Search May Dreams Gardens

Monday, May 05, 2014


This picture is supposed to remind you of a forest.
I suddenly have an urge to train chipmunks, wild chipmunks, destructive chipmunks, garden-wrecking chipmunks, how to eat out of my hand.

Would you like to know why I have this urge to train chipmunks, wild chipmunks, destructive chipmunks, garden-wrecking chipmunks, how to eat out of my hand?

Thanks for asking.

The other day, I was browsing through the books in a used book stores, in the section marked "Interesting and Old" or something like that, and found a copy of The Years of the Forest by Helen Hoover (1973).

(Personal note... Sigh. How can a book written in a year I remember end up in an "Interesting and Old" section of the bookstore?)

I thought it looked reasonably interesting, so for three dollars, I bought it.

The author, Helen Hoover, who was trained as metallurgist during World War II, moved with her husband, Adrian, to a cabin in the remote woods of Minnesota and lived there for many years.  They didn't have a plan on how they would make a living once they got there. They just decided to move there and figure it out.  Hoover wrote seven books, mostly about living with nature.

In this particular book, The Years of the Forest, Hoover explains how they got the chipmunks to eat out of their hands, to come running up to them begging for food every time they stepped outside. 

Here's how Hoover did it:

"We could hardly keep the kitchen door closed all summer to please the chipmunks, so I began to stand motionless outside after I distributed the food. This was acceptable in a short time. Then I moved my hands a little, and later walked about very slowly. Finally I sat with corn in my hand and my fingers resting on the stones. After reconnaissance, a daring individual ventured to take some of this corn and beat a hasty retreat. Within a few days the adventurer and what must have been all his relatives and friends rushed to the door whenever Ade or I went out and sometimes hopped onto a boot toe to look up in a most appealing way." ~ Helen Hoover, "The Years of the Forest", 1973

I have not actually decided if this is what I really want to do, but at least if I do decide to try to train chipmunks, wild chipmunks, destructive chipmunks, garden-wrecking chipmunks, how to eat out of my hand, I have instructions to follow.

I'll keep you posted.


Beth said...

I'm about half way to training the wild herd of seven that live in my woodpile. Sunflower seeds, that's the trick!

Donna said...

At campsites you can usually find these chipmunks and they are cute there....but my first thought was how can a book from 1973 be old...I am not old and I was in high school then...I'll wait to see what happens Carol.

Jenny Harris said...

They're SO DARNED CUTE! It's hard to remember that they, and their squirrel compadres, are essentially just rats with better costume designers. ;-)

Donna G said...

Fun to see you mention this book; it is a treasured volume in my library. I have read several of her books, and enjoyed them all.

Kathy said...

My friend Bub Morse did this and later regretted it, as the chipmunks not only ate out of her hand, but also ate freely out of her garden as well.

Gail said...

They are cute little rascals and SO danged destructive! This morning one was out and about, saw me coming and hid his head under a leaf with his back end shaking and quivering and very much exposed. When I moved the leaf he looked up at me with inquisitive eyes, then ran in circles until he found a place to hide.

bookworm said...

I am being overrun by chipmunks this spring in my tiny upstate New York yard. In fact, the other day I walked outside and there were two chipmunks doing...well,starting to do what needs to be done to get more chipmunks. I had interrupted a chipmunk romantic interlude and they (and I) didn't quite know what to do. I should have had my iPhone but I probably would have been too startled to take a picture for my blog! Have I no shame?