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A long time ago, I was a child. (I started out as Cathy First from Colon, Mi.) For the past several years I’ve been an adult. A lot of things went on between those two stages of life; probably no more or no less than anyone elses. My husband and I moved to “da U .P” from southern Lower Michigan several years ago (yes we were trolls at one time). We owned and operated and operate Clementz’s Northcountry Campground and Cabins just north of Newberry, Michigan until May 2015. We have grown kids and grandkids (who all live downstate). My passion is life and all that Nature has to offer us and trying to photograph it in unique ways. Our intention in life is to see all that Nature has to offer us. We hope that you will be a part of our adventures as we cruise through our lives together. Come back often!

Thursday, April 09, 2009



Recently Shellmo had a cute photo on her blog of a little red squirrel. Her photo and some of the comments reminded me of OUR experience with a cute little squirrel. So, here is the rest of the story....please remember that this was posted a couple of years ago so the wording won't be current...

Yesterday, while getting the 2nd cabin ready for guests to arrive, I thought I better check the first cabin.

I opened the door and walked in and was essentially hit in the face with a roll of toilet paper! There was confetti ALL over the place. And little pieces of pine cones! Cleaning rags were stuffed in the toilet! One whole roll of toilet paper was completely gone and the other one had been chewed in such a fashion that it resembled a petite 5 layer wedding cake.

No, I hadn’t heard horses the day before. What I had heard was an enthusiastic squirrel who probably thought she’d died and gone to heaven. She had to have been swooning with rapture with her amazing discovery. And I’m sure she was exceptionally proud of her accomplishments. This cabin was her idea of utopia. She had found her hidey hole for the winter.

We immediately nicknamed her “SECRET SQUIRREL”.

I had Dan come out to survey the mess and to try to figure out HOW a squirrel could have gotten in the cabin! The floors are thick hardwood floors, the cabins are made out of logs. The ceiling is made out of the same material as the floor. There just was not any way possible for a squirrel to get in that cabin! Everything is sealed tight!

Dan is a pretty smart guy and keeps me calm when I start to come unglued. It took him all of about 5 minutes to figure out where the squirrel was getting in. This is going to be hard to explain but I will try. The showers in the cabins are “built in”, meaning we created a “box” around the fiberglass showers (the “box” is constructed out of wood of course). On the plumbing side of the shower, the copper lines run up the outside of the shower. That part is covered with water resistant drywall. There is about a 5” by 8” hole cut in the drywall where the water lines come out of the shower and run into the water heater. There is a small space between the floor of the shower and the actual floor of the cabin (are ya with me so far??). Then there is the shower drain that runs under the cabin and into the sewer line.

That squirrel was squeezing between the outside of the PVC pipe and the hole that the pipe went through! Once inside the cabin, the squirrel was underneath the shower, then crawled over to the plumbing and shimmied up the pipes and into the cabin! Then all hell broke loose!

It was NOT that many days ago that I had been out and cleaned the cabin so if torn up toilet paper and rags stuffed in the toilet was all the damage there was, we were thrilled. True, it would require us washing all the bedding, just to be on the safe side, but that still wasn’t bad when you think about it. The squirrel must not have been in there very long; there were no other “tell tale” signs of the squirrel.

Dan figured he could easily solve the problem by placing metal flashing around the hole where the drain pipe comes out of the shower. To do this would require him crawling underneath the cabins. But before he did this, he thought he better check to make sure the squirrel wasn’t behind that drywall.

He removed the drywall and there was a “nest” built behind that wall. He looked a bit further, around the backside of the shower (as far as he could see without taking the tongue and groove boards off the backside) and he could see more shredded toilet paper, pine cones and rags. So he removed all of that. There was more nesting material along the backside. Dan could see it continued on around the other side as well. By the time he got all of the tongue and grove pine planks removed and pulled out all the pine cones, rags, shredded up toilet paper, he had filled two 13 gallon trash bags! (This is a 36” shower so she had a LOT of things stored on 3 sides of it.) PLUS he had to use the sweeper to get in, around, and under and we ended up having to change the sweeper bag!

The project, from beginning to end, took Dan almost 6 hours! JUST DUE TO ONE DARN LITTLE FEMALE SQUIRREL!! And yes we KNOW it was a female because she does not exist anymore. She won’t be dancing her way up the plumbing with bits of elastic and rubber bands or plastic forks!

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  1. Oh my gosh! What a funny tale! They are so resourceful, aren't they? I watch the chipmunks in our yard and trying to get at the birdseed, and they are quick and busy busy busy all day long.
    I hope he got all the possible nesting places possible...but I have a feeling there is (like the late Paul Harvey)...the rest of the story...
    The Retirement Chronicles

  2. Wow - what a story!! And to think of more damage she could've done!!!

  3. Retired One and Shellmo. We were very fortunate that we caught it when we did and that we had time to get the cabin cleaned and sanitized before the next guests arrived the next day.

    The hardest part was getting her to hold still to take that photo!


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