Waging War On Chipmunks and Rabbits

public-enemy-no-1The past few years, we’ve had a few unwelcome guests.  Some rabbits would come by and munch on whatever plants we were attempting to grow.  Later on, we found some chipmunks making themselves cozy in and around our garage.  I’ve been trying to rid ourselves of these pests for awhile, but recently I decided to get serious.

First, some ground rules I set in my War On Unwelcome Animals.  I wasn’t looking to kill them.  I don’t have anything against them per se.  I just don’t want them borrowing in my yard, living in my garage, or munching on my plants.  To this end, I wasn’t going to use any traps or poisons.  Besides, my kids play in the yard and the "kill the wabbit" poison could easily become the "made JSL sick" poison.  I’d rather have a thousand rabbits munching my plants than make my boys ill trying to get rid of the pests.

In the past, I’ve used a spray designed to get rid of deer.  It contains capsaicin in an egg white suspension.  The smell actually reminded me of very good buffalo wings.  (Yes, I was tempted to try it, but no I wasn’t stupid enough to actually taste it.)  Of course, while spicy buffalo wings might taste good to you and me, it tastes horrid to deer, rabbits, and other animals that like their diet to be more of the non-spicy plant variety.  This helped repel the rabbits, but any rain storm would wash away the capsaicin spray and soon the bunnies would return.

Over the weekend, I stopped by Home Depot to address two issues.  First of all, the stones in our garage have a lot of holes in them.  Some are due to age and weather, but many are due to small animals gnawing on the garage walls to gain entry.  Secondly, I wanted a long-term means of repelling the rabbits and chipmunks.

The garage holes were remedied using some foam sealant.  You simply spray this into the cracks and holes and it expands to fit the opened areas.  A few hours later, it hardens and sets.  It’s designed for outdoor use so the weather shouldn’t destroy it (at least not immediately).  Also, since animals could chew the foam easily, it contains a bitter tasting ingredient.  They can try to munch away, but they won’t like what they’re munching.

foam1foam2

With those holes sealed up, I can now move onto the second stage.

next-stage

These granules contain castor oil and will be sprinkled across my lawn.  Like capsaicin, castor oil is not among the tastes that rabbits and chipmunks desire.  Once this is spread across my lawn, it should help make the ground taste bad to any borrowing creature.

It’s too bad that rabbits and chipmunks don’t read blogs or I’d give them some helpful advice: Don’t get too comfortable.  Pack your things because you are about to be evicted from my yard.

Hiking The Indian Ladder Trail

Yesterday, I wrote about breaking free of your comfort zone.  Today, I’d like to talk about our experience hiking the Indian Ladder Trail.  First, we drove to Thatcher State Park.  On our way there, we pointed the looming mountain to the kids and told them we’d be going there.

When we got there, we parked, got out, and marveled at the view.

IMGP2088IMGP2099

JSL was a bit scared of going near the edge and, I’ll admit, so was I.  My fear of falling was definitely triggered by looking down at the landscape below.  There was a wall separating us from the edge, but it still made me nervous.

IMGP2101

We walked along the wall and came to the start of a trail.  For awhile, we hiked along a wooded area along the top of the mountain.

IMGP2125

Then, we came upon some stairs leading down.  JSL and B were hesitant due to the steps being very steep.  NHL and I scouted ahead and verified that it looked fine for the kids to go across.  Down came JSL and B and we were off for an adventure.

IMGP2143

Our first stop was an area with a low ceiling.  I warned NHL that he would need to stoop over, buy he was just short enough to make it without bending.  JSL, being shorter, had plenty of head room.  We were able to make it only by carefully bending over.

IMGP2152

At many points during the hike, we needed to step to the side to let hikers pass us in the other direction.  This also gave me a chance to take a photo of the top of the ridge.

IMGP2158

Yes, we had been up there just minutes before .  (Well, further back along the trail.)  Taking this photo was a big risk for me.  Looking up like this made me dizzy.  And you do *NOT* want to be dizzy on a four foot wide trail along the mountain side!

Around this time, we also spotted the waterfalls.  As we walked, the roar of the falls got louder and soon we were upon them.  There was a great area behind the falls to take in the beauty of the scene.  Also, it was a great opportunity to take a photo from behind the waterfall.

IMGP2161IMGP2163IMGP2177IMGP2189IMGP2187

We walked on and came to the second waterfall.  This one was a bit trickier to go behind.  We had to cross a small stream (coming out of the mountain, not part of the main waterfall).  I helped JSL across and to a safe spot and then went back to aid NHL and B.

IMGP2197

We also stopped to see an underground river coming out of the mountain.

IMGP2200

Finally, we reached the steps leading back up.

IMGP2207

JSL and I noticed the moss covering these rocks so we felt it.  It was quite soft.

IMGP2211

Finally, we made our way back along the top of the ridge.  This was nice since the boys had more room to stretch their legs and run.  There were also places where the kids could stop for a second.

IMGP2220 IMGP2222

We also crossed two bridges which took us past the waterfalls we had passed under.

IMGP2229IMGP2237IMGP2244

Finally, we returned to where we parked.  Though there were some rough patches to traverse and though we were tired, we had thoroughly enjoyed our time there.  We’ll definitely be returning as soon as possible.

1 2 3 4 6