Views From The Cottage by Melanie Martyn
SPRINGING INTO SUMMER?
The long weekend has passed, and I must say….brrrrr as it was a bit chilly till thankfully, Monday brought us 20 degrees of Celsius and clear sunny skies! I’ve been holding off putting in any of my seedlings and that turned out to be a wise choice. Some of my friends were a little excited about the really warm days we recently had and subsequently lost quite a few small plants with those cooler nights. It is so sad to lose little seedlings that you worked so hard to nurture indoors.
My garden is a joy to me, and I hope to expand on the varieties of veggies so I can look forward to a glorious harvest in the fall. I still have butternut squash from last year! I need to amend and till the soil this week but as I look out my window today, the haze of mosquitos are making me afraid…very afraid! Not to worry as I’ll soak myself down with a home-made version of repellant that no bug (or human) will want to go near, LOL. It’s a combination of citronella, cedar leaf, eucalyptus, and lavender scents with an almond oil carrier. After slathering it on, I smell more like a tent in the hot summer sun, but it works.
Pests are all around us and I do not look forward to seeing those Asian Beetles come back to visit so I’ll be looking for help in that department. I could put screening over my plants but that would not please the bees and without their help in pollination, I’d be cutting my nose off…well, you know… I guess I’ll just be on the ready with my mason jar full of soapy water and jump on them as soon as they show their buggy eyes!
I’m still setting out a bit of bird feed and suet which had brought me much joy over the winter months. I didn’t want to stop feeding them. It was just a lonely Chickadee at first that came to my door but after a few weeks there were Finches, Juncos, Blue Jays, Downy Woodpeckers, and my blessed ruby-coloured Cardinals. I was even visited once or twice by a Pileated Woodpecker that engulfed the whole feeder. By late Spring, I was seeing Grackles, Starlings, colourful Goldfinches, Warblers, Nuthatches, Red-Winged Blackbirds and gently cooing, Mourning Doves.
Speaking of pests, the fun soon started. The Black Squirrels, the Red Squirrels and even a big Grey Squirrel discovered my ‘food score’. Love them but they can get really pesky! They ran up the screens and crawled down from the roof to reach the feeders. They jumped from the tree and up from the ground and down the make-do ropes I had used, just to swing about sending all the seeds flying! They chased each other around the yard and chittered up in the trees to scold each other for not sharing. If the food wasn’t out in the morning, they’d scamper to my door with a look of askance. Cute but not that cute!
You would think that even this scenario would settle down in the evenings, but I soon realized I was being visited by Racoons and Skunks in the middle of the night. I’d hear a crash and stumble out of bed to shine a flashlight beam on a couple of bandits safe cracking the suet cages! Later that same night, I surprised a Skunk who thought my compost heap was hiding their fair share of tasty slugs. We both backed away slowly figuring it was nothing to make a ‘stink’ about.
I have since removed the seed feeding stations, but I still hang on to the idea that the suet feeders, if placed properly, won’t hurt to keep. I’ll also keep a little cracked corn on hand for my favourite ducks as I’ve been trying to get them ‘in a row’ all my life! Cheers to that and hope you had a wonderful Victoria Day weekend!