The Shed

The Shed
The Shed

Tuesday, December 18, 2012



Welcome back boys and girls its Leatherface, every one's favorite cut up. Well I'm sure we're all happy that the hub bub about the tour bus from Holland has finally died down a bit. Awful thing about that one tourist going missing, and just a hop, skip and jump from here, go figure.

What's that, Jimmy? What's for lunch you ask? Hans sandwiches of course.

Where were we?

Oh yes, squirrels and the control thereof. What a pain they can be in the garden. This is a relatively humane, if unconscionably long winded approach to the problem.

Here, we give detailed instructions on how to deal with one specific garden pest; Sciurus carolinensis, or the eastern gray squirrel. The reader will be walked step by step through the construction of an Involuntary Rodent Relocation Device or IRRD. Remember, the zucchini you save may be your own.

A poultry wire fence seven feet tall works wonders when it comes to keeping deer and bunnies away from the vegetable patch, but has no effect at all on the common - some would say all too common - gray squirrel. These cute but destructive marauders can wreak havoc not only on obvious food sources like sunflowers and corn, but also on vegetables you might not even think of as squirrel food, like tomatoes and sweet peppers which they gnaw into to obtain seeds. And if you have ever put up a bird feeder with the idea of attracting birds to your garden area, you know who gets the bulk of the seeds. It's not Mrs. Cardinal, it's the bushy-tailed Bandit!

Fortunately, you can use a squirrel's affinity for seeds to your own advantage by building and utilizing the following simple pest control device cleverly disguised as a combination bird feeder and planter. This will first decoy the grey furred varmint away from the garden, and then relocate him or her to a new home at a safe distance from your kohlrabi. The instructions for building the device almost take longer to read than it takes to build the instrument itself; do not be deterred. You will need the following items, most are commonly found around the home:

A shovel

2 bags of ready-mixed concrete

A treated four by four post, ten feet in length

A two by four, five feet long

A plywood rectangle, about eight by ten inches and at least one half inch in thickness.

A drill, preferably electric

Drill bits in three eighths, three quarter and thirteen sixteenths diameter.

A section of galvanized or black iron pipe, three quarters inch outside diameter and fifteen inches in length.

Three heavy duty screw eyes

About ten feet of heavy gauge wire

Wire cutting pliers

A ten penny nail

Three six penny nails

A hammer

A very HEAVY hanging potted plant (can substitute a cinder block but for reasons that will become apparent this is not as esthetically pleasing)

Fifty feet of clothesline


A tube of Vaseline or similar lubricant

Find a suitable spot for your device. This should be at least fifty feet from your garden, but not much farther than fifty feet from your kitchen door, or window if you prefer. Next, dig a hole about three feet deep. Then, using the drill and three quarter inch bit, drill a single hole through the four by four, approximately four inches from one end. Using your hammer, drive the three quarter inch outside diameter pipe into the hole you just drilled, until it is flush with one side of the four by four, with about eleven inches projecting from the other side.

Set the four by four in the hole that you dug, the end without the pipe goes in the hole. (The projecting portion of the pipe should face your home) Prop it in place, mix the ready mix cement with the appropriate amount of water, pour the cement in the hole and allow to set until the following weekend.

Sometime during the course of the week, cut a small section of your wire and twist it tightly around the ten penny nail, at the head end. Once it is securely fastened, twist the two ends together to form a loop, the inside of the loop should be between the sizes of a nickel and a quarter. What you have should be a 10 penny nail with a wire loop secured firmly to the head end. We will refer to this as the "trigger pin" from now on. Put it aside, we will come back to it later.

Let's assume that the concrete has properly set.

Place your two by four on a work surface, broad side down. (To make instructions easier to visualize we will call the broad side of the two by four the "face", the narrow side facing away from you the "top") Working left to right we will drill a three eights diameter hole all the way through the face of the two by four, one inch from the left edge. Next we will drill a hole fifteen inches from the left edge, using the thirteen sixteenths drill bit. Then, we will turn the two by four on its bottom, narrow edge and place the eight by ten inch plywood rectangle on top of the two by four, so that their right edges line up, and so that equal portions of the rectangle overhang either side of the two by four. Secure the rectangle to the two by four using your six penny nails. Finally, turn the two by four onto it's top edge and twist one of the screw eyes into the bottom, approximately one inch from the right edge.

