We live in the woods surrounded by farm fields. We are in a constant battle with the local critters. They want to move in with us. We want to keep them out of the house.
Two years ago, I spent hours starting seedlings under lights in the basement. Critters ate the tops off the seedlings just after I pulled off the lids. We set out sticky traps because they weren’t getting caught in the regular traps. We caught a few mice and a shrew! I bought plants and put them out in the garden on the front of our property. A deer decided it didn’t like onions and stomped on every single plant! It was a constant battle with the deer, rabbits and other critters. There were holes in the cucumbers, green beans, pumpkins. The next blow was a grasshopper infestation. I had spent hours getting almost no produce. That was the last year that we planted the garden. I still have an urge to plant another one – maybe if I net the whole thing!?
The raccoons think my deck plants are their personal garden. They dig the plants up and eat the roots. They also leave little “surprises” all over the deck. Pepper spray worked for one summer. They decided they loved it after that. We have been using a motion detector water sprinkler for the last few years. It is fairly effective. The wind sets it off. The squirrels think it is their personal watering device.
Sometimes, I am just relieved to see the end of the growing season. For a Minnesotan, this is quite hard to say. We know that we have months of the deep freeze to look forward to. Winter bring a whole new set of critter problems.
The squirrels chew on the heated bird bath cord. They set off the ground fault and we have to go downstairs and reset it. I keep waiting to find a fried squirrel but the ground fault must prevent it. We put electrical tape over the cord and they eat it. One year they liked the fuzz on my outdoor front mat and they ate it all off of it. It truly looked pathetic.
The woods do inspire me with the sometimes wonderful array of critters. Lately, we’ve had a pileated woodpecker around a lot. He seems to be able to sense when I grab the camera. As soon as I get it, off he goes. I spent months trying to get him. I recently bought a 70-300mm zoom lens. It is barely adequate but I can hand hold it.
He is a huge bird. If you ever hear something that sounds like hammering deep in the woods, keep watch for one. I finally managed to get this picture in early October. Then, I decided to keep the camera and tripod in the window area. Quite often it is in my screen porch otherwise known as the photography studio.
He has started to come around regularly and is doing quite a number on this oak tree. See the shavings on the snow below him. We think he is building a nest in the tree. He has huge holes on both sides of the tree. I wonder if the tree will fall down when they meet?
Here he is working on a different part of the tree. There are holes everywhere!
I have pictures of this tree from last year. Many other birds and the squirrels have been starting holes in it. I took a lot of pictures of it last fall for inspiration for a haunted tree design idea I have. It will have lots of critters on it and in it. Now I just need to sit down and do the actual design work! This series of pictures has given me an idea for another series of designs. It is wonderful to have this kind of inspiration just outside the window. Just wish they would stay out there!