Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

This morning I saw movement out on The North Fourth, just outside the north garden fence.  I used my zoom lens to take these pictures so it looks like they're a lot closer to the road and one of our neighbors than they really were.

This is duckling season, but they didn't have any with them.  It's not uncommon, this time of year, to see a male and female with a string of little ones waddling along behind them.  So I don't know what they're doing there, unless they've found something to munch on.  They saw me walking slowly towards the fence, and so they began easin' on out, casual as all get-out, as if to say, "I'M not afraid of YOU".  I was up close enough to the fence to take the pictures that you see below, through the holes in the fence.

That male is strutting a little.  I wouldn't come up on them without the fence being between them and me.  If there are little ones around, the male is VERY aggressive.

That's a bird, back there to the left.  A robin, in fact.  We have lots of robins.

And then as I came through the garden to get back to the house, look what was quietly waiting for me near the compost bin.

Hubs spotted a couple wandering around the compost bin on Monday.  So he baited and set the trap.  We caught the male on Tuesday.  This is the female that was in the trap today.  Some people actually take their Have-A-Heart cages to another location and let the critter out.  I won't do that to some poor unsuspecting person who's probably trying to have a garden just as hard as I am.  Nope.  We drop the cage into a washtub full of water, drown the rat, and then dump it out in the field for other critters to eat. Hubs set the trap again, there's no telling what the population is.

It's obvious there was nothing wrong with our trap.  It was just like Glenda guessed, the mouse we were having trouble with and finally killed with D-Con, was just not heavy enough to trip it.  It was so little in fact, that it probably could've squeezed out of the trap through the wire, even it it HAD managed to trip it.

I also killed a small rat in the garden on Tuesday.  I had a long 2x12 laying flat on the ground where I planned to set up a raised bed.  When I picked up the 2x12, there was a round circle of fur under it about as big as the bottom of a soft-drink cup.   I poked at it with a stick and found there was a small rat under the cover of the fur in a hole.  Awwww...  That's actually kind of sweet how the mother must've dug that hole and lined it with her own fur for her babies.  But back to cruel reality.  These rats are systematically robbing me of my garden!  I flipped the 2x12 back over it with a good whack after it started running out of the hole, and that stunned it enough that I could go ahead and kill it.  I have to admit, I had mixed feelings.  Surely God must've meant rats to serve SOME good purpose, I just don't know what that is.  Surely that hole was not made for just one baby.  The others will be growing bigger each day and will probably end up in the trap.

*Update as I've had this post in the process of being written, another rat in the trap at around noon, larger than the baby I killed, smaller than the male and female mentioned previously.  So, four rats in two days now.   Probably still more, lurking around.

Here's a picture of a jack-rabbit, but it's just getting ready to take off and run, so it's hard to see in the picture.  They haven't been able to get into the yard now since Hubs and I fixed the gates.  So this one hangs out between the house and the cellar, or out in the bed where the Forsythia is, or against the fence under the grape arbor.  Old habits die hard.  They've nibbled two pecan trees down to the ground, and damaged the bark on several trees and bushes.  Ate my Possum Haw bush that I've nursed along for two years now, down to the ground.  I'm hoping they'll come back up from the root, but this can't continue or this place will go back to being as barren as it was when we first moved here!

Last night before we went to bed we saw three deer in Charlie's field just east of our back yard fence.  Last winter, they stripped my Golden Rain Tree down to just a little plume on top.  Now, I keep a wire tomato cage around it.  They've been closer to the house in back, and I hope they're not thinking about jumping the yard fence.  It's not as tall as the garden fence and might be a bit of a problem when there's fruit hanging on the trees.  Not that I know that Mother Nature will even let me HAVE fruit this year, mind you.  All the trees are in bloom except the apple trees and some of the cherry trees, and it's not even April 15 yet, which is the average date of our last frost here.  Gardening here is A Leap Of Faith.

Some interesting sites you might like to visit:

Permaculture Rocket Stove Mass Heater HERE.

Permaculture websites and

Watch a talk given by Paul Kaiser, owner of Singing Frogs Farm, where he uses no pesticides or fertilizers whatsoever, except for copious amounts of compost, HERE.  Paul talks about a great many things and it's worth putting up with the difficulty in processing his hurried rate of speech, multiple echoing and other background noise.  He advocates the inter-planting of vegetables and other types of plants, including bee- and other beneficial insect-attracting plants.  If you watch his talk, stay on for the question and answer session.

Out of that presentation sprang a search for more information on what to plant to attract beneficial insects.  There are many and you can do your own searches and turn up good ones I've missed, but a few that I found are HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.   Of course we mustn't omit the Missouri Botanical Gardens, HERE, what a great source of information that is!

It's been a gray and cloudy day, there are storms coming this afternoon and tonight, possibly severe.  Our bag for the cellar is packed and I know where Sam's cat-carrier is, the storm radio is on.  If satellite TV goes off, and it usually does, we have the TV upstairs on the antenna, there's a radio in the cellar and our storm alert thing in the house.  If the power goes out there's still the radio.  Many of my readers may also be in the path, that's Paula in Norman, Glenda near Springfield, Carole in Joplin, Charlotte there in AR.  Others too, I'm sure.  So everyone please prepare yourselves and say your prayers....

Well, it's about time for me to publish this and get on with a few things. You might like a little mini-tour of the place before you go:

Rock on.  xoxoxoxo

1 comment:

  1. Wow! What a lot you have done with that bare piece of ground! I finally see you are one month ahead of us. Our last frost is around May 20th. My trees aren't bloomed out yet and a tiny forsythia is just beginning.

    You all do have more than your share of harmful varmints. Congrats on catching the mice and keeping the rabbits out.....

    We got rain and hail this afternoon but nothing serious. Springfield got 3 inches; we got 3/4 inch. It always seems to go south of us. I do hope this isn't a bad storm season.


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