Thursday, May 23, 2013

Operation Deer Fence Installation: Part 3 - What's on the Other Side of the Fence

~ bear poo on the other side (thankfully!) ~
Disrupting life in Mother Nature's realm is never simple. I want to stop the deer from wrecking havoc on my gardens, so I installed a 'deer proof' fence.

Well, there are other creatures who use those same paths that deer walk & I am now interfering with their habits & habitat. This creature is our local black bear & today was the first time we noticed any sign of the bear(s).

The fence along the back of the property is right on the edge of 'the wilds' & we know the deer walk through there all the time. I also knew that the bear would wander down along the drainage ditch that runs down one side of our property & out the back into 'the wilds' between our neighbouring houses. The bear has never eaten the blueberries or raspberries even though they are right along his path & all I've ever noticed of its presence were big piles of poo.

Today we noticed a small section of fence had been 'pulled down' one of the posts a couple of feet & further along I found the poo on the other side of the fence. Thankfully not on our side of the fence!! I'm sure the bear wandered along wondering what this new thing was in its path & pulled at it a couple times to see if it would move or would be easily demolished. Not really - it's pretty secure.

I will continue to monitor the fence line (probably for years to come) & make sure that it's secure at the top & bottom & that there continues to be no reason for the bear to want to come into the yard - I would hate to have that bear cornered if it got in somehow & couldn't figure out how to get out!!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Monster in my Garden

~ 'Cimbicid' sawfly ~
 The other night I was out playing in the garden - really, was trying to rescue a flower bed from the grass (we are without a lawnmower STILL so the grass is up to our knees now) & I accidentally encountered this mystery monster insect!

My first instinct in these cases is to grab the insect & then run & grab my camera so I can take photos & then try to figure out what it is. This thing is HUGE! It was close to 7:00 p.m. when I was taking the photos, hence the slightly dark colour & if you can't tell from the photos, this insect was a good inch long!


~ 'Cimbicid' sawfly ~
While it looks a bit like a bee, it was the antennae & the legs that made me think it was something else.

I got on the Internet & eventually found someone on Vancouver Island to whom I could email the photos for identification (Gord Hutchings of Hutchings Bee Service) who has informed me that this is the Simbicid/Cimbicid sawfly - a member of the wasp family. This particular one is probably the heaviest of the family & the larvae are herbivores - so they will do some damage to your plants.

I've not been able to find out too much else about them - like, do the adults burrow in the ground (I have noticed holes in my flower beds that could house these things), are they solitary, what plant species do they target? (the initial id information said these ones like wild rose, arbutus & Douglas fir habitat - which is on the other side of the island - we have mainly salal & cedar habitat, so I'm not sure where they like to be over here... Hopefully I can do some more research & maybe actually see more of these out in the gardens. I've yet to see the larvae (caterpillars).

Friday, May 10, 2013

Operation Deer Fence Installation - Part 2

~ driveway gate ~
I'm a little behind in my photos & writing, but have a few moments this morning before dashing off to work.

We did get the driveway gate installed - here it is before we finished hanging up the rest of the fence (next blog post I hope!). It looks huge & awkward, but it's not really.

I do have to figure out a way to tie on some extra fencing on the bottom edge as this is the one spot for major concern. The deer will sneak in underneath (eventually) as we had to raise the fence a bit in order for it to swing all the way in.

Currently, each day after work, I'm out there working on the final details of the fence. My pruners broke before I could clear all the brambles & growth from the fence line, so I'm cleaning it up & securing the fence at ground level with logs & rocks. We also have reflective tape to cut & put on the gates so that people won't bump into them in the middle of the night. We use headlamps out here (no street lights!) so sometimes we don't see things until we are literally right on top or into it.

I have the feeling the deer are right freaked out & haven't yet made any attempt at sneaking in - I have a rose plant that they ate a month or so ago & it's making a come back quite nicely - a sure sign that the deer are no longer present. So I have removed one - and only one! - area from solitary confinement as a 'test plot' - it holds my kale (which were munched but came back) & may candy tuft (pretty white flowers that were heavily munched too). I'm going to wait til the fence is all secure before removing any more plant protection - gotta play it safe for a while longer!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Operation Deer Fence Installation - Part 1

~ can you tell which side of the gate has fence installed? ~
One thing on my 'wish list' this year was to 'do something about those darn deer...' which turned into installing a fence around the perimeter of the property. No small job - but not as challenging as it could have been.

I bumped into someone at a Seedy Saturday Event who is a distributor for a fence system that is simple to install. Naturescape Fencing is a product that is 'virtually invisible' - meaning, you don't notice the fence unless you are really looking for it.