We had a cold, wet night last night, and this morning, all of the outside cats where there to greet me.
Even the shy ones!
Ghost Baby, in the back, is the shiest of them all, still. We still don’t know if Ghost is a he or a she, but if it’s a she, she likely has babies somewhere.
Do you see how Nutmeg, in the foreground, is positioned, with his chest so low to the ground like that? Ginger does that all the time. It’s one of those mannerisms that I thought was due to the missing leg, but both brothers do it. I haven’t seen if Creamsicle Jr. does it, too; he’s more likely to move away from any people than maintain his behaviour with other cats.
As large as we made the kibble house, and with so many food bowls spread out inside, we still get some minor battles between the cats. Rosencrantz and Ghost Baby tend to not be able to eat until after the more aggressive cats, like Butterscotch and Rolando Moon, have moved on. The plan was to make a second, smaller, shelter for the water bowls in the winter. I am now thinking to match the size (if we can scrounge the materials), and split the food and water bowls between the two shelters. That should reduce feline fracases.
Once the critters were fed, I went to check on the tulips and switch out the memory card on the trail cam.
Yes, the tulip carnage continued.
More flower buds were missing, though it didn’t look like any more leaves were eaten away. I was very disappointed to see damage to this Bull’s Eye tulip. Of the 8 bulbs planted, three had come up, and then this fourth one finally emerged, way in the back. It looks like the damage done to it was from something digging next to it, though, not from something trying to eat it. The flower bulb is still intact, if somewhat the worse for wear, and only one leaf was torn right off.
After switching the memory card out on the trail cam still at the driveway, I made sure to check the rest of the garden beds. I saw no signs of frost this morning, though there could have been some during the night. I think we had rain, though, so that would have helped. I’m happy to say that I saw no signs of frost damage on anything.
Unfortunately, I did find other damage.
The Heritage variety of raspberries that I got for my daughter had been doing very well in their newly planted location. I guess they still are, except that something has started to eat them!! They will recover – so long as the munching does not continue.
We still have some 1″ wire mesh in the basement. It might be enough to put a barrier around each of these raspberries.
Interestingly, the old raspberry plants, on the other side of the garden, under the shade of a crab apple and chokecherry tree, show no sides of nibbling. They aren’t as healthy as the new plants, though, and are just barely managing to leaf out right now. In the fall, we should transplant them into a sunny location. For now, whatever critter ate the new raspberries seems uninterested in the old ones.
I also found this.
It looks like something walked right through a couple of our beds. I’ve seen tracks similar to this before, but those tracks were so small, it was likely a cat. These much larger tracks line up with each other across the two beds. There is nothing to show if they were made by hooves are large paws (like a dog or a coyote), but with the nibbled raspberries, it does seem more likely to have been a deer. Or we could be looking at two different animals. The angle of the tracks don’t go to or from the raspberries, but at an angle well aside from them.
Once inside, I checked the trail cam, and nothing at all triggered the camera facing the tulips. Aside from files with me checking the angles and adjusting it, there was one other file, and it got triggered by wind blown branches.
So I went back and moved the camera. It is now on the crab apple tree at the “corner” of where the tulips are. I tried a couple of different branches, so when I next check the files (which I will probably do later today, rather than wait until tomorrow), I can see if one works better than the other. The problem is, I think the camera is now too close. It may be covering just a small part of the tulip area, rather than the whole thing.
Meanwhile, as I was tightening the strap and adjusting the camera position, Creamsicle Jr. came by, walked up to a tulip plant that was still taller (having had just a flower chomped off, leaving the stalk and leaves), grabbed it with a paw, and started biting at the leaves!!! The little s***! Now, I don’t think the cats did the damage we’re finding, but it’s adding insult to injury for him to start chomping on the already damaged tulips!
