Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Critters - Slimy and Winged, Furry and Feathered

As I sit here typing, I'm watching a pair of house finches and a pair of cardinals fighting over one of my feeders. All four can't fit on it, and it appears to be a battle of wills! And if I lean to the left, turn my head to the right, I see the finch feeder, and the goldfinches are back. I haven't seen any out there in about three weeks, but today they have returned. Every time I look out there I see 6 to 8 of them fighting over the 4 holes on the feeder! Oh, and now one of them has decided she had rather have safflower seed - well, maybe not! I haven't seen much of my hummers the last couple of days, but I've got fresh nectar made and ready for their feeders, so maybe that will help.

The feathered critters are so much fun to watch, and I love to keep food out for them. But there are also the critters I DON'T like! Like the one I found as I was cleaning out from around my blazing star and Japanese iris the other day. It was a big old salamander! Black with white/grayish spots. Yuck! I also can't stand snakes. In my opinion, the only good snake is a DEAD snake!!! You can tell me all you want that they eat other critters, but I just don't care!

Then there are the furry ones - I've told you about how I hate for the squirrels to eat from my feeders! I didn't buy that expensive seed for rats, and that's all a squirrel is - a rat with a fluffy tail! But today, well, today I found something worse than the squirrels. We've got VOLES!!!!! I saw a pair of them tunneling out from under a rock lining the sidewalk, and when I got out there and looked, I found holes all around my beautiful hostas, and evidence they've been enjoying a feast!!!

Voles are fast breeders and voracious feeders. They can kill a green lawn in no time by tunneling through and eating the roots. They especially love hostas! So, I did a little homework on the internet, then ran to WalMart and bought a few supplies! Mouse traps and castor oil! I set mouse traps with peanut butter right beside the holes, then covered the hole AND the trap with an upside down 5 gallon bucket. That will keep other - good - critters from eating the peanut butter and getting killed. Then, I took the castor oil (voles hate castor oil, but then who doesn't!!!) and drizzled it around my hostas and down into the holes they had dug around them.

This should send them to the holes to where the tasty peanut butter is, and SNAP! One dead vole!

Now, I hate killing cute furry critters. But I hate things eating on my pretty plants even more!!! So we'll see who wins this battle as time goes by.

So, what is your worst garden enemy??? And how do you get rid of it???

Blessings folks, Becky


Faye said...


Anonymous said...

Good luck with the battle!!! Occasionally, one of the cats catches one of these pesky critters.

Anonymous said...

Okay, what's the difference between moles and voles? I've never understood? At any rate, whatever you call them, that's what we have all the time!! I didn't know they don't like castor oil, good to know! Our biggest problems are deer and rabbits. The deer will gnaw on our blueberry plants like a man eating chicken wings! Drives me nuts! I read that deer don't like the smell of moth balls, so I hung some in an old stocking from a stake in the middle of the blueberries. So far, the deer haven't touched them. Walked all around them, checking them out, I'm sure! But so far, no chewing on the plants! Now, if I could just figure out how to keep those blasted rabbits out of my vegetable garden! It's inside a fenced-in area to boot! And it's where my dog goes to play, so at least he has fun retracing all the rabbit trails!! LOL!

By the way, Happy Birthday tomorrow! I sent you an email! Tish

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I couldn't agree more with you about the snakes....and feel the same about spiders too! Yuck!!


Valerie said...

Voles or Moles? I guess deer is my biggest pest in my garden. We make a fence to go aroung the vegetable garden and hang gallon milk jugs on it to scare them. So far it works.

Lori E said...

If voles are like moles then you can stick the clippings from a rose bush down the mole/vole hole (I had to say that)and they bleed to death from the sharp points. They apparently are bleeders.

Cute story: We were plagued by moles and our lawns were a mess around here. Christmas time one year we found a mole lying dead in the garden. We wrapped it up in box real pretty and gave it to our good friends/neighbors who lived behind us as a joke because he was always trying so hard to get rid of them. Suddenly it occurred to me that the thing may have just been stunned and actually might not be dead. We held our breath as he opened up the package. All clear. The little varmint was dead.

Jeanneoli said...

We have voles too and they are already ruining our front yard! This weekend they have met their match!!:-)