Pumpkin massacre

Rosa 'All Ablaze' blazes cherry red in Burke Brothers' Tuscany exhibit, accenting classic Italian elements with bright flowers. (Ron Tarver / Staff photographer)

Meet Scarface, the latest Halloween pumpkin to be mauled by squirrels. This is not a rare occurrence. There's quite a bit of chatter on the blogosphere about it and several preventive measures offered up ... everything from smearing your squash with tabasco sauce and spraying it with rodent repellent to scattering blood meal about and who knows what else. I say, what a waste of beautiful hot sauce and who wants to handle rodent repellent or even blood meal? Scarface appears to be weeping, but it was just this morning's rain. Honestly, squirrels have no shame. I know there are those out there who think they're cute and enjoy feeding them peanuts (roasted better than raw), but being a city girl, I have mostly negative experiences with them. I don't understand their purpose on earth beyond annoying me and lots of others.

They take chunks out of my tomatoes and steal my ripening figs. They dig up my tulip bulbs. Everytime I plant something they pounce on it. They tease kitties. They gorge themselves in bird feeders. They ravage my sunflowers. They even caused loud static on our telephones, an affliction that lasted days and necessitated (I kid you not) four service trips, before the phone company - duh - finally figured out that squirrels had chewed through the plastic cover on the wires. As if that had never happened before in Philadelphia!

So I say, enjoy the hot sauce yourself. Let these critters be. You'll survive. Meanwhile, Scarface's pathetic visage makes a dandy, scary touch for Halloween.