There was a squirrel nest in the only tree in the backyard, and intricately woven into that ball of leaves and twigs was a long strip of a weathered American flag.
It stopped me in my tracks.
It was like when that dove shit on Dianne Lane in Under the Tuscan Sun.
The squirrels here were decorating with American flags.
They get me.
It was a clear sign to me that that this was the house for us.
That we were home.
Flash forward a couple years to the moment when I caught our back-door neighbor (I like to use the term “Back-Door Neighbor” because it sounds like the title of a 70’s porn) shooting at the squirrels with a pellet gun…
and I just lost my shit on him.
He never said a single word of rebuttal, just stood there staring at me as I loudly ranted; comparing him to Jeffrey Dahmer and Ed Gein – both of whom tortured and killed small animals as children. I know, I know. I should have held my temper. He did, after all, have immediate access to a gun… it was still in his hand.
But these were MY squirrels. Squirrels that I had names for. I feed them in the winter months leaving pecans along the top of the fence. I talk to them whenever I do yard work, and they talk to me too. They really do. They let me know whenever there’s a cat in the alley. When I chase one out of my fig tree they never hold back their disagreement, chattering loudly at me from a safe distance above our yard, that the figs are just as much theirs as they are mine.
Which they aren’t.
Yes, of course I should have done the adult thing and apologized to the neighbor for being so overly-emotional – we might be living next to each other for the rest of our lives – but within a month he had sold his house and moved…
…for reasons that I’m relatively sure were completely unrelated to me – the high strung, rodent-loving fag across the alley.
Anyhoo, Jamie saw one of these things on the internets the other day and since I have a butt-load of scrap wood in the garage, ferrel animals that need pampering, and all the free time in the world, I thought I’d give it a go.
I’ve included some basic instructions just incase y’all might wanna try making one of your own.
(I used pressure treated lumber, only because that’s what I had on hand, but you can use whatever wood you like.)
Here’s what ya need to cut;
- 5 – 1″X2″, 8″ long
- 2 – 1″X2″, 5 3/4″ long
- 4 – 1″X2″, 4 3/4″ tip to tip
- 2 – 1″X1″, 9 1/2″ long
Start with the table top, Line up 3 of the 8″ boards, table top planks, with a 1/4 inch spacing between them.
In case y’all are wondering how three 2 inch boards lay on top of a 5 3/4 inch board with space between them, it’s important to point out that a 2 inch wide board is really 1 3/4 inches wide – wood shrinkage, apparently. “Why don’t they just cut the wood slightly larger to accommodate for the shrinkage?” you may ask. No clue. It’s been driving me crazy for decades… but every single straight man on the planet just accepts this fact. So let’s move on….
I attached the top cross pieces to the table planks with drywall screws. Be sure to leave distance between the cross piece and the ends of the table planks; 1 inch at one end and 3/4 an inch at the other.
Next I built the seats with the remaining 8 inch planks and the two 1X1s. Also leaving 3/4 inch distance on one side and 1 inch on the other. The narrower side will go up against the tree.
For the legs, I set my miter saw at 22.5 degrees, that’s one quarter of 90 degrees, and cut 4 of them at 4 3/4 inches long.
The legs I attached with a brad nailer because I didn’t want to see the screws on my finished table.
Then I slipped my seat piece in-between the legs, resting just about an inch from the bottom of the feet, and brad nailed it too.
And here’s my finished table.
The front has a slight overhang, while the back of it is flat so it will hang flush on a tree, or fence, or wherever.
I obviously just screwed mine to the side of our tree, about 8 feet up –
just high enough to really piss of our dog,
and baited it with raw peanuts.
Didn’t take long for Jamie to snap a shot of one of our squirrels enjoying it.
I think this goes without saying, but it’s mounted on our side of the tree and not facing our new backdoor neighbors; Anna and Diego.
They don’t really strike me as the types who would shoot at little animals…
…but I have no intention of helping them with their target practice either.
You’re welcome squirrels.
Now stay out of my fig tree.