Smile, you are making progress!

Lubricate the iron pipe projecting from the four by four using the Vaseline. Hold the two by four with the plywood rectangle facing to the sky, and to the right, and press onto the pipe using the thirteen sixteenths hole you bored previously. Do not press all the way to the four by four. The pipe should project no more than an inch from the hole in the two by four. The two by four should swing freely when released.

Now, if you are facing the side of the four by four with the pipe projecting and the two by four dangling, move around the four by four to the right side. Six inches from the ground, twist in the remaining two screw eyes, next to each other and no more than one inch apart. (A line drawn through both eyes should be parallel to the ground.) Next, take one end of your heavy wire and attach it to the screw eye in the two by four, twisting it tight with your pliers. Then, (and perhaps you should enlist a helper at this point) keeping the two by four at a right angle to the four by four so that it forms a kind of lopsided cross, bring the wire down to the two screw eyes at the base of the four by four. Form a loop in the wire such that when the wire is taut, and the two by four is at right angles to the four by four the loop will fit precisely between the two screw eyes. Cut lose any extra wire.

Cut a small portion of the clothesline, thread it through the three eighths hole in the left side of the two by four and tie it in a loop. Using this loop, hang either the extremely heavy potted plant or the cinder block to the two by four.

Find the trigger pin you assembled while waiting for the concrete to cure, and pulling down on the wire attached to the right side of the two by four, raise the plant or block until you once again have formed a lopsided cross. Keeping the wire loop between the two screw eyes at the base of the four by four insert the trigger pin through the front eye, the wire loop, and then the rear eye; this will hold the two by four in position against the weight of the plant or block. The loop on the trigger pin should face your home. You may wish to lubricate the trigger pin at this time.

Place bird seed on top of the eight by ten plywood platform, or feeder.

Tie one end of the clothesline to the wire loop on your trigger pin.

Carefully unwind the line, lead it into the kitchen door or the appropriate window in your home.

Take time for a coffee or a beer, you deserve it. You have just built your very own Involuntary Rodent Redeployment Device or IRRD. All you need to do is be patient until you spot a squirrel squatting on the platform; shoveling seeds into his or her greedy maw then yank the clothesline. This will pull the trigger pin, allowing the weight of the plant or cinder block to violently rotate the two by four, thus flinging the furry interloper onto the next block in much the same way a Roman trebuchet would fling boulders into besieged enemy towns. Reset and repeat as needed until the supply of gray squirrels runs out.



Resist the temptation to target the neighbor's swimming pool.

DO indulge in experiments to construct relocation devices for larger and larger garden pests; the equipment required to hurl a full grown bull moose six hundred yards will be truly awe inspiring, and will make you the talk of the town. (And just possibly the target of litigation in various forms, but, nothing ventured, nothing gained!)

If questioned, stick to the story that you just decided to brighten your yard with a combination planter/bird feeder and by the way, isn't that nice? And no, you do not know where all those squirrels came from! If that doesn't seem to pass the sniff test, say that what you are doing is testing an IRRD for the CIA and can say no more on the subject due to the constraints imposed by National Security considerations.

Hey if it works for the Government it should work for the gardener too!

And that's a wrap for this edition of The Children's Hour with leatherface. Thanks for stopping!

4 comments: said...

You are the limit! LOL, boy that would be fun to see though...flying squirrels all over the place. Wait, wouldn't it hurt my birds? Hmm, guess not when all the squirrels are gone, huh? I'll get Tommy on it straight away...he may kill me though. :)

Mac Pike said...

You don't trigger it when boids are there, only squirrels and jehovah's Witni. (Which really should be plural for "witness", in my view.

Dan Shaw said...

Hey this would be a good idea to build several around the capital building in DC. Instead of seeds you could put blank taxpayers checks as the bait.

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