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Old 05-15-2020, 09:40 AM
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Friday Morning with Coffee and Squirrels


Morning routine: Berni and I are on the deck in our bathrobes, sipping coffee, plotting out the day, and trying not to discuss politics. This is what we do, most mornings.

It's spring. Weather is warming. And the squirrels are out in force, foraging and looking around and being squirrels.

From where I sit, I have a view of the back of the neighbor's house and the roof of his deck and his house. And I often see squirrels using his roof as a highway between the trees of our front yards and the trees of the back yards; the wood fence between our homes is a fine highway for squirrels as well.

And this morning, as Berni is talking about how they're going to shave someone's head at work, a flicker of motion caught my eye, and I refocused past her to look at the squirrel on the neighbor's roof. He was walking funny. This was because he was carrying a large thing, near as big as he was. Leaf? No, he's acting like it's heavier than that. Sort of a tan color, with flecks of red.... bigger at one end than the other.... carrot? Sweet potato?

He saw me looking at him and ran to the far end of the neighbors' deck, behind some tree limbs. I could see him, but not what he was carrying.

"Does that squirrel have a carrot?" I wondered aloud.

Berni turned around and craned her neck to see. The squirrel came trotting down the roof towards us, carrying his treasure. Berni squinted. I squinted.

I realized it as soon as Berni said it: "Mighod, he's got a piece of PIZZA!"

The squirrel, carrying a wedge of pizza, climbed down the drainspout, and carefully jumped onto the wooden fence, and began carefully clambering along the fence down towards the shed roof.

And I remembered that there was a pizza box in our trash, out front, with discarded pizza in it. Berni had brought a pizza home on Monday from work, and I'd been idly noshing it before discarding it Wednesday, and last night, I'd dragged the trash out front for pickup this morning... and I had a sinking feeling I knew where squirrel'd got the pizza.

Berni leaped to her feet and began trying to get a picture of the squirrel and his pizza. He noticed this, and began irritatedly trying to keep the lilac bush between Berni and himself, as if the camera could somehow steal his pizza. Eventually, he worked his way down to the neighbor's shed roof, where he got off and went to the far side where we couldn't see him, presumably to enjoy his mushroom and olive feast.

"Did you get a picture?" I asked.

"No," Berni said. "Not a good clear one. I had to zoom it to the point where you can't tell what you're looking at."

That particular neighbor has complained in the past about our habit of leaving peanuts out for the squirrels; they tend to bury them in his garden. Idly, I wondered what he would say upon finding a pizza crust in his prize peonies, and decided that I would admit nothing; after all, it's not like I put it out in a bird feeder for them....

We finished the coffee, and went inside. And promptly went out front, where I strolled out to the curb to examine the trash. Pizza box was visible from the front door; the garbage men had not yet arrived.

"Well?" Berni called from the front door.

"When I put the box in the trash, there were two slices in it," I said. "Now it's empty."

Which means that somewhere in our cul de sac, there are two pieces of rather bad pizza being carried around by squirrels.

And that's how MY Friday started. How's yours?
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Old 05-15-2020, 10:54 AM
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So, you inspired me to google for images of squirrels and pizza. Some are photoshopped, but some are apparently legit. Squirrels like pizza: who knew?
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Old 05-15-2020, 11:37 AM
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When we first moved here, we kept our garbage cans just outside the back garage door. They were moved permanently inside the garage after I came out one day to find the lid removed from one can and the plastic bag into which I'd discarded a chicken carcass was devoid of said carcass. I figured it was a raccoon. But if it was a squirrel, I wouldn't want to meet up with it.

Squirrels, on the other hand, decided they were entitled to harvest my tomatoes, and leave half-eaten pieces all over the deck. That's why I no longer grow tomatoes. Stoopit squirrels.
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Old 05-15-2020, 11:41 AM
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I'm having trouble with the concept of two pieces of pizza in the trash
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Old 05-15-2020, 11:53 AM
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I will explain myself.

Mrs. Ka brought a pizza home on Monday. Her employers had thrown a pizza party, and had ordered too much, and for some reason, the guy in charge of the party had decided that "mushroom and olive" was going to be the vegetarian option. There were, like, five of those pizzas left over. So the employees took 'em home. Mrs. Ka reasoned, "My husband likes olives. He likes mushrooms. Therefore, he will like mushroom and olive pizza."

She was right. I ate half the pizza on Tuesday morning, although I found the sauce a bit sweet; apparently, Domino's is one of those outfits what puts sugar in everything. And when Wednesday dawned, I took another slice of pizza, had a bite, and about gagged. All the ingredients had lost their flavor except the sauce, which had by now thickened to the point where the pizza tasted like tomato flavored cake frosting.

