It's a lovely day here. Very springlike, though tomorrow we return to winter for another little while. For reasons other than the beautiful weather, I am reminded of a fourth of July morning several years past. It was then that Ken (crazy man) first startled me shooting squirrels. I know. They're cute little animals. Who couldn't love a squirrel, right? But when their population gets to be too much around your home they can be problematic. They get into things. They mess with (and eat) electrical wires. They chew out the entrance holes in all of your bird houses thus turning them into squirrel houses, which then fall off the trees because the squirrels weigh too much. Plus, when the apples come in they will tote away every single one they can sink their little teeth into--nevermind that the apples are twice the size of their little heads. The thieving of the granny smiths is reason enough for Ken to blast all squirrels with dynamite, but he contents himself picking them off with a shotgun. The problem is, the squirrels aren't stupid. They quickly learned that Ken is harmless without it, but when the shotgun appears they'd better take cover. Ken grew tired of them making a fool of him. Taunting him when he was gunless and completely disappearing when he wasn't. So he decided to try something new. I was ducking for cover and looking for bottle rockets to start zinging around me on that fourth of July morning that Ken first started shooting squirrels from inside my kitchen. He doesn't do it every day. And it's been awhile, but there he was this morning BLAMMING away with the door only partially opened. It's just a really nice day for this time of the year, so I don't think the season is upon us as yet; but soon I'll wake up to the sound of the gunshots with real regularity. Apples will need protecting, after all. The sound of that shotgun unmuffled in my kitchen and the sight of Ken in the doorway will always remind me of that fourth of July. It will always make me feel like some pioneer woman. And it will always make me think that if I were a pioneer woman I'd have a good recipe for squirrel stew. But I don't, and I don't think I want one.