One of the perks to living in an old house is the maturity of the trees around it.  Jay and I enjoy the shade and the beauty of the trees nearing a century in age.  We have several different varieties – including walnut and chestnut trees.  We’ve even tried cooking and eating the chestnuts, although I wasn’t a fan.  (Microwaved chestnuts taste like bland scrambled eggs.)

I’m thankful we seem to be rid of our mouse problem, the nut trees create a different kind of rodent problem – squirrels.  Not content to rob us of peaches and nuts, they also feel welcome to make their home in our attic and the walls of our house. 

We’ve tried several different options – including the high pitch noisemakers to no avail.  One was so high pitch the squirrels couldn’t hear it.  Another was so obnoxious I threatened to move out.  We consulted the “guarantee to rid your home” people, but I suppose for $6,000 you could offer that kind of guarantee!!

Jay finally decided a live trap cleverly positioned in the path the squirrels typically take from tree to tree to house was the solution.  I’m not sure he knew what he would do or where he would transport them when he finally caught one…

He spread peanut butter on the spring and carefully positioned it.  For a few days, nothing came of his quest.  Yesterday getting in my car, I noticed he caught something.

I felt sorry for the little guy, pacing back and forth as best he could in the cage.  I had to get to work and had no clue how to free him, so I sent Jay a text.  “Good luck with that.” 

He posted the picture on facebook (tagging me as the skunk) and was the recipient of several “that stinks” comments.  Around lunchtime I got a call from my friend (coworker/running buddy) Kelly.

Her: What’s Jay going to do about that skunk?
Me: I’m not sure.  He’s gotta let it out, but he’s not at home right now.
Her: But its supposed to rain all day.  And Pepe doesn’t have shelter.
Me: Um, okay.  That sucks.
Her: He can’t just leave it out there.
Me: Um…
Her: What are we going to do about it?
Me: I guess we’re skipping our lunch run and freeing him?
Her: I’ll get my coat.

Seriously.  She loves animals that much.  I told Jay what we were doing and he finished up with the contractors and headed home.  While we were waiting on him, I gathered the supplies.  Google had advised us to sneak up on the skunk and cover the cage with a dark blanket.  We were hoping a hook or other such devise would allow us to keep our distance from the cage.

She was nominated (by default cause I sure wasn’t gonna) to free Pepe.  She carefully approached the cage as directed – quietly and in a non-threatening manner.  The covering was the easy part.  She tried a couple of different times to use a hoe to open the cage, to no avail.  It didn’t help that she was working blind – the mechanism was also covered by the blanket.

Finally we decided to wait until Jay arrived. He had set the trap and remembered how to open it easily enough.  With cameras poised, the actual freeing wasn’t very dramatic.  A pull of the handle and off he ran!

Operation Free Pepe was a success!  He was free to scamper back to his home in time to tuck the little ones in before Santa arrives.  Hopefully he’ll adopt the “if you see something, say something” policy in helping us catch the real criminals Chip & Dale.