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A Blonde's Perspective - Living with critters

By Jan Stadtherr

Driving on the gravel road on which we live, I have seen a doe with two spotted fawns. They are usually in the same location just past the public access, so I assume their “nest” must be near by. The little family makes me smile every time I see them! Even if they’re not on the road, I slow down in hopes of spotting them again, and hoping mama won’t suddenly decide to cross.

But then I tell myself that the fawns will soon grow up and join their elders in devouring nearly every plant I try to grow! Deer are on the deck every winter where they eat the leftover birdseed that falls from the feeders hanging on the upper level.

Deer seemed to have gotten tamer. When you see them along the side road while driving, they just look at you and continue eating. While taking his daily two-mile walk, my husband, Ron, was able to walk by a deer eating grass next to the road. He said he could have touched it!

I have to admit that I do love all of God’s critters, after all, they were here first. One of the critters that do not visit our property is the geese. If they do take a break on our shoreline, I head for the lake clapping my hands and telling them to move on. Using goose language, the elderly geese quickly steer the “kids” back into the water. The family heads back to the other side of the lake that has become home sweet home.

During one of my women’s card clubs, we talked about goose poop that is being deposited by the unwanted visitors on the south shore of our lake. A couple of the women purchased life-size coyote decoys which have kept the geese off their property. However, even though the decoys have a furry tail that moves in the breeze, after a few weeks, the geese discovered the decoy was not real and have returned to the shoreline.

A larger critter visited our property one afternoon this summer – a huge black bear! I saw it from the window, and it was headed towards the garage where Ron was working outside. No time for a photo! With my heart racing, I ran to the door and yelled that there was a bear headed his way. “There is? I don’t see it,” he replied. I told him it was probably behind the garage. So, what does he do? Yikes! He walks over to look behind the garage! Thankfully, no bear was seen. I thought it must have headed to our neighbors. Bill and Sharon were both working outside, but they didn’t see it either. The mystery of the bear was never solved, and it wasn’t my imagination. We decided it must have turned around from where it was coming. It probably got scared when I started yelling. Bears have been on our deck a few times on which they left piles of scat (aka poop). Wild turkeys and raccoons prefer to leave their mark, too.

We hope to have solved the problem of woodpeckers destroying the logs on our home. To scare them away, we’ve tried strips of reflective foiled paper attached to the walls with no luck. It sounds like a jackhammer year around when the pileated woodpecker pounds into the wood with its long beak. I crank open the window and yell at them. They fly away, but return again and again.

We ordered two sets round reflective plastic mirrors that were hung on fishline from the corners of the house and garage. The wind twirls them around and reflections are cast upon the buildings, trees, and everything around. The reflection of the moving disks supposedly scares the woodpeckers away. So far, the mirrors work with hopes they will continue to do the job during the winter months.

The day after my outside planters were filled with various plants, I awoke the next day to having several plants dug out by the cute but pesky chipmunks. The bird netting was dug out and each plant is covered with the plastic netting that blends in nicely with the plants. For now, that problem has been solved, too.

Several of my columns have focused on critters. Their antics can be cute, funny, and damaging at the same time. Life is good in lake country, even though the critters were here first.

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