First, I must thank those who are on my quest to stop the Midnight Marauder, who came into my life at 5 a.m., when he and I were reaching for the same cookie. We, meaning a large dog, a larger cat, and a regular cat, have not gotten him. And Bill and I are soft trap people, but I am now plagued with squirrels, so I am asking those who were part of “May the 4th be with you” help me not fail.

To James T., I followed your advice and put peanut butter dipped in oatmeal in a tender trap. My James, the cat, with peanut butter on his mouth said, “Thank you, it was delicious.” I have not turned to the dark side yet, but it is close because… the squirrels are back.

To June C., the method of escorting mice out by taping two paper towel rolls together and as they enter, you rush to seal the ends, was a clever idea. Then you release them away from your home. When and if we catch that little $%@#, I will let you know. And Ali G., thank you for the encouragement and advice. I used the peanuts to lure Midnight out, but both black cats chased the peanuts all over the kitchen floor. Bill stepped on them, and well, you know I can’t type everything he said. Ali told me the story of catching a little devil in Tupperware. I liked that. When I got married 49 happy years ago, I had $76 worth of Tupperware and nothing cooked to put in it. Lately I have cooked all cheesy foods to lure him out: I’ve made grilled cheese, mac and cheese and fondue, but so far no show. Then I remembered how mice like to run on a straight part of a wall. The library was perfect for him to hide. To block his path, I put books from the library in stacks on the floor. They included “Ben and Me” by Benjamin Franklin. OK, I jest.

Did I mention the squirrels are back? I am in my frantic planting mode. I bought Walmart out of red geraniums. According to Google the squirrels won’t eat them. They sure went through petunias and pansies last year. I bought some zucchini squash at Smith’s for my kitchen garden. I left them on an outside table last night and they had their little leaves chewed OFF. “Help Me, Obi-Wan Kenobi!” Every morning I feed the crows and the squirrels a loaf of bread tossed in the front yard. It is kind of like a tribute that the Romans gave to their gods to make a battle go well or remember not go to the Senate on March 15. You know. If it worked for the Romans why not me?

I read up on it this year. I can’t go another summer with no sleep and an air horn leaning out our upstairs bathroom window. According to Google, squirrels will not eat marigolds, geraniums, lily of the valley, daffodils, hyacinth, fritillaries or galanthus. Most but not all are bulbs that you must plant in the fall for the following spring. I did plant pansies and petunias, and to protect them I went to the Dollar Store and bought 10 shaker jars of cayenne pepper. Dust all plants that are in danger. Peppermint is another natural repellent. Get a spray bottle and put in peppermint extract and water. Spray, and at the first sign of destruction, respray the area.

Six years ago, I joined a lovely group of ladies belonging to The National League of American Penwomen. They are artists, journalists, and music composers. They were very kind allowing me to join. To thank them, I asked them out for lunch on our patio. I cooked, put on my best cloth tablecloths and put centerpieces of flowers. I wanted it just right. As I came down the stairs from my kitchen with my hands full of tea sandwiches, the ladies were laughing and one said, “We love your pet squirrel and the way he goes from table to table. He claps his hands and we feed him. How did you get him so tame?”

“But, I don’t have a pet squirrel!” The Penwomen are coming again in September. Anyone need a few dozen squirrels and one mouse? Roaring Mouse, dusting with cayenne.