tea time

Grab a cup of tea and join us for our Saturday discussion, “tea time”. We would love to hear from you, too. If you have something to contribute to this conversation, please leave a comment below. Enjoy.

Cher is wondering… what do you do about opossums in the kitchen? (Don’t be too alarmed, as I’m speaking of an outdoor kitchen here!) And deer in the strawberries? And raccoons in the sweet corn? And bunnies in the peppers? And on, and on…

It seems that everything is hungry and looking for a free meal, particularly this year for some reason. And this season has been pretty abundant on the wild side of the garden fence, so why so much pressure within the gardens? (And in the kitchen?)

I guess I’m wondering what you do? Do you harvest the wild game? I mean, we harvest from the garden, right? Or do you trap and relocate? Or do you plant extra? (What’s the old saying… “one for the rook, one for the crow, one to rot, and one to grow”) Do you turn a blind eye and hope for the best? Simple scare-crows? Camp outs in the garden?

rabbit damage on a sweet pepper

rabbit damage on a sweet pepper

the culprit, trapped

the culprit, trapped

We’ve tried about everything, but I think our most effective method for controlling the problem critters is an electrified fence around the area we need to protect and baited with something tasty like apples or peanut butter. As the animal is cautiously approaching, they get a whiff of the bait, stick out a moist nose, and zap. Animal then turns and flees, leaving garden alone. We have also had luck through tying out a free-loading pet dog (that really does need a job to fit into the farm economy!) during the night wherever the pest critters are dining. The trick, however, is to move the dog to a new location each night so that the wildlife doesn’t get accustomed to him in one spot. Just be sure to give the hard-working pooch a big treat when his shift is over for the night!!! And yes, we trap. Sometimes to relocate, and sometimes to eat. This particular rabbit (from the photo) is Ira’s prize and he wanted to harvest it for the food and the skin. He processed the game himself, and did a mighty fine job for his first try. And he chopped up some oak branches for the tannic acid and has the skin soaking in it. His plan is to make rabbit skin hats. He wants to sell them at the farmer’s market. My guess is he’ll be the only one there selling them.

I would love to hear what has worked for you. I’m sure there are some good stories just waiting to be shared…

-cher

robin sighs, oh cher, you touched on a current event here right now, for just this morning paul announced finally trapping a daring ground-hog that has been fattening in field 3 while sasha also succeeded in trapping a raccoon at the old place. we have critters galore here, a benefit of the hundreds of acres of our surrounding woodland. we have discovered over the years, if there is any logging in the neighborhood, it sets the whole system out of balance and we see intense predation in the gardens. a few years ago our neighbor to the west logged heavily and i swear paul had to camp out in the gardens for weeks to protect our green beans! this year, is it our neighbor to the east. while the main pressure seems to come from deer, i truly belive all of our forest creatures, big and small, trouble or no, are impacted. we have different tactics for each situation, one year a scare crow will work to keep those highly intelligent crows from the field corn, the next it won’t. in terms of planting to accommodate our extra guests, we assume a certain loss each year from various critters, but when the pressure gets too intense, out come the traps and the rifle. the one thing we absolutely can’t afford to do is ignore the problem. our gardens feed not only our family but 70 others and when our sustenance and livelihood are at stake, we have to take action. alas, there are many a good story to share, but it is friday after all, so i have to go and harvest more of our share. you never know who is going to show up after dark!

2 thoughts on “tea time

  1. Just last night, as Hope, Roy, Debra and I were canning our fourth harvested deer this year (we’ve had as many as 10 at a time in one small field making it that we won’t have enough for CSA shares this year), the discussion led to Ira and our need for him to come for a visit with his cousins for a little skills and “discover your strengths” sharing.

    • Hi Hannah, sounds like y’all will have enough venison to give to the csa even if you don’t have any veggies left in the garden!!! I’m sure Ira would be eager to lend a hand with the deer processing! And I know he would love to come for a visit… but I want to come, too!
      Love you, cher

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