeah.  Him.  Or her.  Well, not exactly him/her, but one in my yard.  I mean look at that.  That casual position of ownership.  The smirky look as if to say, “What?  You think you own that house?  The one right there which I’m sure was built as part of my pathway to the other side where I can launch myself into a tree, going branch to branch thereby escaping all your silly shots at me with the water hose?  Pfft.  What were you thinking?”

I don’t mind squirrels.  I swear.  I’ve fed them all through the spring and summer.  I’ve let them gobble up the seed I’d bought for the birds, without one bit of resentment.  The only time I get irked with the little suckers is when they TEAR SH** UP.  Or INVADE my home.  (am I yelling?  Sorry)

The other night I go upstairs to shower and, by George, what’s that noise?  I pause, hold my breath, cock my head and listen.  Scritch, scritch, crunch, crunch, scratch, scratch.  I could actually feel myself go hot.  Squirrels in the attic is one thing – how about squirrels IN THE WALLS?  (there I go again)

When I report this latest finding to my husband, he says “I counted five dining on your birdseed the other day.”

Me, “Hmph.”

He continues, “The pecan trees attract them, and you feeding them doesn’t help.”

I’ve lost sleep.  I’m feeling like a cranky two year old.

I say, “I’m not feeding them.”

He replies, “Okay, but, they need thinning out.”

Thinning out?  You mean kill them?  Isn’t that against the law?

He was right.

There we are.  Harnett County.  Geez, eight a day???

Last night, here we go again.  Same noises, louder, waking us up as usual at 3:00 a.m.  We get up and do what we’ve been doing.  Go across the hall to “The Room The Squirrels Own,” and hammer fists on the walls, the door frame, jump up and down in the middle of the room.  Imagine how conducive that is to falling back asleep.

Maybe we could try to trap them.  Some neighbors down the road said they’d trapped the ones getting into their tomatoes.  Hauled them little ba****ds right on down the road and let them out in the country.

Funny how you can forget.  I reminded my husband they were in the house last year.  I woke up one night in early Spring to the sound of a pecan rolling across the bedroom floor.  We got up, flipped on the light and he/she froze in place – a youngster, but IN THE HOUSE.  WE made like the squirrel ourselves and froze.  I want you to know, it did that funny head bob thing, checking us out, then it took the time to pick up the pecan before it ran back the way it had come, *poof* down through the hole for plumbing in the bathroom we’re renovating – like a rabbit disappearing down a hole.  We blocked the area, the weather turned warm – problem solved.


Now they have come back, and are finding it oh so much fun to be in the walls.  All I can think is what if they chew through wiring creating an expensive repair – or worse?

Our electrician said, “You don’t want to come home one day and find your house burnt up.”

Gee.  Thanks for that visual.  But, no we don’t, and he’s right.

So, I don’t know what we’re going to do, and none of the answers seem simple.  Trapping means pulling furniture out of the way in the upstairs hall, pulling down the ladder from the attic, climbing up, setting a trap, closing it all back up, and then re-doing all of that to check it every day.  My husband’s solution makes me feel like I’ve set them up for slaughter.

Meanwhile, I’m t.i.r.e.d. and with the new WIP needing my full attention, and the holidays coming, I really don’t need tired.  I’ll be weary enough from all that.

Have you ever had this problem, and if so, what in the world did you do?



18 thoughts on “Sleep”

  1. Between my floods and your squirrels, we have some (potential) mess! My husband is after the chipmunks, certain they’ll dig into all the work we’ve done to keep the water away from the house. There’s a trap out there and I’m afraid to ever look at it.

    Our neighbor’s TV system recently stopped working. The repairman discovered mice living in the wall. They’d been hauling dog food in there, kibble by kibble, and chewed through the wiring. Nothing big happened, just the need for new wires. We live with all the little creatures, and they live with us.

    1. I was getting ready to read your post, but I’m almost afraid to!

      I know what you mean about being afraid to look at the trap. Honestly, we’re not sure it’s squirrels but we’ve seen no signs of mice/rats/anything else that can get in – and it sounds bigger than that. Of course, anything being where it shouldn’t be sounds bigger, and even LOOKS bigger.

      That little creatures sentence is so right…should I also mention the snake that popped its head out of our column base the other day? While I was standing within six inches, talking on the phone?

  2. The things you doggie people have to put up with. Sell out and get a cat or two. You won’t have to worry about squirrels in the house any more.

    If you don’t wish to waste birdseed on them you can either put a baffle on the feeder or use white safflower. Squirrels and grackles don’t like white safflower seed. The cardinals, blue jays, chickadees and titmice do like it though.

    After they have gone away get onto the roof and fix the holes they are coming in.

    If you are like me then you will not have to buy a pet again. When you are a cat person they find you. Which leads around to why I am tired.

    A new kitty decided it wanted to be our cat so we adopted each other. I now have a cute black and white alarm clock. When the Itsy kitty decides I have slept enough she chews on my toes.

    1. I used to have cats, but they tend to act crazier than squirrels – although years ago I had a very sweet guy named Jax.

      I have a “squirrel proof” feeder, but of course that’s pure silly of me since I scatter seed for the doves. 🙂

      What should I expect right? That’s like setting out a buffet and ringing the dinner bell for all to come and help themselves – definitely like inviting destruction to come on in and do whatever.

      And see? “New kitty” showed up for you. (black and white – that was Jax) Now YOU’RE tired and have sore toes.

  3. Oh Donna- I feel your pain! I live in a 108 year old house- as I know you reside in a lovely older home too. We have a fireplace in every room. Last spring I heard loud squeals coming from the downstairs library/office. There was a young squirrel behind the fireplace screen. I managed to get him out the side door. I had mice in my walls as well- concerned about them chewing the wiring as you are. Finally- birds have a fondness for nesting for nesting in my dryer hose. Finally had the vent screened off…….they say if your home is a ‘safe place’ critters will want to be there too.

    1. Oh my gosh, there must be something about the old houses – maybe they’re easier to get into? IDK. Last night – no noises of chewing/running around. I told Blaine it was going to be mild overnight and I didn’t expect to hear them, but just wait till this weekend. AT least I got a good nights sleep, finally!

  4. No squirrels in the attic (not so for my neighbors though), but we have trapped bunnies in the yard and hauled them off to the big county park.

    You might try setting up some traps outside the house. Easier to maintain, and if you thin the general herd, maybe that will include some of your homies.

    1. Homies – totally cracked me up!

      That’s a great idea. I suppose we thought we’d have to put it in the attic to get the “right ones” but honestly? What were we thinking? (maybe not thinking – sleep deprivation does that)

      I like the idea. Set it up outside and haul them off as we get them.

  5. Never had a squirrel (not many to be found in these parts *wink*), but have had possums and rats. Possums are nocturnal, so they’re easy. Find their way in and then during the night (while they’re out painting the town) close it off.

    Rats, on the other hand… ugh. We had them on occasion at our old place. They got into the walls and all you could hear was the gnawing. Yes, they chew through wires. Usually throws a fuse so no power. But the plus side is dead rat… until a putrid stink billows through the place. Rat bait’s no good for the same reason.

    Sounds like squirrels are active day and night so that’s a challenge.

    Good luck, Donna.

    1. Oh, my word, we’ve had our share of the possum problem. Just like you said, wait till night when they’re off and block it off. So we had the problem but it was a lot easier to solve for sure!

      We thought of the poisoned bait too, and quickly vetoed the idea b/c of what you said – THE STINK. Blech.

      I like what Paul said above…trapping them in the yard in general. They’re smart though. Subject to have the others observe the “horror” of having one or two captured and they won’t come near the thing. Then again, maybe I’m giving them too much credit b/c at this point, they rule the joint. Ha!

  6. Your responses sounded a bit frazzled. You probably think that your house is sealed up tight and are wondering how the little suckers got in. The two most overlooked places to look are:

    1) If you bathroom fart fan is vented under the eave it make an easy access point. If you have one cover it with i/8 inch hardware cloth after you get rid of your friends.

    2) If you have central heat and air and your compressor is outside you have a freeway for critters. The cover of the two lines is open enough that all kinds of things can climb it. Stuff some bronze wool (steel wool works in a lot of places other than Florida but it rusts quickly in a damp environment) then cover it with another piece of hardware cloth.

    Blessing and curses of this time of year”

    1) With winter coming you are blessed that they probably will not drop a litter in your attic

    2) The curse is that you live in a place that freezes. Critters know that and are probably setting up a winter abode. If you have an air handler in your attic you have a ready supply of water.

    If you find where they are coming and going at you can trap them there. Do it now, before winter really sets in. They might not come out if it is cold.

    Good luck

    1. Did I sound frazzled? Well damn, it’s too early for a cocktail. I’m sure that’s why.

      All good points on your entry areas. We had a stove vent fan duct on the side of the house at one point. We were remodeling and removed it and I’ll be darned if a pair of Grackles didn’t make a nest. Can’t win for losing around here.

      Luckily, Blaine does home construction so he’s got all sorts of ideas – aside from his “thinning them out.”

      And you’re right – this weekend I saw a low in the 20’s. It’ll be interesting.

  7. Great post. You have a lively household! Had squirrels in attic once and the sounds of them scritching and racing around overhead was disconcerting. Have heard of them eating through wicker chairs on porch and chewing through lawn mower pull cords. You write colorfully, and I enjoy reading everything you write.

    1. Thank you! Yeah, a little too lively for my taste. Don’t they SOUND like they weigh about 50 lbs??? I mean holy hell, but the noise is amplified when they’re scampering (thundering) about up there.

      Good news? It’s been quiet. Strangest thing. After I wrote this…not one little scritch.

  8. Oh my gosh, I’m sorry, but this is funny–or at least your telling of the saga (to an outsider who doesn’t have this particular problem…). I’ll trade you my iguanas. At least squirrels don’t look prehistoric. Trap them outside (the dying in the wall, thing is truly problematic).
    And work in naps whenever you can.
    Best of luck and Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. LOL! Then you read it as I intended. I was going for funny. Pissy funny, but more on the funny than the pissy. 🙂

      Like I mentioned to Susan above, since writing this, it’s been SO QUIET. Not one chew to be heard. After we bought one of those “Havahart” traps too. But at least I have a way of removing them – kindly.

      Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

  9. Be thankful my friend that your squatters aren’t those pesky black cats with bushy tails and white stripes down their backs. P-U.
    We are surrounded by coyotes. Their howling is scary at night and when we take out our little mini-hotdog-dog we have to keep a close eye. They are watching for him like a cat stalks a mouse.
    Good luck.

    1. OMG, no kidding! I’ve never heard of a skunk invasion, but yikes.

      Yeah, those coyote are sly. We have them here too, but not where we are. When I go to Mississippi, we hear them in “the bottom,” where they congregate to hunt. We know they’ve made a kill – usually a baby deer or a weak/sick adult b/c they set up to howling even more than usual. My in laws Yorkie was grabbed by a couple of them, but my father in law was able to scare them off before they killed him. It would have been a horrible way for the little guy to go.

      Definitely keep a close eye on the grand-dogger.

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