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Life in the Green Zone

Jon de Vos / The Friday Report
Fraser, CO Colorado

My wife has created an impenetrable zone of defense around her lettuce. She watches for chipmunks like a North Korean general facing south and scanning the horizon for anything that moves. It’s a war on rodents and God help the defenseless chipmunk.

This next part’s a little eerie but I’ve seen it myself.

Should the rodent possess the audacity to wander near her vegetable “assets,” my wife can actually clench her fists and mentally drive the intruder into a strategically positioned trap. Kid you not. Encourage her and she’ll do it at parties.

It’s a humane, live trap, of course. Inmates receive a wholesome dollop of peanut butter before being extradited into more-or-less friendly but unnamed territories where they are dumped into the general population to fend for themselves.

Sometime back around 2005 my wife decided that our backyard was no place to raise a baby carrot: It was overrun with chipmunks and squirrels, punctuated by the occasional moose, deer, elk, bear and raccoon. But most of all it was the rodents that grated upon her soul, while dining on her parsley.

“It’s them or me,” she proclaimed one morning. I hesitated, perplexed at not knowing if I was supposed to choose. The North Korean general turned to me with a steely glare and thrust out two Havahart traps holding a chipmunk and a squirrel in turn, “Make them disappear,” she commanded.

After a long journey, they wound up in Guantanamo. Well, that’s not right, they wound up way the heck up County Road 50, west of Fraser. The squirrels I release on a lovely pull-out overlooking Young Life, satisfied in the knowledge that they would have a good, Christian background.

Chipmunks only have to go as far as the rich people’s gate. It’s bristling with security cameras but I just wave as the little rodents scamper up the drive. Since the rich have exempted themselves from taxes, they should be able to trickle down to the least of us.

So you can stop beating the gardener, Mister Rich Person, I am the sole reason your petunias are being poached. If you, or your cadre of attorneys, are planning some 12-figure civil suit, just remember that, of course, Jon de Vos is simply the nom de plume of gadabout, playboy-editor, Drew Munro.

On the other hand, if Mr. RP made his bucks in petroleum, he probably won’t care, because since summer of 2006, I have relocated 246 chipmunks and 44 squirrels. Hard to believe, but true. The chipmunk’s round trip is 5.8 miles, the squirrels go 6.6. This works out to a total just over 1,716 miles and 108 gallons of gas costing about 400 bucks. The whole ordeal has taken 57 hours of driving time out of my life.

“Wasn’t that a delicious salad?” she asked. I considered the question. In one sense, it was a delightful salad, fresh, crisp and flavorful. But in another sense, I’d driven almost 2,000 miles to eat it.

That made it fabulous.


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