Special sighting...yours truly does not recall ever seeing an image like this. The two hawks were spotted in a tree during a recent walkabout in Union County.

Some musings...and a follow-up to last week...

Please read this...

A few musings by an old guy as we look forward to a heat index of 115 degrees...

Just wondering...are posted speed limits, highway signs (like the ones that command “STOP”) and those stripes on the highways just mere suggestions these days?

Our local “weather guy” reported that the heat index at 12:30 p.m. last Sunday was 114.9 degrees. The actual air temperature was a mere 96 degrees. Maybe that’s why it was not very comfortable when Bob and I were sitting out on the porch swing. I should note that the “weather guy’s” equipment showed that there was a wind chill reading of 96.1 degrees at the time. Wonder why it didn’t snow. 

Speaking of the weather, on the 29th day of January, the high temperature in our little corner of the world was 46 degrees. The low was 30. 

A month and a few days prior to Jan. 29, as in Dec. 22, 2022, the high temperature actually reached 44 degrees...and quickly plunged to 4 degrees below zero. The wind chill on that day was 24 degrees below zero. Such special memories...

Speaking of Bob... 

Another day...another evening...another opportunity for Bob and one of his persons to sit on the porch swing and watch the world go by...and so we did Monday evening.

We got to watch a rabbit that was out for an evening stroll. It’s nice to see a rabbit again, even though they like to join groundhogs and white-tailed deer in munching on the goodies The Other Half is growing in her garden. At one point, we also saw a raccoon wandering down the street...

Speaking of critters, a bit of a follow-up to last week’s column...

While engaged in some more intense research (wasting my time) online, I ran across an article of interest which posted on the University of Missouri Extension website. Seems that The Other Half is not the only one having to deal with critters who enjoy visiting a garden. Here’s the article:

Cute critters by day, gardeners’ worst enemies by night. Most gardeners know the frustration of having a beautiful garden decimated by wildlife, University of Missouri Extension horticulturist David Trinklein said.

“Our four-legged ‘friends’ can be more formidable garden foes than insects, diseases and weeds,” Trinklein said. “Because of their size and our inability to control their numbers in urban and suburban areas, deer probably are the most formidable offenders.”

Deer and other critters like food that is tasty and convenient, he said. A garden is wildlife’s equivalent of a fast food drive-thru. Gardens are especially enticing to wildlife when they cannot find food in their native habitats, such as during a drought.

Avoid animal pests by putting barriers in their way, Trinklein said. Pungent smells and unpleasant tastes may dissuade wildlife such as deer. Some gardeners choose chemical repellents with repugnant odors. Spray these around the edge of the garden. Keep in mind human and pet safety, plant toxicity and expense when considering these options, he said.

There are numerous homespun remedies for repelling wildlife. One of the easiest is a mixture of 20 percent whole eggs and 80 percent water. Reapply monthly. 

Some commercial repellents contain capsaicin, the chemical that gives the fire to hot peppers. Other homespun remedies include sachets containing dog hair and highly perfumed soap.

Objects such as scarecrows, foil, aluminum pie plates, predatory bird figures and mirrors can help deter deer, raccoons, rabbits and other pests. 

These are most effective when moved frequently, said Trinklein. Animals become accustomed to them if they’re left in the same place.

More drastic methods include fences, netting and small cages over individual plants such as tomatoes. These can be effective but expensive, he said. 

Using 36-inch-high chicken wire buried 6 inches in the ground can exclude smaller wildlife such as rabbits and squirrels. For deer, fences must be 8 or more feet high to be effective.

Electric fences also are an option. Deter small species with two strands of electric fencing 2 and 4 inches above the ground. Larger animals require taller fences. 

Trinklein recommends clearly labeling all electric fencing to avoid accidental contact by humans.

Plant selection is another way to deter wildlife. Common garden flowers considered to be deer-resistant include ageratum, geranium, marigold, morning glory, nasturtium, salvia, snapdragon, Shasta daisy, canna, liatris, petunia, phlox, verbena, vinca and yarrow. 

For whatever it might be worth, The Other Half has tried some of these suggestions. However, I do not foresee her building a fence which is 8 or more feet high... 

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158
Email: news@annanews.com

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