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Dealing with Pesky Deer Flies

July 26th, 2013

The deer flies have been TERRIBLE around here this year. Last week I worked in the garden one evening, when I came inside I had been bitten 6 times. One of the bites was on my eyelid. When I woke up the next morning my eye was pretty much swollen shut. The funny thing is that I also had a bite on my cheek on the same side, which was also swollen up about the size of a macaroon. That’s when I searched to find something that might work against them. I came across this post explaining how to build a deer fly trap.
Deer Fly Trap 1
I ordered up the supplies I needed: Tanglefoot Tangle-Trap Brush On Sticky Trap Coating and Blue Plastic Cups. Yes the cup needs to be blue!
Deer Fly Trap 3
All you do is brush the sticky coating on the blue cup and you pin them to your hat. Really, it’s that simple. At first I was worried that it would catch other flying insects as well, like bees. Thankfully that didn’t happen.
Deer Fly Trap 2
Our first test of our hats was a trip down to the mailbox, which generally ended with us running back up the hill swatting the swarms of deer flies that were chasing us. Mr Chiots arrived at the house with 9 stuck to his cup and I had 5 stuck to mine. We wore them the entire next day and didn’t notice a deer fly all day. That evening the final count was: 13 deer flies on Mr Chiot’s hat and 9 on mine. They work like a charm.

What’s the biggest garden pest for you, the gardener?

Free Protein?

November 4th, 2010

I’m not much of one to care about seeing caterpillars on my plate after eating broccoli, I figure it’s free protein. I’d rather see this on my plate than not see it and have broccoli full of chemicals. Of course you can use “organic” methods of keeping them away, but I don’t bother with those either or my wrens might go hungry.

Have you ever finished eating your broccoli and seen this on your plate? What did you think?

A Call to Arms

May 25th, 2010

On Friday I spotted a baby groundhog in the garden. It startled me and I startled it. It ran down into the woods and got me thinking about protecting my crops from the groundhogs. I have everything protected with floating row covers, but groundhogs are crafty creatures and they’ll gnaw through anything to get at their favorite crops, in this case my peas that are just about to bloom!

I went out later in the day and spotted FOUR baby groundhogs in the garden. They are cuties, but not cute enough to let them mow down everything in the back garden. I knew then that we’d have to do something besides hope that they wouldn’t eat all of our crops. Every hour or so for the last 2 days I went out and scared them out of the garden area. Yesterday since we were at the cabin all day I couldn’t scare them away and they gnawed through my row cover in several places and ate all of the peas. This was a call to arms.

I uploaded some photos of the groundhogs to Flickr and someone asked if I knew of any “non-chemical deterrents” for goundhogs. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you know I come from a long line of hunters, I even had my hunting license in the 7th grade. So you can guess what our “non chemical deterrent” is. Yesterday I went out in the morning and spotted one of them in the peas again, I went inside to get the “deterrent” but by the time I went back out it was gone. So Mr Chiots and I headed down into the woods to look for it’s den. We’re going to put used cat liter down in the hole, which will often drive them away. Hopefully by the end of the week the groundhogs will be gone. Too late to save the peas, but at least they’ll be a good cover crop and I’ll replace them with cucumbers and zucchini.

Do you have problems with groundhogs in your garden? How have you dealt with them?

Spotted in the Garden

April 12th, 2010

One morning last week, Mr Chiots yelled through the office window, "hey you’ve got to see this HUGE slug". I looked out and saw it and decided I must take a photo, but I needed something for scale, otherwise it would look just like a regular slug. Since I happened to be working at my computer I grabbed the first portable thing I saw, my magic mouse. Mr Chiots said, "The highest life form and the lowest life form side by side."

This guy was the biggest slug I’ve seen in the garden so far. We mostly have small black slugs, I see them often around the gardens. They live under leaves and munch on plants. When I saw this big guy I thought, “Some toad is going to be so lucky to find him!”

Slugs are big garden pests for many people. People go through all kinds of trouble trying to get rid of them. I simply let them be and allow the toads that live in the garden to take care of them. This means I have slugs munching on my plants at times and I lose some foliage and a few seedlings. When we first moved in we had tons of slugs, they were eating everything. Then the toads came and now they keep the population at a decent level. So I’ve made peace with the slugs and let them be just like every other garden pest. Every year I spot big toads and little baby toads at different time of the year. I know that because I don’t kill slugs they will stick around and multiply!

I have a few boards in shady spots around the garden because toads love to live under them. Toads also love it if you leave a few piles of leaves around for them to hide under. place a few plant saucers in the garden filled with water and rocks (make sure to change water regularly to keep mosquitoes from breeding), this is beneficial for toads, salamanders and insects.

What do you do when you spot slugs in the garden?

Chipmunks, A Small Problem?

June 4th, 2009

The eastern chipmunk is the same size as the ground squirrel, but is found in more woodland or woodland edge habitat and has only two light stripes. Absent only from the northwest corner of Iowa, they inhabit neighborhoods with mature trees and shrubs, rock and wood piles and retaining walls. While they may live in holes dug in the ground, they are more likely to live in the retaining walls, beneath decks or even in holes in trees. They do not hibernate in the winter and, though they sleep for days at a time, can be seen raiding bird feeders on warm winter days.
chipmunk-on-deck
I’ve got a big problem, chipmunks, or grinnies as some people call them. They’re cute as can be really, but destructive little rodents for sure. They have been digging up my seedlings on the back deck and eating the seeds that I plant (although the ones that ate my castor beans seeds are taken care of).
cat-stalking-chipmunk
We used to have a pair of owls that kept the population under control, but I haven’t seen them this year. Aside from getting a pet falcon, I’m looking into easy ways to deal with my overpopulation of chipmunks. I’d love to get rid of them without letting my cats outside (I don’t want them to get worms or eat birds). I really hate to kill them, however they’re starting to dig holes around the foundation of our home. I’d rather not deal with drainage issues from that, so it’s time to wage war on the grinnies. I’ve heard good things about chipmunk swimming pools, anyone tried them?

Anyone have any great tips on getting rid of chipmunks?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.

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