Thursday, September 4, 2014

My War With the Squirrel and Other Adventures

My War With the Squirrel

There's a squirrel, at least one, that considered one of my bird feeders his personal supply of goodies to stash for the upcoming bitter cold and snowy winter.

I went to my favorite bird supply store to look at squirrel guards and discovered they cost more than my bird feeder did. I decided to try to make my own. I took a foil pan, cut a slit in the middle with my handy-dandy box cutter, and slipped it over the hanger on the feeder. It looked like this:

As you can see, the squirrel was put off for a bit and foraged from the leftovers on the ground under the feeder. He even fought with the mourning doves for the rights.

That lasted four days. First I saw the squirrel hanging upside down on the feeder, it's nose in one of the seed openings and its paws wrapped all the way around the feeder. Soon after, I discovered the bird feeder on the ground with the foil pan pulled sideways, lengthening the handle opening beyond useful.

I took my packing tape outside and patched the tear, then worked the foil pan into more of a dome shape, like this:

It has now been six days and the squirrel hasn't figured it out yet. I haven't seen him try, so I'm not sure if he gave up or tries and slides off. For the moment, at least, the birds are happy.

Other Adventures

Colorado Gold

I'm off to the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold Conference near Denver. I'm working the registration table Friday, co-hosting a dinner table with one of our visiting literary agents tomorrow evening, and then just enjoying as many workshops, panels, and visits with writerly friends as time allows.

I'm hoping I come back super-motivated to get busy and finish my wip, organize whatever promo I decide to do for the November release of Dead Wrong, and maybe even get the revisions done on one of my shelf novels. I have too many first or second drafts sitting around doing nothing. More about that below.

My Blog

Starting in mid-September, I have a fun lineup of guest bloggers, many of them from Northern Colorado. We have so much writing talent up here that I thought it was time to show them off, so I invited members of Northern Colorado Writers to join us and share their stories.

Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Blog

I'm continuing as editor of the RMFW Blog, a project that I helped launch and now serve as co-editor along with author Julie Kazimer. The regular contributors to that blog and most of the guest authors are member of RMFW, an organization that is growing and gaining worldwide attention.

Fiction writers, if you don't already belong to RMFW, check it out for the great newsletter, monthly Denver area and Western Slope programs, online classes, an annual writing competition, a member anthology, the Colorado Gold Conference, a writers' retreat (March 11-15, 2015 in Estes Park, CO), and more.

Yes, I Have Another Book (or two or three) in the Works

This is the neverending story about writing and not writing and taking time off and procrastinating and doing a little of this and a little of that and never getting done...

I have Wishing Caswell Dead which I've now been toying with for about six years -- it's my favorite project and now I'm thinking of rewriting the whole thing to be in the main character's point of view.....maybe all first person. Or maybe not... When you have a novel that's too dear and too precious, you sometimes can't let it go.

I have the untitled first draft of a mystery from NaNoWriMo 2011 (conveniently called NaNoWriMo2011) that needs a lot of work. I may decide to change the setting and sequence of events for that one and ramp up the tension in a couple of places. Or not.....  This one is not dear and precious, it's just too, well, too NaNoWriMo, if you know what I mean.

And then I have Out of Control which I began as a NaNoWriMo novel in 2013 but quickly realized it could be a decent psychological suspense if I stopped NaNo and worked on a better structure and timeline. I might finish that one by the end of the year.

That's not all.

The 1986 first draft of Against Her Better Judgement sits on my shelf. It's supposed to be romantic suspense. Sigh.

The 1985 action-adventure novel I wrote with my brother, The Troubleshooter, only made it to audiotape in 2000. It would need a lot of work to make it a good mystery, and even then the subject and time frame (trucker/union/management circa 1970s) might not be marketable.

And while all that's wobbling drunkenly around my brain, I need to promote Dead Wrong, now available for pre-order in hardcover from the usual places.

So I'm just going to let all that sit there and percolate while I go pack for Colorado Gold. I'm taking my camera this year. I might see if I can get some photos of writers acting badly. Just for fun.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm tired just reading all that.
Maybe a little baby oil over the foil covering if he does figure it out? Then when he goes to grab it, he'll slide off, providing you with much entertainment.

Patricia Stoltey said...

LOL! Now that would be worthy of video clip....if I could figure out how to do that with my little camera. I know there's a way.....

Margot Kinberg said...

Pat - That squirrel is nothing if not determined!!! I hope you two can establish detante. I hope you have a lovely and productive time at the conference, and I'm very happy for you that you're back at work at your writing too. That's wonderful!

Eileen Goudge said...

Good thinking, Pat. Homemade solutions are often better than the store-bought kind. Though I have my doubts as to whether humans are smarter than the average squirrel :)

pam2spicy said...

Pat...I don't know if you will get this note but I just found your squirrel post again. I loved it! We had a resident squirrel a while ago. It entertained us greatly. Then one day I found it was gone and noticed a small door under the roof of our neighbor's garage workshop was boarded over. I was afraid they got rid of it. I celebrated the other day when it showed up again. P.S. It has plenty of fruit to feast on in our yard. Talk to you soon.