Friday, June 28, 2013

A Mini Zoo

There have been a lot of surprising aspects of home ownership. Most of the unexpected things are completely wonderful. The way Winston bolts up the stairs, all the way from the basement to the top floor for absolutely no reason. The way little white butterflies arrive in my garden every morning. The random floor creaks that announce the arrival of feline or human companion. The hydrangeas and gardenias in my front yard that I didn't know existed.

But there have been a few surprises I could live without. The wasps in my backyard belong in this category. I am happy to support a healthy garden for bumble bees. But wasps are not welcome. They freak me out. Something about the extra long legs and weird, segmented bodies give me the willies.

Initially we tried a pretty trap from World Market. It didn't work. Then we tried a real trap from Home Depot and some spray. The spray just pissed off the wasps while we bolted inside. Not my bravest moment.

Finally, we got some industrial strength spray with amazing reviews from Amazon and crossed our fingers. These damn wasps had to go. Thankfully, the latest spray killed on contact and took care of the pesky suckers.

But, it was a learning lesson. Fiance was especially keen to make sure the wasp numbers stayed low. When we first purchased the house, I immediately wanted to put a bird feeder. I tend to talk to wild creatures in public. Once, I was walking down the sidewalk and there was a little, chubby bird in front of me. I said "tweet tweet, scoot!"...right as a stranger walked by and gave me quite a look. I love almost all wildlife and wanted them in our yard. Fiance wasn't so convinced. He was concerned by the potential for poop. Then he read about lots of birds eat insects and he was sold.

We bought a bird feeder with great reviews online and it arrived broken. Blast. So we got another at Home Depot.

We read that bird-eating insects tend to like black oil sunflower seeds best. So we made sure to get a mix that contained those seeds.

Then we bought a hook to secure the feed to the fence.

And hung the feeder.

We chose a section of the fence that was near the tree. That way the tweets have shelter and places to sit.

While we were at it, we hung a hummingbird feeder as well.

It took about 24 hours, but now we have a veritable zoo in the backyard. Squirrels eat some of the seeds. Unfortunately the feeder is squirrel-proof if it's hanging from a tree. But the fence allows the squirrels to get too close. Fortunately, they leave plenty of seeds for the birds and drop tons of scraps on the ground. Then the birds clean up the scraps and swarm to the feeder when the squirrels aren't around. Today we had four squirrels, one dove, one massive blackbird and over ten small other birds. It's a zoo out there. And in case you were wondering, I have no idea if they've eaten wasps. 

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