Last spring - spring of 2012- there was a radiator leak, so we let it sit for a while. When we opened the hood to replace it, the entire engine compartment was stuffed full of pinecones. Everywhere. Tightly, and with skill.
The culprit? The squirrel of doom.
She's a cute little thing, who spent last spring and summer yelling at the chickens for being in her yard.
Here she is, getting her yell on.
And she loves pincones. She spent a good part of the fall and winter sitting on the railing, chewing up pinecones. We had a pile of pincone bits in various places along the railing for the deck; if you cleaned them off, she took it as a challenge and went and refilled that spot.
But sometime mid winter, she disappeared. We figured she'd finally gone to hibernate, or have babies (we'd seen her chasing about with about with a boy squirrel for a couple weeks in the summer.) No more chattering screams at us. In fact, we missed her this spring and summer. Until today.
After fixing the radiator, the car had other issues, and since I often drive several hours away for work, we decided not to risk it. So my car sat from July of last year until July of this year, when we were able to get it fixed, thanks to my dad's assistance.
Of course, once again, there were pinecones under the hood. We cleaned most of them out; the repair shop washed out the rest.
And then we opened up the car to start actually using it. And in the third row of seats, we found more pinecones. Stuffed under the seat, stuffed in the seat, under an empty box. We were baffled - how did she get in the car? So I cleaned most of them out, took the car to vacuum it. I figured this was done.
I went out to fold down all the seats in the van so we could go out and get the plywood for the new chicken coop. In vans like mine, there is a platform for the middle seats that opens up to a compartment the individual seats fold into. Inside the compartment, we found this:
The other seat was folded in, and also had pinecones packed in around it. So I opened the other side.
The underside of the seat has been torn up. Luckily, the seat was otherwise intact. Here's the view looking through the storage space.
They were packed in so tight, I had to break them apart to get them out! Here's the pile of pinecones after they were all cleaned out.
A little while later, one of the adolescent chickens started to run across the yard at high speed after something - it was our squirrel! She'd come down to get one of the pinecones we'd so kindly unearthed for her! Something has happened to her though - she tried to yell at the chicken, but her voice is very quiet and rather harsh. Clearly, she got lucky.
Now, if we could only figure out HOW she got into the van to store all those pinecones!
So now, my van is in full working order and pinecone free, ready for my first day back to work tomorrow.