One thing I LOVE about living where we do is that there are animals. I’ll admit it – I am so not a city girl. When we first moved here, the pheasants charmed the socks off of yours truly. In the winter, we like walking to the school bus and seeing the different footprints in the snow. We like watching the deer in the woods and all the birds…
But critters can be pesky! Like when the raccoons get into the garbage. Or woodpeckers make you rise and shine at 5 a.m. on a Sunday. Or when the deer…and hang on, I might weep a bit…demolish your beautiful flower garden or carefully tended apple trees!
I grew up on an apple farm and my dad used to spray Hinder around the orchard in the winter. The smaller trees had plastic “mouseguards” to protect their trunks. The family dog looked after groundhogs. And the coyotes? Well, we just left them alone. So…here are a few “Natural” ways to enjoy wildlife and keep away the pesky critter part!
Deer: we’ve tried a few things, but the best we’ve found is moth balls along with bone and blood meal in old pieces of pantyhose. We hang them from every other apple tree and also put one in the spruce that stands in the middle of my perennial bed and that seems to do the trick. At least they stayed away from my lilac, lily and phlox blooms this past summer!
Slugs: Gross, yuck, ick. Did I mention the time one clung to someone’s shoe and came in the house and I stepped on it on the stairs in the dark? (GROSS!) I detest slugs. And they adore my hostas. The kids have great fun rinsing egg shells and then crushing them up to sprinkle around the hostas. I’ve heard coffee grounds work but we’ve never found them as effective as egg shells.
Mice: We had trouble one year and it seemed to be cured by finding the source. But we also have a tent trailer and so our MO for keeping them out of there in the winter is Irish Spring soap. We grate it and put the shavings in little cups all over the trailer and knock on wood- in 4 years we’ve never had a problem.
Woodpeckers: OMG, nesting season and the Northern Flickers thinking our eavestrough was a crucial warning system nearly drove me around the bend. We tried loud noises. We tried stuff on the end of the eaves. In the end…the only thing that had any sort of success was shiny wrapping paper – it was foil type with a swirly patter in silver and gold and we put it up in the windows nearest the corner.
Raccoons: I saw a really funny thing on tv the other day about using coyote urine and truthfully – I’d love to hear if someone has had success with this. The only thing we do? We keep our compost bin and garbage cans away from the house and lids securely on. We bungee the lids on, actually, so they can’t take them off – because they’re sneaky little devils!
What critters do you have around you that are pests? And how do you keep them at a pleasant distance?
On a happier note – I have a new book out this month. BREATHE is available from Samhain Publishing and it is blissfully pest free! A gorgeous winery setting is only topped by a sexy hero IMO…it was one of my favorite books to write. I have to admit this might be my favorite covers so far too!