Squirrels and steam cleaning

On a recent Saturday morning I woke to see a squirrel chewing the buds off of my just-about-to-bloom witch hazel. When I “shooed” him he promptly ran up a lilac and started gnawing the buds off of it. A short while later he moved to feast on the cherry buds. He has good taste, but the little blighter was eating my spring blooms! Considering that the ground near the house has several inches of sunflower seed shells and a good number of actual sunflower seeds, he had lots of other options. I think he was just trying to taunt me.
He probably saw me checking on that witch hazel every few days, and then exclaim with delight when I finally saw a little bit of bright red popping through. He’s a sadistic squirrel, I tell you.
Gardening has the reputation for being a relaxing pastime, but taking a serious interest in your garden can lead you to some less than conventional behaviour. This morning, for example, I was sorely tempted to run outside in my flannel pyjamas and winter boots,and fling something at that little rodent with enough force that he’d think twice before nibbling on my blooms again (don’t worry rodent lovers, my aim isn’t that good.)
Weeds can be another trigger for unusual behaviour. A book I read last month  mentioned flame throwing torches as an effective method of weed control, but cautioned that the side effect of setting your yard and house on fire was a concern. Can you imagine explaining that one to your insurance company?
But then I read on the internet about someone using directed steam to kill weeds. Just take one of those steamers designed for home cleaning outside and zap your weeds with it!  The article said the heat should bake them but there would be no danger of fire (unlike with the flame thrower). The steam can be directed to a pretty small area so you can fry the weed and not your prize rosebush. Hmm, interesting!
So last week steam cleaners went on sale at the big box store, and I had some big box store “points” to spend…so home came the steam cleaner. I have to admit that it was a lot of fun to clean with (I’m sure the novelty will wear off, but hey, anything that makes cleaning “fun” for even a short while can’t be bad!) Our house hasn’t been this clean since we moved in!
But I think the real calling of this new toy is going to come when the weather warms up and it’s time to weed. Granted, the dog walkers and neighbours going by may take a second look. ”Honey, that lady with the crazy garden is out there with a big purple thing strapped to her back and a long orange extension cord, and she’s shooting steam at things like thistles and dandelions. She was laughing and I think she was talking to herself too… Do you think she’s finally cracked?”
I can’t wait for spring!


  1. A on March 20, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    Let me know how the steam approach goes! And for me, have rabbits eating my new red delicious Cape Breton tree… Down to a nub. Bugger.
    Thanks for a great read!

  2. mister anchovy on March 20, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    I can just imagine you out there steam cleaning your weeds. Har!

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