Squirrel Away 9/10

Squirrel Away 9/10
Claudette Pelletier-Hannah
September 2010


Every fall the neighborhood squirrels and I face off in a battle of pinecones. They chuck them down from the treetops to land on our roof, grass and most importantly our patio, where they leave a horrible, sticky mess, until such time they stash some of them away for the winter. Unless, . . . of course, . . . I get them first.

Besides the sap, I worry about where those pesky little guys might be nesting. Not in my house!! They can do a lot of damage. So I scoop up the cones as fast as I can.

As I have violent thoughts about these beady eyed, fluffy-tailed rodents, I know that I am not yet enlightened. I’m working on it. But in the meanwhile, what am I to do?

Squirrels and pinecones vastly outnumber me. The only saving grace is that the number of pinecones on our trees is finite. The conflict, at least at this address, will have an end.*

I’m not worried about the squirrels. Our neighborhood is loaded with squirrel food and my neighbors aren’t near as stubborn as I am.

I feel a little smug here in my cozy, year-round shelter with a supermarket nearby. Though it doesn’t always feel like it, I will not freeze or go hungry. And neither will you.

Unlike squirrels, we have unlimited access to food sources all year round. Food is everywhere we look. Unless you’re planning to hibernate, you don’t need to hoard food like a squirrel obsessed. You will not likely ever go hungry.

This means you don’t need to stash food in your purse, desk drawer or car. It’s okay and actually a healthy sign, to feel hungry now and then. Just don’t let yourself get ravenously hungry and you will remain in charge.

You also don’t need to purchase warehouse-size quantities of food for your fridge, freezer or pantry. Studies show that buying larger packages mean you cook larger quantities. The more you cook/serve the more you eat.**

Three things to do instead of obsessive hoarding like a backyard squirrel

  • Consider the abundance of food available. Think also about how much food you need.
  • Practice tuning in to your body to detect hunger, instead of listening to stories from your mind about why you should eat. Doing so will help you eat for the right reason – hunger, versus stress, loneliness, boredom . . .
  • Eat slowly and mindfully until you are satisfied. This will ensure you enjoy your food more, consequently eating less. You don’t need to overeat because you can eat again when you’re hungry. Abundance, remember?

It sounds simple; I know it’s not. But you can do this. Before you know it you’ll be swinging from the treetops. Just don’t be chucking anything on my patio, alright?


* Update  – We moved in 2011. There are no pine cones on our brand new patio. (See photo.) To read last year’s article about the beginning of construction, click “The Power of Vision – or How I Nearly Killed my Husband,”  10/13.

** Dr. Brian Wansink, Professor of Consumer Behavior at Cornell University, proved that people given larger packages of pasta, sauce and ground beef prepared 23% more, around 150 calories, than those given smaller packages. And then they ate it. On average, people eat 20 – 25 percent more from larger packages or serving dishes. And the numbers are even higher for snack foods.



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