"I can't eat this," I said, and tossed the box with the remaining slices in the trash.

Trash pickup here is Friday morning, and the box was in there when I dragged it to the curb last night. I had forgotten there was food in there; I really shouldn't have done that, but I didn't think. There are no stray dogs in our neighborhood, and we're pretty far in-city for bears; the main wildlife we see are hawks, squirrels, prairie dogs and bunnies, and the occasional stray cat.

And this led directly to the incident over coffee this morning.

I've had the occasional squabble with my neighbor in that house. He's a good fellow, but a rabid gardener, and it irritates him when squirrels bury peanuts in his flower beds, and he has spoken with some vehemence at block meetings about how none of us should have bird feeders, because it attracts squirrels, who then descend into his garden in a ravening horde to devour his flower bulbs. So we put peanuts out in secret anyway, because Mrs. Ka loves the bluejays, and the bluejays love peanuts, and the occasional turf wars between the army and the air force are entertaining to watch over Sunday coffee on the deck.

At the time of the pizza squirrel, I thought, "Jeez, he gets irked over peanuts in the flower bed; what's he gonna do when he finds a half eaten slice of pizza in his begonias?"

Since then, it has occurred to me that squirrels don't always eat what they find; they often stash it.

And now I have a mental picture of Old Man Rickers out there cleaning his gutters.... and finding a stash of pine nuts, acorns, birdseed, peanuts, and two partially gnawed petrified slices of mushroom and olive pizza......

I have concluded that I will admit nothing.
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Old 05-15-2020, 12:02 PM
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Oh, and FairyChatMom? Among the reasons for peanuts is that squirrels prefer peanuts to tomatoes.

That, and they have learned to be wary since last year, I had a jalapeno bush amongst the tomato plants.

That being said, I have given up trying to grow strawberries.
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Old 05-15-2020, 12:07 PM
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Well, yeah, of course squirrels like pizza. Everyone likes pizza.
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Old 05-15-2020, 12:18 PM
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Well, yeah, of course squirrels like pizza. Everyone likes pizza.
You didn't taste THAT pizza.
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Old 05-15-2020, 12:25 PM
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Well, I'll have to set out a plate of peanuts away from my tomato plants. Wonder if it's too late to plant 'maters here?

Thanks!
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Old 05-15-2020, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Master Wang-Ka View Post
I found the sauce a bit sweet; apparently, Domino's is one of those outfits what puts sugar in everything.
Domino's has more than one sauce available. The default is the "Robust Inspired pizza sauce, a thick, zesty flavor redolent with garlic and other special spices," but "if you prefer a more subtle and sweeter taste," they also have a Marinara that they describe as "a rich, satisfying sauce with tomato-y sweetness and hints of spice" (bolding mine). Maybe you got the marinara.
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Old 05-15-2020, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink View Post
Domino's has more than one sauce available. The default is the "Robust Inspired pizza sauce, a thick, zesty flavor redolent with garlic and other special spices," but "if you prefer a more subtle and sweeter taste," they also have a Marinara that they describe as "a rich, satisfying sauce with tomato-y sweetness and hints of spice" (bolding mine). Maybe you got the marinara.
Who knew? The last time I had Domino's tomato sauce pizza, I came to the realization the hydrofloric acid was the main ingredient. Of course, with dialysis, tomatoes are off the menu.
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Old 05-15-2020, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink View Post
Domino's has more than one sauce available. The default is the "Robust Inspired pizza sauce, a thick, zesty flavor redolent with garlic and other special spices," but "if you prefer a more subtle and sweeter taste," they also have a Marinara that they describe as "a rich, satisfying sauce with tomato-y sweetness and hints of spice" (bolding mine). Maybe you got the marinara.
I did not know this; I haven't actually ORDERED Domino's in years. Like I said, Beloved Wife brought it home from work.

I didn't remember it being all THAT sweet on Monday night or Tuesday morning, but Wednesday, it was GAAAAAHHHHSUGAAAAR urgh.
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Old 05-15-2020, 02:06 PM
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Nice story MWK, you are so funny.

My squirrels never get in the garden patch. I believe it has something to do with pepper plants as well. My strawberries are under screen. Mostly for the bird thieves.

I have 3 nut trees (well 2, one got blown over in a recent storm) So our squirrel population is high. The little fluffy-tailed rat bastards can eat nuts til they explode and yet they still raid my bird feeders.

Pizza has never occurred to me as being squirrel food. Are your squirrels, perhaps Italian?

