Crater Lake

Crater Lake
Crater Lake in May

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Squirrels, deer, rabbits, and mosquitos

DSC_0042DSC_0120“Squirrels are nothing more than rats with fuzzy tails that can climb trees”.  This comment was posted on Judy’s blog today and I laughed out loud.  Of course, I also feel that way about deer.  Cute in the forest, far, far away from where I live, but nothing more than big rats with voracious appetites in my yard.

Between the squirrels, the rabbits, the deer, the voles, and the mosquitoes, I often wonder about the joys of living in the forest surrounded by the lovely wildlife. Thanks to the mosquitoes we also have a healthy population of bats, good wildlife of course, but a bit less so when they buzz our heads in the evenings while lounging in the hot tub.

DSC_0029Oh yes, chipmunks as well, lots and lots of them.  Just caught myself in a great big “sigh”. We have a very large hole in the ground along the back property line between the lawn and the forest that also haDSC_0026s some kind of critter playing around that is much bigger than a squirrel and I think bigger than a rabbit.  Abby’s favorite thing is racing out the door to the back yard in pursuit of whatever furry thing is out there.  I have been hearing a lot of owls around lately, many voices of many different types, and am gleefully hoping that they are here because of all the other fuzzy critters that are around.  Help!

Yesterday I sprayed the entire property boundaries with Liquid Fence, sworn to work by my friends in a California forest.  Gerald said he used it all summer last year and the deer ate everything in sight in the neighbors yards and left his alone till he got lazy and quit spraying.  It’s not a cheap endeavor, at 40 bucks for 2 applications, and directions that say “Apply weekly initially, then every three weeks after that”.  I am applying weekly, with special attention to my roses, delphiniums, azaleas, and the baby flowering pear tree that the deer decimated last fall.  Of course we have the greenhouse for the hidden veggies, “nahh na na NA na”!  Other folks who have lived at Rocky Point for 30 plus years have learned to quit trying to grow things that the deer love to eat.  I’m still not that smart.  I WANT my roses and delphiniums, so I will continue to try to outsmart those pesky critters.

DSC_0020DSC_0037When it comes to the squirrels, I think I have won, at least so far.  Of course I don’t have those flying stinkers that seem to be the problem at Al’s place in Ontario.

( If you want to read a great story about Al thinking about simulating one of those flying squirrels, be sure to check out his recent blog.)

I hung a thin wire cable between the trees in the forest, just beyond the grass, and so far the poor squirrels are completely stumped and reduced to foraging on the ground for what is scattered there by the yellow headed blackbirds, voracious eaters who like to shake all the seed out on the ground for entertainment.  Lucky for me, the blackbirds all manage to head for the marsh by mid-summer and no longer eat me out of house and home.

DSC_0079-1DSC_0064This time of year I am filling all 8 feeders with four different kinds of food every single morning!  So far the black headed grosbeaks outnumber most other birds, but we have a lot of purple finches, evening grosbeaks, stellar jays, juncos, and a very friendly white headed woodpecker. Geez!  I am feeling not a little bit guilty about how devastating it might be to our little bird friends when we leave for 7 weeks in Alaska.  Hopefully in July and August food will be so plentiful they will somehow manage.  I don’t set up hummingbird feeders for just that reason.  I have heard how dependent they get on the feeders and how important it is to be consistent if you start putting up food for them.

DSC_0071I have to thank everyone for the lovely comments on my last post photographs.  I didn’t mention it because I was feeling a bit insecure, but that was the first day I was out with my new Nikon DSLR D5100. All those photos were my learning experience.  I have discovered that my “learning experience” may go on for several years at least.  I have stepped up from shooting everything with the “auto” setting, a perfectly acceptable way to take photos. 

DSC_0091The water photo that folks seemed to like was an attempt at aperture priority slowing down the shutter so I could get that silky movement. This photo of the east side of the yard early in the morning is my first attempt at HDR. So much to learn, and so little time.  Sigh.  My knitting has been languishing on the shelf while I play with the camera and fight the critters and garden!  I think I started the perfect easy little scarf back in Eureka with gorgeous hand dyed yarn, and am still barely half way through the skein. Maybe I’ll have a chance to knit when we are back on the road, although I would imagine it won’t be on those bumpy frost heaves on the Alaska Highway.