Okay, I am not a happy camper right now.
My daughter and I had started to do the evening watering, and she was at the tomatoes when she saw something on the concrete steps outside our dining room door. We currently have our umbrella tree sitting there, and she saw something go behind the pot.
The mock orange here has been recovering nicely from cold damage.
As I to check on what my daughter saw, I could see movement through the mock orange leaves. The kittens have been enjoying playing on these steps. In the past, we’ve had cats move their litters under here. There is a gap between the stairs and the basement wall that even the skinnier adult cats can fit through, and I believe the stairs are hollow underneath. In fact, this is where we caught David and Keith, mostly because their eyes were so infected, they couldn’t see us to run away. Their sibling managed to keep going under the stairs and we were never able to get her. Rosencrantz then moved her out of there completely, and into the junk pile, hence Junk Pile’s name.
So, was it a kitten? Or…
When I got to the steps, there was nothing there, so I moved the branches of the mock orange to see if there were any kittens behind the steps.
Instead, I found a large hole!
Yup. A woodchuck had made a den here.
There wasn’t even the telltale pile of dirt, like the one in the garden.
I grabbed our jug of critter repellent, which was almost empty, and simply dumped it into the opening. Then I refilled the jug with water. As I came back, as saw one of the little woodchucks running away and around the back of the house.
Because this is right up against the house, we can’t just flood the opening, but I did pour a couple of jugs of water down the hole. I also blocked it as much as I could with some scrap pieces of wood, for now.
For this one, once it’s clear, I think we will be gathering as many small rocks as we can to dump into the opening, then top it off with soil. It’s going to be difficult, with the mock orange in the way.
And we’re all out of strong smelling soap and hot spicy things.
While watering near the old kitchen garden, I could smell the soap from a distance. Checking the beds with the soap shavings, they seemed to have no new damage.
However, the end of the beet bed neared the house, where we had never had critter damage before, was now kibbled on. Not much. This area did get black pepper, so maybe that discouraged more damage.
Before heading into the house, I checked some other stuff, including the potatoes my daughter had just watered.
I found this.
Four potato bags against the fence were damaged.
I at first thought it could be that kittens had started rolling in the bags or something, but …
… no kitten would be eating potato leaves!
Off everything we’ve been trying to grow this year, nothing has been thriving as much as the potatoes, so this is particularly frustrating!
Since taking this photo, I went back and unrolled the bags to their full height. They are tall enough that it should keep the critters out.
I am not a happy camper!!!