Aug 22, 2010

Of Mice and Man

Ok, they're not called Mice, they're called Voles - some hybrid of a mouse and mole and the man ins question is non other than Cameron. And, its a good thing we didn't go all out with the summer garden this year as it was definitely a learning year. We never got to reap the benefits of our tomato and pepper plants thanks to the infestation of voles and squirrels behind us and next door to us.

Our next door neighbor seems to love nature so much he wants it in his backyard, which is still only the red clay we started out with. His way of luring all of nature there? Leaving a 5 lb bag of bird seed on the ground and open. We soon had squirrels running all over our backyard, using our bark to bury the sun flower seeds they pillaged from next door. Before we knew it, the squirrels had built a burrow in the field behind us. But then the squirrels stopped coming around, partly due to Cameron's efforts to stop them, but also because of the voles. Apparently the voles, while smaller than the squirrels, are tougher and actually push the squirrels out when a food source is located. Great! By this time we had produce on the plants and had planted pumpkin seeds in hopes of having some pumpkins for Fall.

Cameron went into combat mode, buying all kinds of different traps and poison. The first day he set the traditional mouse traps he was killing one of two of these rodents every 5 to 15 minutes. This did slow down the next few days and weeks, and there were definitely fewer of these things around but we still kept finding evidence of them. That's when Cameron started cementing around the base of our fence and almost over night the problem was no more. The pumpkin plants were growing like rapid fire and recently we started seeing pumpkins growing! Whoo hoo! Until we discovered a rather large pumpkin pulled off the vine and half eaten. After some investigating we discovered the voles had created a burrow in the middle of the main pumpkin plants! Cameron destroyed it best he could, but can't cement that part of the fence until pumpkin season is over, so we're not sure we'll get any good pumpkins this year. Only time will tell.

But to be honest, there's no way we wouldn't be going to a pumpkin patch this year any how - it's London's first Halloween and we can't pass up the photos ops a pumpkin patch would bring.

All that green in the corner are the orange pumpkin plants, taking over.

They're huge!

One of the pumpkins growing - so far untouched by the voles.

My white pumpkin plants - only 2 survived of 8 seeds, thanks to the voles.

We transplanted a few of the orange pumpkin plants to the 4th wine barrel to give the others some more space.

The grape vines looked beautiful this year. No grapes though.

After the tomato plants died, we planted some more permanent grasses and green plants.


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