I had started to worry that the birds had moved on and given up on our house. But never fear, the birds are here!
I read all the great advice and ideas from readers. I also visited the Wild Bird Store in Waldorf where they had plenty of ideas about how to entice the birds back to the yard.
Based on all this great input, here were the steps I took:
- I moved the bird feeders out of the tree (where the squirrels and raccoons could get them and damage my tree anyway) and placed them on a free-standing pole with a squirrel and raccoon baffle.
– I added a new hopper feeder and platform feeder on another 4 x 4 post.
– I invested in some high quality bird seed mixes. Frankly, these new seed mixes smell so good I could probably serve them at a party and no one would notice.
– I added a water wiggler to one of my bird baths.
– I added a hanging water tough to the bird feeder station.
It has taken a few days, but I see that this weekend the birds have found the feast and are happily telling their friends. So far, it’s mostly finches, tufted titmice and chickadees. But I did spy a cardinal yesterday out of the corner of my eye. And I hear lots of avian activity when the windows are open.
I still can’t take photos of birds worth poop, so I figure I need a better, long-range lens. It’s a shame to go to all the work of sneaking around the yard with a camera and tripod only to get terrible tiny photos of blurry birds.
I believe I’ll start keeping an official backyard bird list. Perhaps that’ll motivate me to learn more about what birds I am seeing. I am always astounded at the wide variety of birds people can spot in their own yards. Surely I’m missing many that I just haven’t identified.
I don’t generally air my vermin and pest control problems in public, but in this case, I will consider it a public service.
We have been besieged this fall by fruit flies. They are EVERYWHERE. They particularly come out in the evenings, for some reason.
When I was a kid in the South, we called them gnats. Now that I’m all sophisticated, I call them fruit flies just like all my sophisticated friends.
It’s not the first time this particular plague has visited. But some years just seem to be worse than others. I recall one year—before I figured out all the ways to avoid and trap fruit flies—I resorted to sitting on the couch to read armed with the vacuum cleaner, which I had to turn on from time to time to suck up the fruit flies that had congregated near me. It was really ridiculous.
Since then, I have tried water-starving my plants (which they do not like). I have also tried the paper cone trap, the wine trap, the potato in the plants trap and, as mentioned, the high-tech vacuum cleaner trap. If you are similarly besieged and favor home-grown solutions, here’s a handy roundup of gnat, errr, fruit fly traps you can make yourself:
Get Rid of Fruit Flies
Frankly, the best option I have found is not a home-grown trap at all. Although they are marginally effective, the BEST traps are from Gardener’s Supply. They are natural fruit fly traps. You can also buy these lovely, decorator soapstone trap holders that I am sure you will want to keep on view year-round, even after fruit fly season.
Even as I write, I have a glass of wine at my desk. Also on my desk is one of these traps in a lovely soapstone holder. Instead of going for my wine, they are flocking to the trap. Sweet!
So where have I been?
I have been absolutely immersed in home repairs. Now that I can take some time from work to look around the house, I see how much has been neglected. Walter, my handy home repair guy has been here from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for two weeks straight fixing, painting and sprucing things up. You would think I lived in a hovel of desperate proportions with all he has had to do. And when I’m not spotting him on a high ladder, answering questions, peering at paint colors, fetching supplies or doing my own home improvement projects, I have, in fact, been working at my real job.
The guys are going for a college visit to Harry’s alma mater, The Citadel, this weekend, so for me this weekend is garden cleanup time. I might finally get those bulbs in the ground too.