I live and write on Lingít Aaní, and gratefully acknowledge the past, present and future caretakers of this beautiful place, the Jilkaat Kwaan and Jilkoot Kwaan.

The squirrels are eating my neighbor’s beloved strawberries. She is very handy with power tools, and built a hinged cage made of 2X2s and hardware cloth to keep them out. But squirrels are crafty, and have managed to sneak in anyway. Not only are they stealing the biggest, just barely ripe berries,but out of spite, or maybe for sport, they pull off the green ones nearby and toss them in the dirt.

My neighbor is a master gardener. I am not. My strawberries are not very big, and they do not attract squirrels. (Maybe because hers are so nice?) The Robins like them though, and the other morning every crow from Mud Bay Road to Pyramid Harbor descended on the branches of my two big Bing cherry trees and plucked off just about all the hard green cherries on them.

I have sort of given up when it comes to garden pests.

My neighbor has not.

She invested in Havahart live traps. The plan was to catch the squirrels and drop them off down the road somewhere, maybe out by the cannery. I told her that another friend and now former neighbor, Betty, who moved to the assisted living home last year, used to get very angry at the squirrels stealing her wild bird food from the chickadees, nuthatches and juncos. She caught them in live traps too, and drove them out to that same cannery cove and dropped them off in the woods nearby.

“They came back.”

“How did she know they were the same squirrels?”

“She had a hunch, so she spray painted one when it was in the trap, and sure enough, a squirrel with an orange back showed up a few days later.”

“I caught one with orange paint on it the other day,”  my neighbor said. “He was very fat.”

The next time we spoke my neighbor was all smiles, and said she solved the problem. Squirrels need to be re-homed ten miles away. How did she know that? “Google.” (The Cannery is only about three from here.) She was especially  happy, because she hired a friend who is an unemployed massage therapist ( thanks to Covid-19) that is now running errands on her electric powered bicycle– to transport the squirrels to a far away place with fresh water, wild berry bushes, and tall spruce trees full of cones. It costs 20 dollars a trip. So far, six squirrels have gone off to this new summer camp.

“It’s worth every cent,” my neighbor, who is also a vegetarian, said.

May I please tell you how grateful I am to live in a place with such good women? And especially how happy I am to have a very fine neighbor who loves her strawberries, friends, and yes, her enemies, this much?