On achieving the shmaltz-grub
Quedar bañada en oro: to be bathed in gold
This expression was used, in one of our telenovelas, by a happy widow speculating on the fabulous inheritance she would shortly be receiving. (This being a telenovela, she, of course, didn't get it - it's all going to a beautiful, deserving daughter born on the wrong side of the blanket.)
In a story from "Motl the Cantor's Son" by Sholem Aleichem a much different sort of widow - a kindly, humble, indigent widow - enthused that her son, by marrying the moustached daughter of a fat crass wealthy baker, was at last falling into a shmaltz-grub.
Shmaltz-grub: a pit of chicken-fat
Sounds a little gross to me, but I thought of it Thursday when Menticia and I came into my house in the early evening and, through the kitchen door, saw a squirrel sitting in the tray of my birdfeeder ecstatically stuffing sunflower seeds into his maw. He had located and attained the shmaltz-grub.
My indignant astonishment - and awe - was owing to the fact that in the seven or eight years since I came up with the perfect anti-squirrel situation, no squirrel has EVER BEFORE managed to get into this feeder. Despite thousands of tries by hundreds of squirrels.
I shouted in rage and banged on the door and the squirrel madly flung itself to the ground and vanished.
Later, when things had quieted down, Menticia and I observed its technique. It climbed the screen on my door (now busted - and there's no moneyback guarantee on damage caused by squirrel attacks), perched on an itty-bitty outdoor light, and launched itself completely horizontally a distance of fully eleven feet. You can see traces of his former launching pad - just the white and black wires now because I instantly took down the light - on the clapboards to the right.
I thought taking down the light would solve the problem, but once the squirrels knew it was possible to achieve the shmaltz-grub their attempts increased exponentially. They threw themselves onto the baffle and, little by little, lowered it somehow (I think) and soon other squirrels, not just the original genius Evel Knievel, were achieving nirvana.
My ex-husband's brother and his wife came to dinner last night and helped me raise the baffle again, but the squirrels were back in the feeder this morning. The brilliant, industrious squirrel community has cracked the code.
I blame this all on Zed. I used to trap squirrels on my porch - I trapped 34 the first year and took them off to establish emigré communities elsewhere. This prevented large-scale assaults on the feeder. But Zed got on me about the poor little orphaned squirrels back home... waiting patiently for their mothers... mothers who were never to return... waiting... waiting...
So I stopped. And now look!
My trap is a bit twisted after assaults by raccoons so it's less perfectly engineered than it used to be. There are chipmunks living here too, now; they're small enough to sneak in, spring the trap, eat peanut butter, and escape through the side.
Here you see three of my opponents, waiting for me to leave. Just another proof that there's no such thing as a happy ending. Or maybe, if you adopt the squirrel's perspective, the moral is exactly al reves.
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