There’s a scale model of Mount Fuji growing in our backyard.

When my beloved wife, Marsha, and I moved into our house over two decades ago, one of the first things we did was to put up a bird feeder. It came with directions.

“Who needs directions to put up a bird feeder?” I said. “I’ll pound the pole into the ground and hang the thing up.”

“It says here…” said Marsha, the Rule Keeper, who is already reading the directions.

“Bah!” I said.

“It says here that the distance from nearby trees and shrubs is important. If it’s too close, squirrels will be able to jump onto the bird feeder,” she said. “We don’t want that!”

Our neighborhood has more squirrels than people.

The directions were simple, telling me how far to place the pole from the house, trees and shrubs. I went out in the backyard with my tape measure. What I discovered was there was only one possible place to sink the pole in the ground. That’s where it has been ever since.

For over twenty years, the birds have been spilling sunflower husks, seeds, and their own doo-doo under the feeders hanging from the pole. The squirrels do a good job of policing the ground beneath the feeders for whole seeds, leaving more seed shells and their own doo-doo.

Hence, Mount Fuji. The perfect cone-shaped mound of super-enriched, seed enhanced soil keeps growing and growing without the need for magma, hot lava, smoke or fire.

The grass on our cold-fusion Fuji is dark green and lush.

We see towhees, chickadees, nuthatches, titmice, cardinals, goldfinches, house finches, starlings, downy woodpeckers, blue jays, orioles, buntings, sparrows and on and on goes the list. The birds brighten our days, and so do the squirrels.

Gray squirrels (most of which are black in our area), fox squirrels and red squirrels dash around the yard, run expertly from picket to picket along the top of our fence, and delight us with their antics in the trees and their territorial spats on the ground.

Birds and squirrels — all pigs. They don’t clean up after themselves. They don’t use napkins to wipe their avian and rodent chins. They toss perfectly good seeds on the ground, along with empty husks and doo-doo. They are voracious. They express no appreciation whatever for the expense of time and money we incur on their behalf.

They complain loudly when the feeders are empty. Mount Fuji grows and grows, one millimeter at a time.

Mowing the grass around the feeder becomes challenging, and sometimes I’m cutting more sunflower sprouts than grass.

On very rare occasions, a squirrel will figure out a way to get to the top of the pole to raid the mother lode of seeds and suet. When that happens, I spray the cone-shaped squirrel baffle that is clamped halfway up the pole with silicon to make it slippery. I’ve even coated the pole with petroleum jelly.

From time to time a visiting raccoon or opossum will also breach the defenses. When that happens, the feeders get totally destroyed. The wire baskets in which I place suet cakes have twice over the years simply disappeared, leaving a straightened hook dangling from the pole.

The never-ending show is such a pleasure it makes the effort and expense worthwhile. Best of all, one of these days I’ll start charging to let tourists climb to the top of our Mount Fuji. I’ll use the money to buy more seeds.

Jim Whitehouse lives in Albion.