1. Squirrels send a representative to test our defenses by sneaking into the walnut tree and, if possible, chewing on the shell of a nut.
2. Max, our faithful sentry, sends out the alarm, which otherwise would just sound like really annoying persistent barking (high-pitched, too).
3. Jason or I respond with "Ooooo, there's a squirrel in the tree!" and run for the BB gun (first person there gets to shoot).
4. Many things can and do happen at this point. Sometimes the mere presence of all of us will send the wimpy squirrel scurrying off to the next yard. But sometimes the varmints will freeze, thinking that they become invisible when they do this. Then the fun really begins for our team .
Okay, let me just say here that my goal is truly not to kill the squirrels. It's messy. And when they drop into the yard, the dog gets them, and more than once he has gotten tapeworms from the fleas (yes, squirrels really are that gross). So my objective is to get them to leave the property and never come back. I prefer to send them off with a little reminder in the butt (a shiny round metal reminder, if you know what I mean), so our rule for firing the gun is "Aim for the tail". They are fluffy and make excellent targets. And it usually works! Except when we have to leave the house....then the dog is stuck by himself without the ability to fire the gun. I sometimes imagine a little army of squirrels hiding out by the creek with a lookout saying, "Okay, boys, they're gone!" at which point several come brazenly over the fence, climb the tree and eat nuts to their hearts' content, all the while taunting the dog. I've returned to the house and seen the evidence of this - mainly nut shells all over the cement. And an embarrassed-looking Max. But that's just one battle, and the war for walnuts has just begun.....