Friday, December 12, 2008

Ever wonder where chipmunks and squirrels hide their nuts? Wonder no more.

When the turn signal and windshield wipers went out on Hope Wideup's car, she didn't think much of it. It was a 2004 with about 60,000 miles, just about the right age and mileage for some minor problems to crop up. What the DeMotte resident didn't expect was what she discovered under the hood of her vehicle.

Nuts, black walnuts, and lots of them. "There were thousands in there. They were everywhere," Wideup said.

Now, $242 in car repairs and towing later, Wideup thinks she has figured out just how those walnuts made their way to her car. Wideup speculates it all started in the fall when a chipmunk snatched a garden glove from her yard. She tried to chase the creature and get it to drop the glove, but then decided since winter was coming the chipmunk might need it for a nest.

She later found the glove in the engine compartment of her car when she was trying to repair the broken turn signal. Since she couldn't fix the turn signal, Wideup let the car sit unused for a couple weeks before dealing with the minor repairs. When she went to start the vehicle, the engine made a huge revving sound.

It was at that time she looked under the hood again to find a sea of black walnuts filling the entire engine compartment. Apparently this little guy stuffed a bunch of these nuts in the accelerator throttle," Wideup said, which caused the engine revving.

Wideup said so far the chipmunk hasn't returned. She is alternating her two cars so one doesn't sit too long. In the meantime, she is taking the situation in stride. "This time of year I surely wasn't prepared for that $242.08 expense," she said. "It's funny, but it's not."


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