Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!
Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Homespun Yard Advice

I love wildlife more than your average person. I will not trim a bush if I know there is a rabbit's nest in it.  I refused to trim my holly tree because a robin was sitting in it on two eggs this season. I also conveniently forgot to tell John that one of the bottom steps of the deck was "wobbly" because I feared we would disturb the salamander family living underneath. That's the type of guy I am. I feel these animals have just as every right to live on G-d's earth as I do. (Not that I want them in my home, now that's a different story which I'll get to in a bit ... Don't judge me people!)

I was working at my office one afternoon when I saw that John had called me not once but three or four times. OK, somethin's up, I thought. So I buzzed him back. He notified me that the tractor almost went belly up in a gopher hole. Not a little chipmunk hole, we are talking about a gopher that seemed to come up from China (actually just north from Charlotte's yard.)

Remember those holes you dug as a kid and you told your parents you were digging to China? They laughed at you and said, "OK Marc, just be home by dinnertime" and then they walked back into the house to fix themselves an afternoon cocktail. This was one of those types of holes. This sucker was DEEEP.

I came home and checked out the hole myself. There were rocks the size of Volkswagen Beetles dug up and strewn about the hole. OK, maybe a little smaller, but ya get the point. So what to do, what to do. I remembered how my Dad labors against the gophers in his yard waay out in Northern California. He battles a relentless campaign against the critters. Each time he finds a hole, he fills it with a special present made by his two loyal doggies, Fiona and Archie, and then covers over the hole. Yes, you can guess what their special presents are.

I decided to try this technique with my own gopher hole. Unfortunately I don't own any dogs so I had to improvise with my two faithful companions, Max and Moxie the Cats. After a week, I was able to dump an entire bag full of ... umm ... special presents down the gopher hole made by the cats. I topped it off with the strewn boulders and topsoil and now I wait to see if Mr. Gopher stays over in the other yard or decides to make another emergency exit by one of our flower beds. If he does, I will be ready with Max and Moxie!

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I received yet another call at the office from John the same week freaking out that there was a furious pecking and scratching at the side of the house in my room! It sounded like it was in the walls or ceiling. The cats were literally glued to the bedroom wall waiting to pounce on whatever was about to come through the wall.

I told him I thought it was a chipmunk or mouse scratching at the wall. I remembered way back when I was growing up when Dad had to literally go through the wall to find a foul smelling chipmunk in the stair hall off of the breakfast room. He dug through the drywall and eventually retrieved a maggot-ridden chipmunk corpse. That was the first time that I smelled a rotting animal, and in the breakfast room of our house no less. You never forget that smell.

Anyway, I told John that I feared that at the worst, Mr. Gopher was looking for another passage way ... through our house! I advised him to check it out outside and call me back when he found something.  After investigating, John called me back and confirmed it was not a chipmunk. It was not a mouse. It was not a gopher scaling the side of the house. It was a woodpecker that has decided to make his fall home in the back corner of our house!  Now honestly, that was the last thing I was expecting.

We both were freaking out. Woody (yes Woodpecker) had pecked a quarter sized hole into the side corner. He was not looking for grubs, he was looking to add a condo to his real estate holdings. What the heck do you do about that?

Now I know you cannot kill birds like that. It's against the law as they are migratory birds. You have to deter them by various means. This can include hanging chicken wire from your house, putting up big fake owl or hawk to scare them, covering the side of your house with fur or cloth (YES that was a suggestion on the internet), hanging shiny noisy objects to scare them off, or putting out food (suet cakes) to feed them instead of them pecking up your house!

John filled up the hole with wood filler, an entire tube! He also hung a wind chime right off of the house by that area to make noise. I think honestly the birds will enjoy the wind chimes. I think we need something more like a foghorn, but that's just me! :)  Charlotte suggested hanging aluminum pie plates together so they reflect and make noise. I searched the house but had no pin tins. I spied an aluminum roaster pan wedged into the back of the laundry room closet and decided to make something out of that.  I cut it up into quarters and strung it together to form a sort of mobile.

Well, let's just say it ain't pretty. But hopefully my aluminum monstrosity of a mobile will scare that woodpecker away. Let's just say it scared me.
The Woodpecker Deterrent System
The Deterrent System in Effect!!!

2 comments:

  1. Hey... I have a plastic owl on my deck that you can borrow... I does work to keep the birds off the deck. Jack Ross

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  2. Thanks for the pick me up this morning. Fun beginnings for Fall.

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