Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Winning the wildlife war; nature returns

I finally had a squirrel-free moment, not something that happens around here very often.

There is no body count, but my trusty pellet gun does scare them away for long periods of time.

These front yard bird feeders get most of the action, by both birds and the beast squirrels.

I awoke yesterday morning to find the red (squirrel-proof) feeder, you know, the one with the springs attached so the door closes to the food when a squirrel steps on it. Well, not my squirrels. They drop the thing to the ground and work it until they break the door and the perch right off. The entire mechanism was completely broken; its screws who knows where. I hope they ate those too and get a belly ache from them.

I had to figure out a way to fix the thing, using what I had available. I found a screw and nut that was way too big for the hole, so I just made the hole bigger. The squirrels knocked the baffle to the ground in their quest for one more sunflower seed. The vertical feeder is their actual destination and they will destroy anything to get to it.

I was shocked to wake up this morning to find the feeders still in-tact and the baffle still in place. Often times, the raccoons will come in the night and are even more destructive than the squirrels. I always know when they were here because the feeders are lying empty, somewhere in the woods.

Ah, the beauty of living in the country. Still, I wouldn't change it for anything.

For a time I moved that vertical feeder to the front porch. I hung it from the eaves. The squirrels did their best but had a hard time reaching it. I got tired though of sweeping birdseed from the porch every day. The squirrels were content to eat the seed that fell on the ground, but because they were attracted to the front porch they found other things to eat, like all the flowers I had in pots--all gone, except for one--a pink begonia. Either they don't like begonias or they just didn't get to it yet. All the breakable pots are broken too, by the way.

All is not lost however. I saw my very first Monarch hanging around the Butterfly Bush. I've heard gardening experts say to get rid of these bushes because they are non-native and invasive. I say heck no--this bush is right in front of the porch and it thrives every year. It attracts butterflies, moths, bees, and hummingbirds.

Speaking of hummers, I was distressed at not having very many of them this year. That is so odd, since we always have them buzzing all around the front porch. It occurred to me though, that they don't like being in the same flyway as the bigger birds who were eating at the feeder on the porch. Once I moved the feeder back to the front yard, the hummers started to return. I now have a healthy supply of them busily feeding at each feeder, flying away, and then returning.

When the squirrels and raccoons are eating the flowers, the deer usually make gluttons of themselves as well. I started spraying a natural deer repellent spray on my plants, so hopefully I can turn my black thumb back to green.

It was a pleasant surprise to see something blooming for a change. It has been months since a flower dared to show its pretty head around here.

The venerable Crepe Myrtle shown here is always pretty. I love these bushes. I am always so amazed at how they don't seem to care how hot it gets. They just keep on blooming.
What a wonderful plant!

One day, a grouping of these Bare Naked Ladies (lilies) appeared. I'm not sure if I planted them or they just appeared. Wouldn't it be funny if the squirrels left me a present?
Hah, doubt that; I probably just planted them and forgot about it.
Either way, I adore lilies, so I can't wait to see if they come up again next year.

This Passion Flower vine finally made itself known. I was starting to wonder. I inspected the area, where I first planted it three years ago, regularly only to find one or two shoots coming up. This year, the vine exploded and bloomed. I think it is about the third year for this beauty.
They say it is invasive, but that's fine by me.
Bring it on; I have lots of room for pretty, delicate, purple flowers.

I've been trying to grow Cone Flowers ever since I first saw them filling a field. The color is my favorite and I am always delighted to see them. Every year I fight with the deer who just love to eat them. I haven't seen many deer this year, either because of the spray I put around my flower beds or the more than likely the war I'm having with the squirrels. Either way, I'm so glad these were able to stand up to show how pretty they are.