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A Window On My World

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Thursday, October 02, 2008


Apparently I garden to feed wildlife. The whole place is a smorgasbord. Plus, it is fun to feed the birds additional food, and watch their cute selves up close. Feeding them purchased birdseed is one thing, but it does not stop with that. I am grateful that Nature pitches in with extra help sometimes, though I suspect she is using me.

When the Funny Feeder was put back into operation during the winter, filled with black sunflower seeds, the rowdy critters wasted a lot of it by knocking seeds onto the ground. I thought the squirrels, chipmunks, and doves were cleaning it up and being efficient, but look what happened.

Following photos are after the peak of bloom,
and, after they had been thinned some.

The Gold Finches hung upside down, hidden, as they clung to the flowers while they cleared away all the young seeds; it took only two or three days - if that long. I thought there were still seeds there, until Local Son showed me they were gone! All of that mess has been cleaned up now, and the feeder post has been made plumb.

Last year we took the local grandchildren out to an apple orchard where they could also select pumpkins for autumn decoration. They each chose one large pumpkin, then they wanted a few of the miniature ones that are about the size of a grapefruit. That was fun, and they placed them on their front porch for autumn, Halloween, and Thanksgiving. I told them when the pumpkins begin to go bad, I wanted them for my composter.

Then we enjoyed Thanksgiving Dinner at their house a few weeks later. As soon as dessert was served, one piped up and said, "You can take the pumpkins home with you when you leave. Thanksgiving is over and it's time to put out the Christmas things." I nearly fell off my chair laughing, we hadn't even left the table... but that is what we did.

When I have melons, winter squashes, or pumpkins, I like to remove the seeds and put them out somewhere for the Cardinals. The small pumpkins were so little, I just cut them open and set them on the ground around the Japanese tomato ring and let the Cardinals serve themselves.
Japanese Tomato Ring before the little pumpkins were placed.
This spring a very healthy pumpkin vine appeared. As soon as the first fruit was good and ripe, something ate it. The vine was rampant and ranging: it made eighteen little pumpkins. They were lovely little bright orange orbs.

Returning home one day, I came upon the scene of a massacre. Something had struck again and eaten five more.

It was either: Bandit,

OR... Scamper

OR... Grundoon
(I once pointed out a groundhog wandering in our back yard to our visiting four year old grandchild. Then I said, "Its name is Grundoon." The child said: "How do you know?")

OR... Pogo

...probably aided and abetted by... Alvin.

We gathered up the remaining twelve little pumpkins and brought them into the garage out of reach of the critters. We had purchased three small pumpkins, and this autumn we have twelve, plenty of seeds for next year, plus six were enjoyed by marauding wildlife. Seems to be a pretty good return on that investment; or, another way to look at it would be: That was an example of working with nature, and the benefits therefrom.


Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

Barbee, I had a good giggle at your critters. Sorry about the loss of pumpkins.

julian said...

Nice :) I like it (sometimes) when unplanned things grow in the garden - we got our papaya that way.
Lots of wildlife there!

Barbee' said...

Aunt Debbi/kurts mom (Texas, U.S.A.): Giggle away! It is rather like a parade of villains or suspects in a lineup. Your big pumpkin turned out great!

julian (Malaysia): Mmmmm! Papaya! Wish that would grow in my garden! I saw your snake; that was a long one. We have a few, but not that long.

Racquel said...

Those self seeding sunflowers are pretty. Wildlife makes gardening interesting to say the least. :)

Philip Bewley said...

Bandit, Grundoon, Pogo and Alvin!
You could make a wonderful children's story! what fun!
I enjoyed this post, and the sunflower circle.
Best regards,

Gail said...

I like pogo the best and blame all your critter problems on Bandit and Alvin!


Balisha said...

I loved reading your "critter" stories. So fun!

JGH said...

I'm smiling imagining your little birds clinging upside down to your flowerheads pigging out. All my sunflowers have been knocked down -- I thought by the wind, but now I'm suspecting some impatient little critters did it. Maybe if I named them like you do I'd feel more affectionate toward them.

Barbee' said...

Racquel (Virginia, U.S.A.): Now that I know they will grow. I may stick a few in other places... maybe down in the meadow. Yes, interesting and always a challenge!

philip bewley (California, U.S.A.): Thank you, Philip. Sometimes, I feel as if I live in someone's story; and I suspect I never completely grew up.

Gail (Tennessee, U.S.A.): Hmmmm... maybe I should take a poll.

Balisha (Illinois, U.S.A.): I am glad you enjoyed it. Sometimes I feel as though they are ganging up on me.

JGH (New York, U.S.A.): Could have been the wind, but I wouldn't be surprised at all if a visitor hadn't helped himself to the picnic you offered. The Goldfinches were cute (what little we could see of them from the window) and greedy. Guess they were fattening up for the winter. I was surprised the squirrels didn't pull ours down and eat them.

Northern Shade said...

You can get away with a lot of mischief when you're as cute as that backyard gang.

Barbee' said...

Northern Shade (Canada): They are rather cute, aren't they, the little rascals!

Roses and stuff said...

I've so enjoyed your post today - it must be great to have a garden full of wildlife - even if it means losing the odd pumpkin.

Barbee' said...

Roses and stuff (Sweden): Thank you, Katarina. I never know what to expect, one day to the next.

Steve said...

What a hilarious post. Critters have been my bane forever, lol, as a landscaper. We once had a lawn that we laid in sod which found every single piece of sod rolled up all tightly in the morning when the proud new homeowner came home. He asked us if we did it and I got insulted. We went back over and rolled them back out only to find the same thing next morning.

The guy owned a bar and so he came home one night at around 2 AM to try and catch someone redhanded. Turns out it was a family of raccoons, grubbing for worms! They were so tidy he couldn't do anything but laugh.

We put a hurricane fence down, staked it in until it took, lol, and smiled at their creativity.

And don't ask about "voles" and pond liner!

Barbee' said...

Steve (Oregon, U.S.A.): That is hilarious, too! You get the prize for the better story. Ahh, come on tell me about the pond liner and voles. You know misery loves company!