Oh Nuts!


The squirrels that frequent my backyard are busy this time of year. I watch them scurry about and remember the time I found one stuck in a most unfortunate place…

When we purchased our one-room schoolhouse on Pelee Island it had already been converted to a residence but the bathroom was in major need of renovation. Lucky for us, (Sarcasm or not, you decide.) I think its condition scared off many otherwise interested buyers. The vanity was old and decrepit. The shower was tiny and moldy. The floors slanted and the ceiling leaked. The toilet was its crowning glory. Not just any toilet. It was a circa 1972 compost toilet. We liked to call it our “indoor outhouse”. Standing roughly 32” off the floor, there was a step to climb up upon “the throne” and a hand crank acted as a flush. All this was vented up to the ceiling, through the attic and out to the roof. To fully appreciate this story you have to understand the height I’m talking about – approximately 30’ from toilet to roof.

Returning one spring to open up the house for the season, I checked the bathroom to see how it had fared through the winter. I opened the toilet lid and looked inside expecting to see compost. It took me a while to understand what I was looking at. Could it be? I grabbed a flashlight. Yup, definitely a squirrel, lying face down, spread eagle in the compost. The poor thing had made its way into the vent stack and had fallen 30’ into a heap of compost. I had to wonder, did it die of a massive coronary? Or did it spend some days thrashing around? In any case, it’s a pretty crappy way to die.




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