I have Italian deer. They dug up and ate all my garlic bulbs.
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Old 05-15-2020, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Master Wang-Ka
And when Wednesday dawned, I took another slice of pizza, had a bite
Quote:
Originally Posted by Procrustus View Post
I'm having trouble with the concept of two pieces of pizza in the trash
And I'm having trouble with the concept of eating pizza at dawn.
Cold, left-over pizza.


Please.......Mr. Wang-Ka.....You're better than this, and you can be helped.
Call Pizzas Anonymous.
Before it's too late.
It's not easy, but others have recovered,and you can too.

Last edited by chappachula; 05-15-2020 at 02:38 PM.
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Old 05-15-2020, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Master Wang-Ka View Post
I will explain myself.

Mrs. Ka brought a pizza home on Monday. Her employers had thrown a pizza party, and had ordered too much, and for some reason, the guy in charge of the party had decided that "mushroom and olive" was going to be the vegetarian option. There were, like, five of those pizzas left over. So the employees took 'em home. Mrs. Ka reasoned, "My husband likes olives. He likes mushrooms. Therefore, he will like mushroom and olive pizza."

She was right. I ate half the pizza on Tuesday morning, although I found the sauce a bit sweet; apparently, Domino's is one of those outfits what puts sugar in everything. And when Wednesday dawned, I took another slice of pizza, had a bite, and about gagged. All the ingredients had lost their flavor except the sauce, which had by now thickened to the point where the pizza tasted like tomato flavored cake frosting.

"I can't eat this," I said, and tossed the box with the remaining slices in the trash.

Trash pickup here is Friday morning, and the box was in there when I dragged it to the curb last night. I had forgotten there was food in there; I really shouldn't have done that, but I didn't think. There are no stray dogs in our neighborhood, and we're pretty far in-city for bears; the main wildlife we see are hawks, squirrels, prairie dogs and bunnies, and the occasional stray cat.

And this led directly to the incident over coffee this morning.

I've had the occasional squabble with my neighbor in that house. He's a good fellow, but a rabid gardener, and it irritates him when squirrels bury peanuts in his flower beds, and he has spoken with some vehemence at block meetings about how none of us should have bird feeders, because it attracts squirrels, who then descend into his garden in a ravening horde to devour his flower bulbs. So we put peanuts out in secret anyway, because Mrs. Ka loves the bluejays, and the bluejays love peanuts, and the occasional turf wars between the army and the air force are entertaining to watch over Sunday coffee on the deck.

At the time of the pizza squirrel, I thought, "Jeez, he gets irked over peanuts in the flower bed; what's he gonna do when he finds a half eaten slice of pizza in his begonias?"

Since then, it has occurred to me that squirrels don't always eat what they find; they often stash it.

And now I have a mental picture of Old Man Rickers out there cleaning his gutters.... and finding a stash of pine nuts, acorns, birdseed, peanuts, and two partially gnawed petrified slices of mushroom and olive pizza......

I have concluded that I will admit nothing.
A kindred spirit, I think. I put out peanuts during the winter because I also like the scrub jays that come for them. There is a definite pecking order out on the deck, however. The jays give way for the crows, and NOBODY fucks with the squirrels. I'm guessing that's because of the little sharp teeth and claws. The squirrels have their own hierarchy, which is a mystery to me, but when the bull squirrel shows up, the rest head up into the dogwood tree until he moves away. And then there is the power struggle that goes on at the seed feeder between chickadees, junkos and the like, and the aerial warfare near the hummingbird feeder. It's all very entertaining, but the peanut shells are everywhere by spring.

I read that jays (family corvidae) are, like all birds in that family, extremely smart and clever. They can create up to 200 hiding places and remember where they all are. They will also spy on their crow brethren to find out where they've hidden their food, and then steal it.

Last edited by Chefguy; 05-15-2020 at 02:44 PM.
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Old 05-15-2020, 03:51 PM
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And I'm having trouble with the concept of eating pizza at dawn.
Cold, left-over pizza.
Cold crunchy pizza was a thing I encountered in college, and was a regular item on my breakfast menu. Microwave ovens were less common then than now, and when one is hung over and requiring calories, it's handy. Keeps well without refrigeration, too.

This may be the first time in a few years that pizza has lasted long enough in my possession to say it's three days old.

On the other hand, it's likely the first time in my LIFE that it's survived long enough to say it was a WEEK old, AND squirrel food. I have totally never managed THAT before.
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Old 05-15-2020, 07:10 PM
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And I'm having trouble with the concept of eating pizza at dawn.
Cold, left-over pizza.


Please.......Mr. Wang-Ka.....You're better than this, and you can be helped.
Call Pizzas Anonymous.
Before it's too late.
It's not easy, but others have recovered,and you can too.

