As I finished the last of the holiday baking, I caught sight of a single squirrel scampering on the back porch. He jumped up onto the bench to get a drink of water from a heated bird bath. He headed for the bird feeders to search for a snack.
Several years ago, I had the bright idea I would construct a gingerbread house for the wildlife. The walls and roof were made of three year old cookie rectangles. John glued the pieces together with super glue. Once the house was finished, I started the decorating.
First the outside was coated with lard and peanut butter. Bird seed sprinkled on the top to give the feeling of texture and color to the roof. The windows were etched with black sunflower seeds. Final touches of a wreath of pretzel pieces on the door and mini-marshmallows around the edge of the walls.
We put it out on Christmas Day to see how the birds and Squirrels would respond. They avoided the new object but the smell of peanut butter attracted the squirrels.
Day after day the house was eaten. First went the sugar and salt. Then the seeds on the roof. Finally the edges of the roof and walls were chewed. One morning, I looked out to see a fat squirrel sitting inside the cookie house chewing on a back wall. A heavy rain that evening put an end to the house.
I smiled as I looked up to see the squirrel watching me. Opening the cabinet, I found a couple of walnuts. Smiling , I tossed them to the squirrel.
“Here is something that is good for you. “
He sat , waiting for more.
“Ok, is this what you want?”
I rolled a pfeffernusse cookie across the porch floor. He scurried to retrieve the cookie and the nuts, I thought,”Once exposed to sugar, they can smell it,”
Below is the audio file of the family recipe for Pfeffernusse spicy cookie balls. They can be enjoyed by more that the squirrels.