Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Wordy Wednesday

{To see a larger image, go here.}

Looks like an ordinary boring picture, does it not? Wait… what is that?

{To see a larger image, go here.}

It is a Praying Mantis. I do believe people think me weird while observing me walk about the property because I am slow and I constantly look where I step. I do not mind stepping on the dang ants; but, I do not want to be stepping onto beneficial critters.

Speaking of critters, we definitely have gophers on the land. And no, they are NOT beneficial critters. They are a nuisance!

Anyway, I had Abby on her leash the other morning and she suddenly crouched and wiggled her butt. I saw grass and dirt moving and stopped her just short of getting whatever it was. {She has been getting grasshoppers and eating them. Gross! I am trying to discourage her from eating them.) Anyway, when I went to check the area, I knew it was a gopher in action because there was a hole in the ground with a two or three inch diameter underneath the moving debris. I am seeing mounds pop up more over the land and I am assuming they are getting ready for winter. I just wish they would move on somewhere else!

It is because of the gophers that I have to put down hardware cloth underneath the garden beds and let me tell you, this process is a pain-in-you-know-what! My hands often get scratched even when I wear gloves because I have to cut the hardware cloth to size and then “sew” the pieces together with wire. Dan helps me put the hardware cloth down in the ground and then screw them onto the garden bed using washers.

Gophers are mighty strong with long tough nails on their feet which are able to grab things; so the stronger the hardware cloth and smaller the gauge (larger number), the better. And, using washers helps keep the hardware cloth in place prevents them (gophers) from ripping the hardware cloth away from the screws.

I have not had a problem with them coming from underground in my one lone garden bed (which was an experiment); but, they are sneaky and have come up above nearby and then getting into the garden bed chewing up my precious little seedlings. I also have witnessed the local mockingbird eating up my strawberries. So, I am going to have to come up with some kind of protective barrier above ground.

I believe my Square Foot Gardening book has some ideas that I can use. (Yes, my gardening efforts is based off this method.) As soon as the two new beds are built and in place, I will work on a solution to this problem. I am looking forward to the challenge.