The first time I noticed the holes, I couldn’t figure out what they were or where they were coming from. There were dozens of them, about two inches across, scattered throughout my flower beds. It looked like someone had been jumping through my garden with a pogo stick.
“Honey, someone has been jumping through our garden with a pogo stick,” I complained to my husband.
“Yeah, I heard that there was a rash of pogo-stick jumping delinquents in the neighborhood,” he replied.
“Seriously,” I said, dragging him outside to see the mystery holes. “See? Pogo sticks.”
“No… rodents!” he said. “And I’m pretty sure they don’t ride on any pogo sticks, either.”
“Rodents? What, like mice or r-r-r-ats?” I stuttered.
“Nah, it doesn’t look like a rat hole,” said my husband, who apparently had become a rodent expert in the 10 minutes since we had begun discussing the holes. He peered at one of the holes beside an upended begonia. “I think, maybe, chipmunks.”
“Chipmunks?!” I cried. I have to admit I found this news very disturbing. I’d always thought that chipmunks were kind of cute. They were like the more adorable, younger cousins of mean, nasty squirrels who robbed the birdhouse feeders, decimated my Halloween pumpkins and made nests in our attic when I was growing up. As far as I could tell, chipmunks were harmless little guys who frolicked playfully in the yard and occasionally formed high-pitched singing groups led by a guy named Alvin.
Then I became a homeowner. A homeowner who spent a lot of money on nice plants and flowers for her gardens. Suddenly, I realized that chipmunks are not the cute little guys they pretend to be.
In some circles, chipmunks are known as ground squirrels, although to be more accurate, they should be called underground squirrels, because it seems that is where they prefer to spend more of their time — under the ground — or to be more accurate, in holes that they dig right at the base of my expensive plants and flowers.
I decided that they might be cute, but the chipmunks had to go. They were destroying my flowers and making my garden look like a sand trap in the back nine of our local golf course. It was war: the chipmunks or me.
I consulted the internet and found out that there are a number of traps and chemical deterrents I could try, but most of my fellow chipmunk sufferers admitted many of these deterrents don’t work and there are far too many chipmunks to trap all of them. Then I came across this curious little site that proclaimed the wonders of mothballs. The site said to place a bunch of mothballs in the holes around your house and it will keep the chipmunks away.
With few other options, I ran out and bought a big box of mothballs. Then I went around the exterior of the house and dumped them in as many holes as I could find.
Several hours later, my husband got home.
I dragged him back outside to the garden to show him my brilliant solution.
“UGH!” he exclaimed, pinching his nose. “What stinks out here?!”
“Mothballs!” I said proudly. “It’s going to keep the chipmunks away!”
“That’s great, honey,” he said, backing up. “But guess what?”
“It works on husbands, too!”
Tracy Beckerman is the author of the Amazon Bestseller, “Barking at the Moon: A Story of Life, Love, and Kibble,” available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble online! You can visit her at www.tracybeckerman.com. To find out more about Tracy Beckerman and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.