Oh, The Critters!


We have a time with the critters around here. I have all but given up on my newly planted strawberry patches. I tried pie plates and streamers. I tried netting with bricks placed all along the bottom edges. I tried a fake black snake. The ornery chipmunks managed to get every one of the strawberries.  Those turning red were the first to go. Finally, they even ate the green ones! Today I ripped up the netting and am trying to make a new use of it.

I am not netting the blueberries. We have a good number blueberries and I have given in to sharing blueberries with the wildlife. However, I do not like to see squirrels climbing up and breaking the branches.

I have a pair of very territorial Cardinals. They call to each other all day long making their presence known so no other birds will come into the area. These dominate Cardinals even fight their reflection in the windows—on all sides of the house. I have tried placing cling stickers on windows to keep them from pecking at the windows. This system works for the Tom Turkeys in the early spring when they, too, are defending their territory from THEMSELVES. The turkeys are bad to mess up my front porch stoop with piles of pooh and will bloody the full-glass storm door if I don’t keep cling stickers in place. It does not matter if the stickers celebrate St. Patrick’s Day or Easter—as long as something is on the window.

I thought the stickers would work to keep the Cardinals from pecking at the windows with their strong, little yellow beaks. But no! I decided to “let it go” and “let the Cardinals be” until a couple of mornings ago when they discovered my bedroom window at 6 a.m.! From this moment the war was ON. The stickers did not seem to work for the Cardinals, so today I have taken the next step. I moved the net, in which the ground hog tore a big hole, from the strawberries to the bedroom window. It is currently flapping in the breeze and will hopefully discourage the 6 a.m. “nature sound” wake-up call.

Leaning out the second story window, I was carefully positioning the netting when a wasp flew into the house! The wasps and I have gone around and around for years. It is my opinion they (and the spiders) can have all of the trees, bushes and flowers in the surrounding woods as long as they stay away from the eves of the house. This seems like a fair deal to me! But still, they seem to love to build nests near my doors and windows. I don’t like the smell of and the chemicals in those cans of Raid, but I do like the fact they shoot 35 feet into the air. This season I am trying a new approach. I did a test section of eve by wiping a cloth saturated with lavender oil. It seems to be discouraging them from building in the area. However, in many locations I need to reach 35 feet. I recently purchased a super-soaker water gun which claims to reach 35 feet. I plan on filing it with a water and lavender oil mixture and soaking everywhere I do not want the insects building. More on how this works out in a future Blog.

Don’t get me started on the pack of crows that ate every cherry on the tree before I even realized the cherries were ripening! I was busy in the greenhouse transplanting and one day those blossoms became red cherries without my even noticing. The crows know I did not want them in the tree. When I go out in that direction, they caw-caw at me as if to say, “Go away from our tasty treats.” Crows are smart. They love to eat sweet corn seeds,  in particular. They even distinguish between run-of-the-mill seeds and the organic, specialty seeds. They sit in the trees and watch until when they see Robert and I leave the garden, then they swoop down and eat the seed of their choice. The minute we come back, they fly up into the trees again.

The best crop we ever had of growing sweet corn was devoured in one evening by the raccoons—just hours before we were prepared to harvest it. There must be an app for that called “Sweet Corn Ripe At Cane Creek Asparagus.” After years of trying, this is one fight we KNOW we cannot win. Needless to say, we are no longer growing sweet corn.

Years ago when we started our first orchard, we planted the trees along the creek berm. They were getting a good start assisted by our watering them. One day we discovered the trees missing and gnawed, pointy stakes in their place. If you know anything about beavers, you know why our apple trees disappeared. Robert had to get a boat and go into the creek to tear down the Beaver Lodge. Revenge is sweet! The beavers smartly decided to move on down the creek to a more hospitable location.

Currently, I see a ground hog in my miniature peach tree. It makes a good lookout for him apparently. I would not dare to shoot the critter as there are too many glass windows and rocks which could cause a dangerous ricochet.

Robert has figured out how to install a seven-foot deer fence around the Spring Gardens. It seems the deer are only interested in lettuces and peas and such. Of course, this fence will not keep out the rabbits and squirrels.

Last week we found a snake skin in the front yard about five feet in length. I am pinning my hopes on him. I trust he is hungry and will eat a lot of small varmints this summer on his way to six feet.