Recycling Trail Mix: The Chipmunk Will Eat It

Last spring, I bought a large bag of trail mix from the wholesale club. We ate a little of it and didn’t like it. What to do with a ten-dollar bag of trail mix that you don’t like?

My husband’s suggestion: maybe The Chipmunk will eat it.

Ever since I moved into our condominium when Leo and I got married sixteen years ago, I’ve been enjoying The Chipmunk’s occasional brief appearances. I know that chipmunks live only about three to five years in Northeast Ohio’s climate, so the one we’re seeing now is several generations removed from The Original Chipmunk, but who can tell — he sure looks like his mommy and daddy.

Chipmunk eating nut

Trail mix doesn’t last long when there’s a chipmunk around. Photo credit: Gilles Gonthier

We’ve grown fond of the little critter, especially since the day thirteen years ago when he and my final cat faced each other through an open doorway and decided to let well enough alone. The Chipmunk went back to his lair under the garage, Muffy came back inside and curled up on the couch.

In the years since, I’ve put various nutty/fruity leftovers out onto the patio, and The Chipmunk, or some other beastie, has made them go away. Once in a great while I’d be rewarded by the sight of him stowing the goodies into his little chipmunk cheeks.

So last spring I poured a couple of tablespoons’ worth of the untasty trail mix onto a plastic lid left over from a can of salted cashews and placed it on the patio about where Chippy disappears into the shrubbery. I checked it every couple of hours, and, later that day, the dish was almost empty.

From time to time this summer I’ve set more of the trail mix out on the patio, and it reliably disappears. The bag is finally running low, and this afternoon I put out what may be Chippy’s second-last serving. About ten minutes later I glanced out the back door and watched as he dashed out of the shrubbery hell-bent for the stand of mint growing behind the grill. Leo joined me to see him get halfway there, stop, lift his head, taste the air, and hang a sharp left for his plate o’ goodies. The plate’s about half-empty now — he can stuff only so much into those little cheeks — but I’m sure that by bedtime it will all be gone.

Once I empty the bag, I know I won’t be able to abandon him. I guess I’ll just have to start doling out the walnuts I’ve been saving for the cookies I never seem to bake. And maybe next spring I’ll buy him another bag of trail mix.


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