Contact Me

If you enjoy my blog and would like to contact me, you may reach me at this email:

Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Monday, December 7, 2009


For the past three summers my husband and I have been waging war with the most clever, obnoxiously cute, persistently destructive rodent we've ever encountered: the ground squirrel.
When Bruce first grumbled about the little darlings I said, "Oh, leave them alone. They're so cute and after all, we are living in their environment."

Then the rock retaining wall along our driveway started shifting and shrinking, like on old person whose spinal disks are flattening. I noticed the little piles of dirt on the driveway. It did not take me long to put two and two together. Those "little darlings" were digging networks of tunnels directly behind our wall, extruding dirt like so much sewage through thousand of convenient orifices.

"I've got an air gun," my next-door neighbor said. "I can come over and shoot 'em."
"Oh, that won't be necessary," I confidently told him. (I could take care of the rodent population with less violent means.)
So I went down to my local True Value and purchased a bag of rodent repellant.
Didn't work.
"They hate cayenne pepper," someone told me. So I roamed from hole to hole, pouring mounds of the spicy stuff down.
That lasted about two weeks. Then one afternoon I looked out my office window and saw movement. Would you believe it? One of the "enemy" actually stood up, liked he'd climbed out of his fox hole, and waved at me. I think I heard him singing Elton John's "I'm Still Standing."

One summer we were assisted in our hate crimes by an obliging, scuplted carpet-on-legs: a badger. Like a miniature dirt-moving Caterpillar his powerful front paws and claws demolished the squirrels' homes. We didn't even have to see the tragic denouement; the stillness of the yard told us everything. Unfortunately, the badger got hungry again and moved on to meatier yards, leaving ours, once again, undefended.

This past summer, help came from the sky in the form of foot-long black and white stealth bombers. Magpies, we discovered to our delight, love fresh squirrel meat. Together with some me-too crows, they lined our fenced, watching the yard with eager, beady eyes. As soon as a head surfaced, one of our warriors dropped noiselessly, plucking the hapless creature from his hideout. Thank you, Mother Nature!

Mid-August came and the squirrels disappeared down into their hybernating dens. (By the way, does anyone know why the critters don't suffocate when three feet of snow cover the ground for weeks?) I've been studying for the next summer season. Gonna hit 'em with a one-two punch next May. They won't even know what hit them.
Tell you about it next summer. If . . . I'm successful.
You never know. They might be sitting down there right now, plotting their next offensive.


  1. Dena, You write so beautifully. I was chuckling throughout this story.

  2. Thanks, Diane. Your comments encourage me to keep on writing.

  3. Awesome story! ...Bill's Uncle in New Jersey deals with groundhogs and moles....he's always looking for ways to get rid of them. are successful, please DO let us in on your secret!