Posts Tagged ‘wildlife’

How to attract wildlife to your back porch

April 8, 2009

Here’s how to get a close up view of wild animals:

  1. Move to the country, preferably an area surrounded by woods and a creek
  2. Acquire outdoor cats with purchase of house
  3. Spoil outdoor cats by feeding them soft cat food
  4. Give them more food than they can eat in the evening and forget to bring it inside
  5. Watch the skunks, opossums, and raccoons come by for the free buffet
  6. Learn that the outdoor cats are not at all afraid of skunks or possums (not sure about raccoons yet)

Critters and gardening

March 23, 2009

One of the fun things about living in the country is that you have to protect your animals AND your garden from critters. It seems that every animal that won’t go for the chickens will go for the vegetables. We need to build a fence around the garden to keep out the deer, rabbits, moles, squirrels, birds, and who knows what else. Those are just the ones I know of for sure. Some of the animals that will be interested in the chickens would also be interested in the garden, too.

Our neighbor, Jeff, has an electrified fence around his garden. He probably has it down in the ground, too. I was just reading that to keep out moles, you need to put fencing down 24″ (about 61 cm). We have lots of moles. I don’t think they are over by where the garden will be, but I am sure it won’t take them long to find some newly plowed, healthy soil full of bugs and worms.

This is just a reminder to myself that I also need to join the nearest community supported agriculture (CSA) farm, just in case we don’t get a lot of our own veggies this year. We have a lot to learn, especially about keeping out critters. I don’t mind sharing with the wildlife, but I also want some for us.

That Darn Deer

March 11, 2009

On our way into town we pass only a handful of houses. First is our neighbor’s place, then the Amish house where there are often clothes hanging on the line. Opposite of the Amish house is Sam’s house. I know his name because we met him once shortly after we moved in. His house is far from the road as ours is, so there isn’t much to see.

After the Amish house is the pig and cow farmer. We haven’t met him yet, but he has pigs and cows ranging together and has a lot of cats. The guy a little further down the road, who happens to be my aunt’s cousin, also has a cat or two, as well as a few horses. There are a few other houses after that, but I mention these houses because of the cats. The cats are always right by the road, it seems. At first, I thought it was just one cat. I always slow down or stop (somewhat suddenly) so I won’t hit the cat. I started calling the cat “that darn cat” and the kids thought it was funny. It turns out that there are several cats, so “that darn cat” evolved into “those darn cats.” Now every time we drive home or to town, we are on the lookout for those darn cats.

One day last week we were on our way into town to go to the YMCA. We were on the four lane highway that takes us into Macomb. It’s not really that busy; it is certainly not like a highway in the city. I say this in advance so that no one will think I am a negligent parent! As we were driving on this highway, we saw a deer right near the road. I slowed down, of course. Hitting a deer is not something to be taken lightly. I am concerned for the poor deer, but even more concerned about my car and the passengers. People can get hurt very badly and even die if they hit a deer. So, I slowed down in case the deer bolted towards the road.

I also wanted the kids to see the deer. We must have a ton of deer on our property, but we never see them. We see their tracks in the snow and the mud. We see their trails when we go hiking and occasionally we hear them. We wake up too late to see them in the morning, I guess. The point is that they are all around us, but we hardly ever see one. So seeing one right off the highway was worth pointing out to the kids.

However, we did more than just look at it. I figured when it saw or heard a car that it would run off towards the woods. It didn’t move towards the road or the woods. I ended up pulling over so the kids could get a good look and so that no one else would hit the deer. I got out of the car to try to scare it away because I didn’t want the doe or any people to get hurt. I got out of the car, but still she did not run away. She just kept munching on the grass right near the road. I stomped my feet, yelled at her, reasoned with her, threw rocks near her. Nothing worked. I was amazed. Finally I got Aidan and Moira out of the car. I held onto Moira’s hand and told Aidan to stay right by the car. We all yelled and stomped to no avail. She must have been hungry or found some really good food.

Anyway, I was standing on the side of a not-busy highway with the kids trying to scare away a wild deer and wishing I had my camera. I thought that the people driving by must have thought we were crazy. I started thinking we were crazy because we could not scare this doe away! Eventually I put Mo back in her car seat and told them we would go and just hope that no one ran into her. Then Aidan asked if he can try to pet her. I told him he could, but to go slowly in case she looked like she would kick or something. He did and he got close enough to pet a deer!

After that I put him in the car and told him to strap himself in so I didn’t have stand near any cars. I got in the car and I beeped the horn. The doe looked up, but didn’t really move. I could tell it startled her, but not enough to get her to move. I tried it again, tapping the horn so it would be a sudden, short sound. After a few times of this, she finally did move off towards the woods. She didn’t go quickly and hadn’t gone far when we pulled onto the highway to continue into town.

It was crazy and amazing. Everyone we told this story to said it was unusual. Now we call that deer “that darn deer.”