As I may have mentioned before, this house was a gentlemens farm 100 years ago. So it's at the end of the road and surrounded by woods. Woods that are full of animals. I remember the foxes going after our chickens when I was little, and we had possum, raccoons, and a creek full of salamanders, mudpuppies and crayfish. The creek is dried up now, the deer have moved in, and there are many more raccoons, possums and skunks. And they ALL want my vegetables and fruits.
Last year the woodchuck learned to climb our 10 foot fence and decimated the vegetable garden, so we electrified the fence. The squirrels raided the peach tree, taking one (ONE!) bite out of each almost-ripe peach and dropping it on the ground where the deer finished them. We do our best to live peacefully and keep the critters at bay in a humane manner. And that's not always easy. It IS always frustrating to see our hard work destroyed by hungry critters. You'd think they'd be grateful that we let them sleep on the lawn and keep the mortgage paid up for them!
Winter is a nice rest from our Wildlife War. Three nights ago I was served notice that this year's squirmishes have begun. I heard the snarling and saw the evidence. The birdfeeder was empty and covered with dirty pawmarks--raccoons love seeds. The suet feeder was on the porch floor, empty and bent open with the wire closure completely missing--raccoons love seeds buried in animal fat!
This morning the ground is disturbed--skunks like to dine on grubs that hibernate just below the ground surface and the mice that burrow near the bird feeder to nibble stray seeds.
I guess it will soon be time to plant the peas and turn on power to the fence, bring the feeders and suet inside each night, and buy stovepipe length to slip over the fruit tree trunks so animals can't climb the tree. They are innocent animals, they are cute and furry....but they WILL NOT defeat us! I am marshalling my forces and will win this war!