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About my Beware The Squirrel blog

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with squirrels for over 30 years. This is an introduction to my Beware The Squirrel blog.

Illustration of squirrel jumping on startled figure who is leaning back in terror from her computer screen.

About Debbie

(Bio kindly provided by my friend Bruce Macintosh – It remains one of my favourite bios ever, and I hope to use it in a book someday.)

“Deborah Ohi was born in 1837 in an underground city founded by a tribe of lost Japanese-Welsh seafarers on the site that now holds Toronto. She was raised from birth to be the champion of her people in their struggle against the Great Squirrel Queen, but lost most of her memories in 1972 in a mysterious asparagus accident and hence has no idea why squirrels continue to infiltrate her walls, or why nuts glow in her presence. She is a talented illustrator, and can metabolize several kinds of bark. She lives in Toronto with her husband Jeff.”

For more info about Debbie and her projects, please see


My love-hate relationship with squirrels began back in my first year Biology course at the University of Toronto, when I was researching the foraging habits of the black squirrels in Queen’s Park. Unaware of the dangers, I ventured in with my notebook and a bag of peanuts. Within minutes, I ended up fleeing, with a crazed squirrel clinging to my leg and the Black Horde in pursuit, my peanuts scattered. 

Fast forward to my first gardening efforts in our new house, when the squirrels would wait until I had nurtured and transplanted young vegetable and herb seedlings outside, then (chortling with mirth, I’m sure) would rip them out and toss them aside. Squirrels invade my basement office, clean out our birdfeeder, bite the heads off tulips, cause power blackouts in our neighbourhood. The war is ongoing.