The girls and I have been talking about what we can try to protect these. The problem is, there isn’t a lot available. I made a point of looking in garden centres, and have not been finding what I remember seeing just last year. I’ve seen some “deer fencing”, which is basically a stronger plastic mesh, but no netting. The closest I found were pop-up mesh covers for individual plants. Which would be fine if we were trying to protect just a couple of plants, but completely unusable – and insanely expensive – for our set up. In researching options. I’ve read that smaller birds can actually get tangled up in the bird netting, so I was looking for something finer. Unfortunately, there was nothing. I found that very odd, as this was something that used to be easy to find. In the end, we ordered a roll of mosquito netting, online, courtesy of my daughter. It’s a 10′ x 30′ roll, and we were going to try it over the beets, first. I think it would be fairly easy to set up on the hoops I put over the beet bed next to the carrots, and my daughters were thinking of using the T posts along the retaining wall in the old kitchen garden to support netting over the lettuces and beets planted there. If this works out, we’ll pick up more mosquito netting.
I also want to pick up more 1″ wire mesh, which is relatively cheap (at least I hope it’s still cheap!). I think that will work better for some of the beds. I’m thinking of getting some PVC pipe to use as hoops, too, though I’ve been looking for that for a couple of years now, and not finding the right size that will bend well. We might have to order that online. We’ll have to come up with something much cheaper to put around the corn and sunflower beds, though. I’ve read that deer don’t have good depth perception, so two low fences, a few feet apart, works as well as one tall fence. We might be able to get away with picking up more of that yellow rope and making a double “fence” around that far garden area. We can also tie flappy, spinny and shiny things to it, to keep the birds away, too.
I’ve been looking at ideas for protecting garden beds from insects, birds, etc. for some time, and in many ways, it has been very … perplexing. I suspect it has to do with the difference between countries. For example, I often see ways to make various structures by re-purposing “free” wood pallets. Where on earth are people getting free pallets? My daughters both worked at a major hardware store. Pallets were always returned to the company that supplied the product, to be used again. They did have “extra” pallets that customers could have – at a price, not for free. By the time pallets ended up at the back by the garbage bins, they were no longer usable. Not much left to salvage from those (we’ve grabbed some in the past and did what we could with them). No one just tosses out good pallets! At least, not that I have been able to find.
Then there are the PVC pipe projects. PVC is so cheap! You can make things for almost free!
Well, not really. I mean, PVC pipe is relatively inexpensive, compared to other things, but clearly our prices are much higher than whomever is writing articles about these projects I’ve found. Also, I’ve looked for the type of pipe used in the projects, and I’m not finding them. What I am finding is far too rigid to be used the way they are in the projects. Then there’s the electrical conduit. I’ve seen these used to make strong, lightweight frames for trellises. Again, I’m not finding them in local stores. The type I am finding is flexible, not rigid. I suppose we might find it in the city. Yes, I know; we could try ordering online and pick them up or something, but the few times I’ve tried that, what showed as available in a store on the website often turns out to not actually be in stock at the store. Plus, when buying something I’m not familiar with, I like to be able to actually see the product to make sure it will do, before I buy it. For my fellow yarn crafters, it’s like buying yarn online. It’s one thing to buy yarn you’re familiar with. Caron Simply Soft is Caron Simply Soft, wherever you get it, but when buying new type of yarn, it’s very much a touchy-feely thing. I recall a friend of mine who spent $200 on yarn intended for some charity projects, but when it came in, she found the texture to be so course and awful, she ended up spending another $200 on yarn at the store I was teaching at, at the time. For me, it makes no difference whether it’s yarn, or PVC pipe. I need to see and handle the product, first. I find ordering online to be a bit of a crap shoot for many things. Like when my daughter ordered a XXL hoodie, thinking it was be safe to order a much larger size than needed, only to get something labeled as XXL, but would barely have fit a child! Or the keyboard my husband bought for me that I ended up not being able to use.
By I digress, yet again!
We have to figure something out, to protect our garden beds from critters. We have so many, so spread out, however, it becomes difficult to find affordable, practical solutions! Particularly since so much of it is temporary. It will be much easier when we are ready to build our permanent accessible garden beds.
Until then, we do the best we can to reduce the carnage!