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Monday Morning Mix-Up 6/11/2012

Good morning everyone. How are your gardens going? Kent was adamant about not putting one in this year, after the critters did a number on our harvest last year and we got very little benefit from all of his hard work. Well, I think he couldn’t help himself, and he planted a few things after all. I’m hoping it’s not another exercise in frustration for him, but so far it’s not looking good. He’s already had to replant the basil in our pot on the deck, and we fear it was another case of this little menace

We’ve also found squirrels and raccoons on the bird feeders hanging from our deck. We’ll go through a whole container of birdseed overnight! Any ideas to keep them off of here???

  • I’m finally coming up for air a little bit after a busy winter and spring, and have actually gotten my inbox almost cleaned out (just a few hundred old emails to get through yet), and I found something that I wanted to be sure and tell you about! My friend, Wardeh, wrote the perfect book for Real Foodies, or for Real Foodies like myself I should say: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Fermenting Foods– check it out and let me know what you think, or if you’ve read it, tell us about it! :)


  1. Kelly, try mixing your bird seed with cayenne pepper before putting it in the bird feeders. Birds don’t have receptors in their mouths for heat/spicy (so it won’t affect them at all), but squirrels and raccoons do! I also sprinkle cayenne pepper in my mulch flower beds to keep the feral cat colony I feed from using them as a litter box. You can buy it pretty cheap online in bulk – $7 a pound at Mountain Rose Herbs, which should last all summer.

  2. I recently replaced my old bird feeder because the squirrels had actually destroyed it by climbing on it and trying to get through the shingled “roof” into the main seed storage compartment! I ended up buying the cheapest bird feeder I could find at our local feed store, just in case this one got demolished as well, and ended up “accidentally” getting a squirrel proof feeder! It is all plastic (cheap!), and has a fairly broad, sloped “roof”, which is quite slippery because it is plastic. The squirrels aren’t able to grip the surface, so they stay off the feeder. Still, the doves that frequent the feeder tend to knock seed out of it onto the ground, which the squirrels then eat, but at least they can’t get seed out of the feeder itself now!

    Unfortunately, for now I’ve had to stop putting seed in the feeder at all, because the seed that gets knocked out still attracts the squirrels, which have so generously shared their FLEAS with my yard! Our dog is obsessed with chasing the squirrels and loves to hang out under the tree with the feeder, since that’s usually where the squirrels are, and picks fleas up from the area! I’m using diatomaceous earth to try to conquer those dang fleas in the yard, flea combing our dog multiple times a day, and holding seed back until I get a handle on it. Wish me luck!

    • Hey Jill, any chance you’d snap a picture of that and email me so I can look for one similar???!!!

  3. Kelly, you could use wire netting around the basil and other items to keep out the animals. It works pretty well.

  4. My parents had good luck keeping rabbits out of their plants with hair clippings. When Mother went for her weekly hairdo, she’d ask for all the sweepings from the beauty shop and spread them around the plants. I have no idea how it would work with raccoons. They are vicious animals, so don’t let the family dog near them.

  5. You can buy squirrel-proof bird feeders. I’ve heard that they do actually work – no personal experience, though.

    My garden is doing a TON better than last yr – when it was over 100 degrees for most of 3 months, and 0 rain from early May to probably late Sept. Also really helps to be growing an heirloom variety of cuke – Yamato Long – that doesn’t get stressed and diseased in heat and humidity.

  6. Kelly, I couldn’t resist sending you this link. (The Dick E. Bird News)
    It was originally published in Michigan then went online as times changed. It was original, tongue in cheek, delightful and full of wonderful facts and tips about wildlife in your backyard. Take a look at some of the old archives still available and the hilarious wanted posters and t-shirts for Hairy Houdini the squirrel. If you have time to read you will really enjoy.

  7. I have a bird feeder that I was using black nyjer seeds. They sprout into weeds. :(

    Many years ago I taped (!) a show on TV called Daylight Robbery. It was about someone who tried to keep the squirrels out of the bird feeder and ended up having more fun creating a squirrel obstacle course. It might have been from England.

    • I sure wish I had something to report, but all I’ve made time for these days are quick walks with friends so I can catch up with them and exercise, too!

  8. Hm, maybe I shouldn’t suggest this publicly, but we use an airsoft gun to keep the pests away from our house and garden:)

    • Funny you should say that………… Let’s just say I’ve been practicing my firearm skills recently, ha!!

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