little critters, a clear porch and zip ties.

The Saturday before last, we learned we had critters invading our back porch. Little critters. And not cute critters like squirrels or chipmunks or hamsters. Bigger than hamsters. We had foolishly left birdseed on the porch in their original bags. First, we vacuumed up LOTS of sunflower seed shells. Then, after blocking up all the possible entrances to the porch and laying out a few appetizing cubes of poison, we discovered that critters were not INVADING our porch. They were LIVING IN IT.

So, Sunday afternoon was spent COMPLETELY purging the porch of critters and their warm cozy home – which happened to be underneath an old portable hot tub. The hot tub was buried under a mountain of junk and clutter. These photos are from August of last year, so add about 2 feet to the height of the junk and clutter:

porch before1

porch before2

Amazingly, after a only a few hours of digging through the pile, it was clear. I went inside like a total girl, and watched as FirstHusband tipped the hot tub on its side. The critters immediately ran out and scurried around the porch before finding the open door. FirstHusband and FavoriteSon rolled the hot tub out right behind them and it sat in the back yard for a week.

The NEXT Sunday afternoon, FirstHusband hauled the hot tub to the dump. My porch is so CLEAR!

porch after1

porch after2

Now I need to clean and organize the shelving unit behind the teak screen – but the screen has been pushed back more than 4 FEET! I was finally able to move my chair under the ceiling fan! It has been very peaceful sitting out there this last week.

The evacuated little critters have been munching on poison cubes every night for the past week. We’re pretty sure they ran into a shed on the side of the house, so unless they politely go off somewhere in the forest to die, finding their remains in the shed should be fairly easy. FirstHusband bought some stackable bins for the bird seed, so hopefully, the temptation to invade our porch is gone.

2. Speaking of birdseed. FirstHusband is still working on his raccoon learning curve. He has once again modified bird feeders with zip ties in an effort to thwart the raccoons and squirrels. I’ll let this photo serve as his notice that we’re down to three zip ties on this bird feeder.

bird feeder zip

And we did buy a new bird feeder for thistle. The label said “Squirrel Proof.” Shhhhh. I think I just heard a bunch of squirrels laughing. Yes. I’m sure of it.

We did figure out a way of preventing the raccoons from dragging the suet feeders up into the tree. We hung a big ol’ wooden birdhouse to the bottom of the suet feeders. Raccoons may be smart, and they may be persistent and they may have some chewing capacity – but they cannot lift this bird house unless they join paws and pull together.

bird feeder house weight

Short of taking down all the bird feeders – which I REALLY enjoy having, due to all the BIRDS they attract, we’re not going to get rid of the other visitors to our yard. We back up to a small pond and beyond an embankment, a RIVER. There is a forest behind our house. At night, we get deer, raccoons – and last night, for the first time, we saw a possum. Unless we leave cheap feed out on the ground – AWAY from the house and easier to get to than the bird feeders – these visitors vandalize the bird feeders. If they don’t find any food out in the yard, the deer will come right up to my porch and eat my rosebushes down to stumps. Very rude.

So, we usually buy a 50 pound bag of cracked corn for $6.75 and leave the corn in bowls under the tree – again – AWAY from the house. We’ve learned that when we are diligent about that, the bird feeders stay intact, the more expensive seed remains in the feeders for the birds and I have roses in vases in my kitchen window (for the cats to eat, of course).

To find out what others learned this week, check out What I Learned this Week hosted by Musings of a Housewife.

9 thoughts on “little critters, a clear porch and zip ties.

  1. Okay, I have to ask – what is cracked corn? I’ve always wondered that… Sounds like we’ve got all the same critters here that you have there. I have yet to get a single strawberry from my plants due to the deer. Good thing deer are cute…

    Wendy – Basically, it’s broken up corn. We tried whole corn, but it didn’t satisfy everyone and they still went after the bird feeders. Whole kernel corn was too hard. Cracked/broken corn is easier to eat. You can’t leave too much of it out if it rains a lot or it rots faster, but we just put a little out every day. We buy it at a feed store. I guess people feed it to cows? Horses?

    We never get any tomatoes if we plant them due to the birds, so we bought a topsy turvey planter and are trying it inside the porch. I’m wondering if we could plant strawberries in one too. (by JSM)

  2. I don’t like the non furry little critters. We had some of those in our attic one time and we gave them a little poison to munch on and then they decided to die in the wall!! UGH! It smelled so nasty for about 2 weeks.
    Your porch looks nice now though. Doesn’t it feel good to get a bit more organized? Oh and I would have been in the house with you being an official onlooker! LoL.

  3. You saw my post about the 4 dead baby raccoons in our attic last week, right?

    I hate raccoons with a passion. You would be amazed at what they can do and where they can get.

  4. My mother seems to have opossums that love to come into her house, garage, hang out under the washer and dryer inside the house. Ugh. It happens every year, I swear. I’m so glad that you found the family of critters and evacuated them from your now lovely porch! Cool!

  5. You definitely win the critter count. Yesterday evening we had a buck and two does in the soccer field. And our raccoon visitor rudely pooped on the stairs to the deck. However, although the holes in the porch have multiplied, we have not had any more squirrels in the screened in porch–to our knowledge. They are probably frat partying it around 2:00 a.m.

  6. Regarding critter proofing the bird feeders, you might consider moving them away from the trees and placing them on pole 5′-8’off the ground. Top and bottom baffles work well, too.

  7. Another thing to stop squirrels from eating bird food is the Eliminator. Don’t get me wrong, it is expensive, but nothing is more statisfying than hearing the feeder slam shut when one of those tubby little squirrels hops on to eat the food.

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