Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dang Varmints!

The first couple years that after we moved to Ridgehaven Lane, our garden life was pretty simple. Surprisingly, we had no creatures wreaking havoc on our plants. Well I guess, we really didn't have many plants. We had trees, lots of them. We had evidence of deer going thru the yard but there really wasn't anything for them to feast on. Slowly as we added gardens, shrubs and trees to the property, we've also added more wildlife. Today we are dealing with woodchucks, deer, rabbits, chipmunks, skunks and squirrels to name a few. We had little rabbit activity until year two of our tulips. Year one, the rabbits didn't know the tulips were here. Now every spring, we can't get out there fast enough to put a spray (wolf urine, ick!) on the tulips. Our current nemesis is a squirrel. We had a good week of watching the woodpeckers on their feeders before two squirrels moved onto our property. Now Jeff and I are in a battle of wits with the big squirrel. We now have found two of our woodpecker feeders on the ground. Two weeks ago, we spent some decent money of squirrel guards for the bird house and woodpecker feeders. So far, the big squirrel has managed to maneuver around two of the three the guards. You can see how the squirrel has managed to pull the woodpecker feeder up higher onto the tree limb to get at the food.

We are fighting a loosing battle in our orchard. The birds pick off our cherries. The rabbits chew on the bottom of the tree and the deer feast on the top. We had so much damage to a pear tree by both rabbits and deer that we may never see fruit on that tree. This is only year two for our apple trees and you can see that the deer are very kind. They have broken the lead branch completely in half. Jeff is considering taking out both apple trees and starting over. While in Minnesota this past weekend, we did get better ideas how to fence in the trees from the deer.

Last week, I spied a skunk in the yard. We have seen evidence of the digging but never had seen them. Since I have been on squirrel watch for the last few weeks, I have a habit of walking to the windows early in the morning to see if we have been outfoxed. Well I managed to find the skunk digging for grubs in the back yard. The picture is a little hard to see since it is about 6 am.

The picture of the evergreen trees shows where the woodchuck lives. Yes, you little bastard, I know which tree you live under. That spruce tree is not doing very well. You can tell it is getting more barren at the bottom of the tree. Jeff did kill one two years ago. After he shot it, he wondered if it was illegal to kill them or not. Those little suckers are fast. They hear Jeff slam the door when he's got his gun and the run for the spruce trees.

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