One infested summer

Chipmunks, grasshoppers and raccoons. Oh, my! (Provided photo — Diane Chase)

I’m not sure what is happening in everyone else’s backyard, but I’m tripping over a daily carpet of chipmunks. They have the audacity to take one bite out of a piece of fruit and then throw the rest at my feet like petulant children. Yes, I understand those sweet little striped-tailed animals have their own cartoon, stuffed animal likeness and figurines. Let’s not be too quick to look upon them as stars of the show. They are villains. They look innocent and cute while tunneling their own I-87 around my house.

Moles have dug an extensive underground bunker, to which my son swears he saw a bird fly out a tunnel opening. (I’m not joking.) We’re betting something larger and more ominous is living in the depths beneath our house. I’m going with a dragon.

Then came the Japanese beetles. I did a brief stint of picking off the bugs and feeding them to the chickens. It did seem for every one beetle I removed, four more emerged.

I don’t mind the spiders, and I’d love a few bats. They’re at least here to eat some of the creatures I’m complaining about. They really just need to get in their own lane. I don’t want families pointing to our home as the “haunted house” of the street. Some of the webs do look like they could hold a small human. The tent caterpillars add an additional sinister vibe, which would be fine if it were Halloween. It’s not Halloween, though. What’s October going to bring? Zombies?

Let’s not forget about the grasshoppers, crickets and other hopping creatures. A friend pointed out that the underside of a grasshopper looks like a stormtrooper. It’s kind of cute until the little stormtrooper calls in the rest of the Imperial Army. (I had to ask my son to help me complete a Star Wars analogy. Please go to him with your complaints.) The grasshoppers don’t even bother to move anymore as they defoliate my garden. Apparently, I’m the one in their way.

These animal war games aren’t over without an honorable mention to a fox and her kits, gray squirrels, a coyote, bear and raccoons. It would be fine on my end if I could train a few of these trespassers and start my own circus. Unfortunately for me, it feels like these critters are conspiring for backyard domination. If you happen to come on our porch and a raccoon answers the door, please send for help.


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