Bill Fischer of Fargo, North Dakota, has a black walnut tree on his property that produces a sizable harvest every two years. He knows this, and the squirrels know it, too.
The tree has become a bit of a welcoming beacon to the red squirrels in the area, and they have, in the past, used Fischer’s truck for storage.
He usually spots them and stops them before they can do too much damage, but this year he went on vacation for four crucial days at the height of squirrel walnut-gathering season.
He came back to quite a sight.
“I’ve learned over the years that when I witness the squirrel under the truck or sitting on a wheel to open the hood and do an inspection before driving away,” the traveling insurance salesman told SWNS, according to People.
“I have in the past used a mixture of cayenne pepper and tabasco sauce in a spray mixture under the hood.”
“Up until this year, it was very effective.”
When he popped the hood of his truck after getting back from his trip on Sept. 12, Fischer was met with hundreds and hundreds of fresh walnuts stuffed into every nook and cranny. There were walnuts in the engine compartment, the fenders, the frame rails, the windshield — all squirreled away by one of the diligent rodents.
It took Fischer seven hours to get the majority of the mess cleaned up, and when he was done, he was left with a staggering amount of walnuts: 182 pounds in total.
“Conversion Mathematics,” Fischer posted on Facebook on Sept. 17. “How many bushels can one red squirrel pick and store in 4 days?
“Hint, look at how many 5 gallon buckets in the pictures. Then add the full inner fenders that I don’t have time today to clean out. Guessing another 1½ to 2 buckets there.
“Curiosity got me, the buckets have an average of 26 lbs in just walnut weight.
“Let me know your answers and as always show your work.”
He posted a follow-up on Facebook featuring his dismantled truck and offering his stash of “all natural Black Walnuts” that had been “[n]aturally grown and now industry 1st, all hand (paw) picked by a squirrel, Red Squirrel to be exact.”
“Hurry as these may have a limited availability as l hear the the hard working furry tree dweller might be retiring soon do to health reasons!” he posted on Sept. 26.
“Also the squirrel is dealing with a caustic work environment due to a relentless micromanaging supervisor of the canine type.”
While many would have been less than thrilled to spend time cleaning up the mess, Fischer has maintained a good sense of humor regarding the incident.
“I could only laugh at the situation as it has occurred in the past,” he said, according to People.
“Some insulation has been chewed for nesting, but so far, nothing keeps it from being drivable.
“Life is too short not to laugh at it!”