Look, unlike SOME Overlords, I have no problem with squirrels under normal circumstances. They’re usually outdoors, and sort of adorably fluffy, and they generally stay out of my way. Their goals and my goals are rarely in conflict. And that’s the way it should be! Or that’s what I thought, before I heard they were currently engaging in something wholly unforgivable:
They’re fucking with my maple syrup supply.
Now, maybe a viable threat to that sweet, delicious liquid gold isn’t something that sets the vein in your forehead to twitching, but for me that’s, like, A PROBLEM. My house routinely runs out of toilet paper, and butter, and salt, and… food. But nothing sends me to the store faster than running out of maple syrup. Part of that is because I’m a card-carrying Vermont stereotype, and part of that is because I have my priorities straight. I put maple syrup in my coffee, and on ice cream, and in marinades, and in spoons that I then put directly into my mouth-hole when I’m fiending. In the food pyramid of my life, there are separate sections for maple syrup and sriracha, and those sections are near the top because I assume that’s where the really important shit goes (I’m not a dietician). Hell, the only reason I don’t bathe in the stuff is because it’d be cost prohibitive, as opposed to any stray concerns over hygiene or smelling like breakfast all day long. Because I bet I’d smell DELICIOUS.
The point is, I take the security of my maple syrup supply very seriously, which is why I was rather distraught to learn about the low-scale war being waged on New England soil this winter. According to the Associated Press, “an abundant population of squirrels is disrupting plastic sap tubing and spouts at some sugaring operations” in the northeast. BY CHEWING THROUGH THEM. Now, if you’ve never witnessed sugaring in action, this may not resonate with you. But a serious maple sugar operation involves stringing thousands of feet of plastic tubing between countless maple trees to collect sap. And if a line gets damaged, releasing that sweet sap all over the ground, someone has to trudge out into whatever snow the latest Nor’easter has dumped to trace those lines and find the hole — or holes, since the damage could be spread out along the entire run.
And you can’t even blame it on a booming population of squirrels, necessarily, since it doesn’t take a lot of the critters to put a crimp in things. Some operations have thinned out trees other than maples on their lots, to reduce the viable food sources for squirrels (acorns don’t come from maples, after all). But that’s not always feasible, and short of trapping and removing whatever population has taken up residence nearby, there’s not a whole lot that can stop them from coming back and continuing to muck things up even after repairs.
So basically we don’t know exactly WHY the squirrels have chosen this year, of all years, to hit us where it hurts (our/my sweet tooth). And we don’t really know what to do about it. We just have to soldier on, despite these attacks from the tiny woodland terrorists. Because they can take our nuts, but they can NEVER take our freedom… to eat maple syrup in some shape or another, every meal of the day.