As background, I live on the edge of a city of 118,000. I don’t live in a rural area. About a half mile from me is a protected wildlife area. I thought it would really be wonderful to be close to nature and it kind of is. Sorta. Maybe.
All the critters who live there have heard about what a great gardening cook I am. They come from all over for brunch, dinner, midnight snacks – you name the eating event and they are there. “They” are deer – lots of deer, groundhogs – some as big as a small pony, coyotes although not too much, turkeys along with their cousins the turkey vultures, opossum and the “adorables.” “Adorables” are the little bunnies (yes, the ones who nibble all your baby plants), squirrels, chipmunks and field mice.
For the most part, I really believe we can live in harmony. I enjoy them and they can have some of my stuff. That’s my price for the entertainment that they provide.
Last year we had a turkey who visited under our bird feeders almost every day at the same time. She ate the seeds that ended up on the ground and she also ate the hulls that the birds didn’t eat. I called her Georgia.
We had a picnic and I told everyone that Georgia was coming and she did! Everyone sat there with their mouth hanging open while this huge turkey walked through my backyard and cleaned up under my feeders totally oblivious to the twenty-five or so people gawking at her from twenty feet away. You can’t buy this kind of entertainment. Maybe not as exciting as the Chippendales but close!
Fast forward to this year – it’s been particularly troubling because the groundhog population has exploded. For the first time in the nine years that we have been here, they have eaten ALL my zinnias — first in the back, then around the pond.
My vegetable garden is safe because I enclosed it with a 6 foot tall dog enclosure. Not the most attractive feature in the yard but well worth the investment. (For more information on that, you can read my post $25 a pound for tomatoes, bargain or foolishness.) The groundhogs do climb trees to eat my peaches. I wouldn’t have believed it except I saw it with my own eyes. Sigh.
I went to the garden store and
whined chatted with the staff. They convinced me that I really need to try this stinky stuff to spray on the zinnias. It’s guaranteed to deter deer and rabbits so it surely must work on groundhogs. After plunking $20 down, I took the stuff home.
OMG! It smelled so badly I thought I would barf big time. It was puke-city! Toss-your-cookies time! It was rotten eggs and garlic swooshed together. It smelled like there was also a dead fish and a homeless person included in the blender. I was convinced that NOTHING would eat my zinnias AND I may have to move.
Can you imagine accidentally spilling that in your garage? That would definitely require a move!
That evening as I sat in the screened porch, I swore I could smell it. The beloved husband couldn’t smell it but his sniffer isn’t near as good as mine. The very next morning I went to check on my zinnias and I couldn’t believe it. Something had eaten the plants with the stinky stuff on it. Twenty bucks down the drain, three dozen zinnias written off. Wildlife 1, Kate 0 and so it goes.