Country MoonWinter gives us its reprieve with warmer temperatures, the scent of spring flowers in the air and the return of critters, uninvited critters at that.

I understand that all creatures want to come out after the long winter and soak up some rays too. What I don’t understand is why they have to be in my home, in my garden, in my vehicles and, literally, everywhere I am. If it were just one species that had chosen to get on my nerves, I could probably cope. However, I have been invaded from so many different angles, I am not sure where to begin getting them under control.


Let’s start with the big problem…the deer. Last year in spite of putting up motion lights, using deer deterrent and scaring them off, they ate as many vegetables from my garden as I did. I am not willing to share so much this year. I am going to have to resort to the last method on my list, putting up a fence…sort of.

I really didn’t want to put up a permanent fence, so I am going to start with the middle-of-the-road fence solution. Many folks have claimed that if you drive stakes and string multiple strands of 30-pound weight fishing line taut between the posts it will do the trick. The line is fine enough that they can’t see it, thus it surprises them when they run into it…for a while until they get wise to it. So, I am going one step further and tying aluminum pie tins at strategic points so that they will make noise when the wind blows them into the metal stakes.

I have been assured that this is the best thing out there. Last year the deer wondered through my yard over to the soybeans across the road and had supper and then stopped at my garden for dessert on the way back to their shelter. I am sure this year will be even worse and that they may make my place the main course since I am getting kale across the road. I have never heard that deer have a keen yearning for kale.

6/21/2019 8:12:04 AM

Lois, gardening amongst animals is definitely a challenge. My plague is raccoons. They can climb over any fence and if they can't they will dig under it. The only thing I've found that keeps them away from my sweet corn is an electric fence. When I first started gardening at Terra Nova Gardens, snakes were every where. Since I've cleaned it off and made garden beds, the snakes have disappeared but I suspect they are lurking in the adjacent properties that are still wild and overgrown. They are a great deterrent for mice. I wouldn't recommend using snakes for garage mice control. I don't really like snakes but if I don't see them they can live in peace. ***** Bugs in the garden are controlled by the flocks of wild turkeys that roam the neighborhood. Other critters around my garden are deer, groundhogs, hawks, and neighbors say they have even see a fox. It's hard to imagine that my garden is right smack dab in the middle of the inner city and has such a diversity of critters to keep out of the garden. ***** I hope you find the solutions that will make gardening once again a joy and not such a battle with wild life. ***** Nebraska Dave ***** Urban Farmer

6/19/2019 10:42:21 AM

I actually moved to the country just to enjoy the critters and I haven't been disappointed here near Lake Erie :-). The only critters I'm not crazy about are the huge brown rats so I do have drain covers and no holes in the walls to my basement, garage, and sheds/hen houses. You can also just lay hardware cloth around the perimeter on the inside of your garage and that blocks critters too and will keep them out should new holes happen. I had to do that to save my ducks and chickens in the hen house as a mink kept getting in no matter what I did outside to block it and they are vampires that can wipe out your whole flock in one night and only need a half-inch gap to enter! Now the entire inside of the hen house is covered in hardware cloth and I THINK the mink can't get in again but I keep an intercom on at night so if the ducks scream I will hear them this time and blood-sucking mink can deal with very big me. Around my vegetable garden, I purchased 6' chicken wire and cut 6' rebar strips and painted them black (as I don't like the rust look). I weaved the rebar through the wire at 6' intervals and hammered it into the ground with about a foot of fold over of wire at the bottom with lawn staples to secure it so no critters could go under it either. No animals can get into my garden now - well, at least none have in the last two years since I fenced it and it's a huge and productive garden. For moles and other underground critters, I simply make a trench, line it with galvanized hardware cloth (or just wrap the root base for individual plantings) and then plant as they can't get through it and it makes for easier bulb dig up for winter too if you attach nylon string to the edges. The clay soil here blocks most burrowers, well, except the mink who was a serious adversary that took a lot of hours to finally block and he still gets past the first line of defense but the wire has stopped him so far. Grow plenty of pots of mint and set them around the perimeter of your garden (other herbs work too but mint is the best). Deer don't like the smell so it deters them and honeybees LOVE the smell so they will come pollinate your garden well. Do grow it in pots though as it's fairly invasive. Finally, install a nice owl statue and the birds will flee - even big birds like seagulls don't like owls and won't perch near a statue of one. I haven't figured out how to catch the snapping turtle in my pond so I just make sure my ducks can't get to it and give them small pools of water that I can control. I've dealt with the utterly amazing amount of insects here by covering all the greens in my garden but those agricultural wolf spiders are just plain gross - like baby tarantulas. I'm not spider-phobic but they are simply too big for me to be weeding alongside with them running around and on me - ewwww. I don't think it's really about perseverance as much as it is figuring out how to live together as harmoniously as possible. I try to not kill anything (I'm vegetarian for that reason) but I do need to constantly think about how to make my stuff less desirable by using smells they don't like, blocking them with fencing or hardware cloth (love that stuff!), or using light/color to deter (like hanging old CDs to deter pecking birds in my fruit trees or netting to stop the Japanese Beetles, etc.). Really enjoyed your article - written as a very pleasurable read - totally understood the "game on" feeling. I'm just trying to offer suggestions to help you because I am daily engaged in the joys (and battles) of country living too and we just gotta share our solutions with each other :-).

6/19/2019 8:15:56 AM

Make a bucket trap for the mice, works extremely well and is super easy and cheap to make

Live The Good Life with GRIT!

Grit JulAug 2016At GRIT, we have a tradition of respecting the land that sustains rural America. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing to GRIT through our automatic renewal savings plan. By paying now with a credit card, you save an additional $6 and get 6 issues of GRIT for only $16.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and send me one year of GRIT for just $22.95!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters