Since our last meeting, the squirrels were ahead 2 to 1. Travis had gotten a cotton ball soaked in stink bomb solution into the hole. While at first, it seemed like they didn't care, we didn't hear anything from them for awhile so we thought they had finally left. We still heard them on the roof and in the trees behind the house, but not in the chimney.
Travis: 2; Squirrels: 2
Then, shortly after Christmas, they returned. We had decided enough was enough. We called a couple of pest control companies to see what it would cost to have the hole patched. Unfortunately, all the places we called (3 or 4) told us that they would not come out just to patch the hole. In order for it to make it worth while for them, they were going to need to squirrel proof the entire house. We loved that idea, but we didn't love the cost - $1,500+ - which we didn't, and still don't have in cash.
Travis has been shooting blow gun darts around the hole all week in an attempt to deter them from going back into the hole. This has not been working. Today, he came up with another idea. He remembered we have a ton of bottle rockets leftover from a firework run we made a couple of years ago. He decided to rig a launch tube from the PVC pipe used previously and attempt to aim one into the hole to scare (or possibly kill) them, which at this point, either option is 100% fine by me.
To give you an idea, this is what the above looks like:
The first pack were duds, so he went down and got out a second package. After 2 misses (they're REALLY loud!), he decided it was better NOT to tick off the neighbors (especially since bottle rockets are illegal in Georgia). On the bottom of our chimney, there is an old pipe that we are not quite sure of its purpose. It looks like an old dryer vent outlet, but why would that be attached to our chimney? If we stick something up into the pipe, we reach a block of some sort so it doesn't appear to go all the way to the top of the chimney. Travis decided to try one more thing. He stuck the bottle-rocket-loaded-PVC pipe into THAT pipe in an attempt to scare them off. We have no idea if this has worked or not. All I know is our house now smells like fireworks, and I'm getting a headache. I was also praying he wouldn't burn the house down or blow a hole into our chimney :-)
About halfway through this experiment, I remembered that there is a guy we go to church with who is super handy. An email has been sent to him and we're waiting to hear back. Stay tuned!