Cold, leftover pizza for breakfast is Nirvana.

Or it was until my children were old enough to get their own breakfasts. After that, I was greeted by an empty box. For they inherited my "cold, leftover pizza" gene.


~VOW
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Old 05-15-2020, 07:26 PM
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Cold, leftover pizza for breakfast is Nirvana.
You prefer cold pizza??
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Old 05-15-2020, 08:47 PM
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Oh, holy crap on a cracker, the story CONTINUES.

So the story above literally happened this morning. It's pretty cut and dried. No exaggeration; it's what happened.

So I had my day, managed my kids, made tearful goodbyes for the summer, and so on, and had my day. And Mrs. Ka came home around her usual time, and we sat out back on the deck and talked about our day and our respective happenstances, the way we do every day before going inside to see about supper.

And we laughed about that dippy squirrel and his stolen pizza, and I talked about the various comments people had made, and I glanced up at Old Man Ricksy's roof as I described the path the squirrel had taken, and partway through the description, I NOTICED something, and my throat seized up.

Mrs. Ka was immediately concerned. "What's wrong?"

"Ahhhm..." I said.

"What. Is. Wrong," she said, in a tone that indicated she wanted to know if she should call an ambulance to come get me.

"Ahhhm, honey," I said. "Turn around. Look at that roof. Up near the top of the gable, near the ventilation pipe, with that lantern looking thing on it. And tell me if you see it, and whether or not I am crazy."

She turned around and looked. And then spun around and looked at me. And then turned around and looked again. And then we both burst out laughing like loons.

The second piece of pizza has been found. It's up near the top of the peak on Old Man Ricksy's roof. If it rains tonight, it will likely wind up in his back gutter.

I wonder if he's a "Breaking Bad" fan?
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Old 05-15-2020, 10:04 PM
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Cold, leftover pizza for breakfast is Nirvana.

Or it was until my children were old enough to get their own breakfasts. After that, I was greeted by an empty box. For they inherited my "cold, leftover pizza" gene.


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Old 05-16-2020, 10:28 AM
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Rained last night. Hard.

The pizza is still up there.

And now I'm a little nervous about what happens next time Old Man Ricksy wants to do roof maintenance.
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Old 05-20-2020, 11:24 AM
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You didn't taste THAT pizza.
Yes, it is quite possible to have pizza that is bad enough that the leftovers are Not Worth It.

We actually like Domino's okay (though the mushrooms on your stash would have sent me shrieking into another room) but I have a leftover pizza story that somewhat rivals yours.

About 28 years ago, we tried a new pizza place not far from where we were living. Not a chain, a local place.

The pizza was mostly edible, but nothing great - and the next day we decided we could not face eating those last 2 slices.

As it happens, we had tickets to see the Flying Karamazov Brothers at Wolf Trap that evening. And one of their things is that the audience is encouraged to bring oddball things for them to attempt to juggle. The performer chooses 3 of the objects. He can make one modification to each. When we'd seen them before, one person brought a handful of spaghetti, another brought a zip-loc bag full of water, and another brought a Slinky (the modification to that was to tie it into a big knot).

Naturally, we brought those two slices of pizza - and our offering was Chosen. The juggler said he could only do one slice, so the audience voted on which slice ("Pizza A - ORRRRRRRR, Pizza B!"). Then he looked at it in horror, said "This has SAUSAGE. I can't juggle pork on the Shabbas!!" - so he pulled off the sausage before proceeding.

So our single leftover slice of pizza - sans treif topping - helped entertain hundreds of people, in a rather bizarre variation of the biblical loaves and fishes tale.
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Old 05-20-2020, 12:12 PM
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Rained last night. Hard.

The pizza is still up there.
Surely there are birds in your neighborhood - they should love this high altitude buffet.

Of course, the do tend to crap all over the place...
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Old 05-20-2020, 12:22 PM
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MWK
Old man Ricksy is gonna wait too long and that slice is gonna be permanently glued to his roof.

I suggest cutting letters out of old magazines and newspapers with a warning for him and sneaking it in his mailbox.

Don't leave any DNA on the note.

You're welcome. ()
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Old 05-20-2020, 07:55 PM
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Surely there are birds in your neighborhood - they should love this high altitude buffet.
Birds have better taste than that squirrel, apparently.
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Old 05-21-2020, 05:05 PM
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Perhaps they do; the pizza is gone now. I have no idea if the birds got it, the squirrel came back for it, or if it washed down and rests now in the man's rear gutter or what.

The world may never know...
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Old 05-21-2020, 06:44 PM
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That's right.
Mum's the word.
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