Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Journal Entry: Life in the Country


Life isn’t always easy around Bon Bon Pond.  Sometimes things go wrong.  Then there are days like yesterday when EVERYTHING goes wrong.  At 9:00 a.m. I lost electricity.  When you live in the country and use a well, that translates to the added irritant of the inability to run water or flush toilets. 

With a loud “BOOM” the house vibrated and went dead.  This scenario means the transformer has tripped.  The sudden withdrawal of ALL electricity literally rocks the house. 

Right away I was aware of the culprit:  one of my squirrels had gone to the Great Beyond.  Since 2009 when we began our “Adventures in Birding,” the Pond’s  squirrel population has dramatically increased.  Call it the “Law of Unintended Consequences,” but today we are home to three varieties: the Eastern gray squirrel; Black (melanistic) Eastern gray squirrel: and the American red squirrel

To date the latter two have not caused problems, but the grays are Hell on Wheels.  I scatter seeds on the ground but that often seems to insult them.  It’s far too easy . . . and not nearly enough fun.  It’s far more enjoyable to leap great distances onto feeders then work for hours to try and chew them apart.

Feeder demolition, though, pales in comparison to their latest crusade to leave me in the dark.  Since late last summer, squirrels have taken out the transformer about a half dozen times. 

Hats off to the fine folks at Xcel Energy who were out here in record time.  The serviceman—the same patient, kind soul who always responds—examined the pole and verified the “critter cap” was in place over the “hot” spot.  He went on to explain that the poles and units are treated to deter animals but when you host huge numbers of squirrels the odds are stacked against you.

In the  afternoon I started doing research on preventative measures and found a promising company called Critter Guard which sells products called Line (Raptor) Guard and Pole Guard.  I was very impressed with the mission statement of this company as their concern is for the welfare of wildlife, as well as the convenience of homeowners and utility companies.  Among others, they list Allegheny Power and Maine Power companies as clients.

I was so excited and planned on calling Xcel, when the power went out . . . again!  This time on account of the rain/ice storm moving thru the Midwest.  It took nearly two hours to restore power to the 2600 affected homes in the northeast area of Stillwater. 

The loss of electricity, twice in one day, and in the winter, makes one appreciate the modern conveniences we all too often take for granted.  Life’s little annoyances seem insignificant when one is cold and afraid in the dark.

Learn more about Critter Guard: 

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