Just Thinking About Where the Line Is

swallowWhen we moved here we had a whole lot of tolerance. We embraced all the wild creatures. We loved the woodchucks and birds and bees and when “something” built a home in our pond we thought the structure was beautiful. We embraced the wildlife that called our place theirs. Then we learned that the structure was built by muskrats and they were simultaneously burrowing holes in the dike holding our pond (that’s what they do and if left on their own they would leave us with no pond) and killing our chickens. The woodchucks were chowing their way through our carefully nurtured lettuce beds. And the beautiful birds included the sparrows that clip off every bud of our cherry bushes, along with chipping away at our pea shoots and other seedlings. Not to mention the chipmunk, squirrel, mole, mouse havoc that can occur. So … how do we live in peace with these creatures?

We heard similar stories from our friends who are transplants from Long Island. They arrived with good intentions to share the bounty with the wild creatures and decided to build a fence of raspberry bushes to keep the deer out of their gardens. Deer are very intrepid. Their garden was soon compromised and their battle began.

Our battle continues. I hate to call it a battle but it is. As in all aspects of life, you need to draw boundaries. But it is tricky to figure out where the line should be drawn. We use every strategy we can to reduce the enticements and be kind to what we now consider our foes: fences (electric, small wire, big wire), electronic devices to keep out moles, abundant plantings so that there is more than enough, guards to keep the mice from girdling trees, humane traps to move the woodchucks and squirrels. We also encourage good predators. We have three Guinea Fowl guarding our place and we bring in lady beetles and put feeders out to attract the birds that be helpful not harmful. Our ponds also attract swallows and by being hospitable we have increased the swallow population here from one nesting family to eight. (Mosquitos don’t stand a chance). That means we have almost a hundred swallows here at one point. It is an awesome sight.

We keep trying to stay in harmony. And Nature keeps testing us!

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