Ants were piling up in the hummingbird feeder. Disgusting. I had gotten an “ant guard” from Freddy’s that worked reasonably well, but when I went back for a new one they had disappeared from the shelves.
I bought ant traps and placed them on top of the beams from which the feeder dangled. They were unobtrusive (you probably can’t even see them tucked into the space between the two beams). They were also ineffective. The next time I was in town, I headed for The Backyard Bird Shop, fully expecting the same kind of glum answers I get whenever the dreaded gopher conversation comes up.
Instead, a perky, friendly young woman responded to my question with “Oh boy, do I!” and led me to this simple, elegant solution to my problem. There were other models, but this cheery upside-down red umbrella, for a mere $8.99 spoke my language. Plain water goes into the moat. A drop of cooking oil breaks the surface tension of the water so the ants can’t float. It works! I checked it after two weeks in place and it wasn’t even filled up with dead ants. Totally non-toxic, so if a chickadee decides to perch on the rim and take a sip, no harm done.
Would that all problems could be solved so painlessly. If you are local, I highly recommend The Backyard Bird Shop (they also have a good selection of greeting cards). Otherwise, just Google “Ant Moats” to find a source.
Have you discovered that slugs are deft climbers? This guy was lolling on the remains of a Kniphofia ‘Percy’s Pride’ flower. Earlier, I found one similarly draped over a Casa Blanca lily bud nine feet off the ground. I’m squeamish about squishy/yucky things so snipping these guys in two doesn’t work for me. It has nothing to do with soft-heartedness: when we gardened in town I used to toss them into the road for the traffic to obliterate. Here, they get tossed into the forest, where they actually do some good. I always wear gloves for this very reason.
This little guy is a different story: always welcome, no matter how much noise he happens to make. The frogs were oddly silent last spring, but I always look forward to their raucous chorus.
Sami is looking relaxed here, but if Mr Frog made a peep she would be quick to segue into attack mode. Froggy stayed close to me for protection and made nary a sound.
It’s odd how attached one can get to fish. We had just been congratulating ourselves for having devised an early alert system that had kept ours alive for four years. The one you see was the granddaddy. There were two medium sized and three babies. We came out one morning to find all the poles knocked about, the water lilies trashed and no sign of fish…the work, I’m sure, of those adorable little raccoons.
The deer family has no fear of us, but it’s still hard to get a good photo of them. This one was taken through the window as they munched their way through the dandelions (welcome to them) en route to a main course somewhere in the midst of the beds and borders (not so crazy about their choice of entrees).