The rat drama ends…part 4

Hopefully this will be my last post of the year concerning rats in the garden.  By now I am VERY frustrated with the whole rat thing.  They are going through the poison like candy.  I go out Sunday morning to see what new damage has been done and what do I find in the garden…BIRDS!  After being amused for several minutes byt the one poor bird who could not find its way out (and continuously beating itself against the mesh) I went to get more zip ties.

I carefully crawled into my set up and started adding more zip ties to the structure where the birds are coming in.  I am  right in the middle when I drop one and when I go to pick it up…there is a RAT 3 INCHES FROM MY FOOT!  I panic and jump out ripping some of the netting I had just fixed.  He did not move.  Ok.  It is dead.  I go in and get Wade to bring out his bb gun just to make sure.  He shoots it (about 3 inches from its face) and it does not move.

Great.  Now he leaves me to get a bucket and pick it up.  When I come back…IT IS GONE!  We look everywhere and can not find it.  Wade, frustrated, goes in.  (Mind you this is now hurting his ego…this is the 3rd rat he has shot and not killed.)  I am determined to find it.  Sure enough, he is sitting up under some bricks, just chillin.

Once again, I go in and get Wade.  This time he brings out his 22 with rat shot in it.  Once again, about 3 inches from it he shoots it.  Convinced it’s dead he goes back in.  I go to scoop it up and HE RUNS!  Ok…the poison must be mutating it…like Steven King’s Pet Cemetery.

For the 3rd time, Wade comes out with his bb gun.  Long story longer, it takes 3 more hits before it falls over and dies.

Update:  Wade mowed the grass on Monday afternoon and found 4 dead rats in the grass.  We have not refilled the bird feeder and we have not had any more rats or birds in the garden.  And the bunny visits outside of our fence now.

It’s RATS! Not Rabbits…part 3

Just when I thought the problem was solved, went out Friday morning to find that 3 more tomato plants were wilting.  By now, I am very good at checking the bottoms FIRST to see if they have been gnawed on.  Sure enough, each one had a pile of nesting material under each one and about 3 inches missing from the base to the stem of the plant.  There is no way that a rabbit was getting into Ft. Knox that I had built!  I scanned the edges and found a small hole…that got me thinking that 2 weeks ago a rat had scurried out from behind our electrical box and under the fence.

(Note: After Hurricane Ike we found out that our fence was not set in cement like most are.  They just put the posts in holes.  Due to the wind our fence is VERY wobbly and there are huge gaps in the posts that hold it up.  Our builder is responsible for the fence since the land around us has not been developed yet.  We are still waiting for them to fix it…hopefully soon.  Also: we are in an old rice/cotton field so yes…lots of pests around.)

The rats would explain why the tomatoes are still being eaten (which I thought were birds).  They are climbing up the cages and having a feast.  After researching online I found that we are attracting them by having bird feeders!  Rats love bird food.  The bird food has been out for about a week, so they moved back into the garden.

I am determined to solve my new problem!  We head to Home Depot for rat poison.  By the time we got home it was late and getting dark.  I used a tupperware container, glued on the lid, cut a hole in it, put the poison cake in it and put it inside the chicken wire where Daisy couldn’t get to it.  I also decided to put it on the side of the house where I had seen rat droppings.  By now…the sun is gone and it is dark.  When I moved the slide (from our swingset we disassembled) a rat casually walked over to a different area.  Freaked me out!

Wade was out getting ice cream so when he got back, he got out his BB gun (that he got in 3rd grade) and a flashlight.  The rat was still sitting there.  His BB gun only turned the thing a flip until he scurried off.  In an attempt to find him, we moved the slide again…there sat a SNAKE!  I thought it was a rattle snake but it had no rattle.  It was a diamond back water snake (non-venomous).  Wade shoots it in the head with his BB gun from 3rd grade and that only pissed it off and he crawled off quickly.  BTW…those snakes only eat frogs, fish and small birds.  No rats.  Who would have thought?!?!?


Saturday morning I get up to go roller blading and a rat scurries across the patio.  Daisy runs over, sniffs it then goes and does her business.  Comes back sniffs it again and then sits by the door.  The rat could care less that a dog is around and Daisy could care less to catch it!  grrrr….

I go and get Wade…after 3 shots on his BB gun, he finally kills it.

The story does not end there.  There are more rats.  Saw another one last night.  They are eating the poison…and seem to be liking it.  They keep coming back for more!  Meanwhile, Wade got a 22 last night since I have been nagging him that he is not going to get the opportunity to take 3 shots every time.

This morning, this is what I found in the garden.

He found a hole in the corner to get in, then couldn’t get out.  He was not happy especially when the whole family came out to get a look and there was lots of squealing…”Can we keep him???”  Daisy was no help…she was more interested in eating bird food since we don’t feed her.  Today I get to patch the wholes in the bird netting from the rabbit being freaked out and trying to jump THROUGH the net.

(Obviously I don’t have Ft. Knox…)

Jello Watermelons

I have several blogs that I follow…mainly photography blogs, but some are artsy crafty ones.  This idea is from one of my 87 (literally) blogs…I wish I could find the original to link it.  Oh well.

Here is what we made, then I will show you how I did it.

I thought this would be a fun summer activity to do with the girls.  I was wrong.  It took me almost 45 minutes just to scrap out the limes.  Limes don’t peel like oranges.  I cut the limes in half and then I used a knife to cut most of the insides out.  I flipped them inside out to scrape out the rest.

*I should have left some lime on the rind…the oils in the rind made the jello sour.

I put the lime halves in a muffin tin to keep them level.

They have watermelon jello, but I wanted a nice bright red, so I used strawberry jello and poured it into the halves.  Make sure to use the “jiggler” recipe or the jello will slide out of the halves (which we discovered the next morning).

I put them in the fridge for about 30 minutes to let them start to congeal.  Then I pulled them out and put in mini chocolate chips with a skewer for the seeds.

After several hours, I took them out and sliced them in half again.  Wade could not stand to watch me with a knife, so he took over.

The girls thought they were cool!  Spur of the moment, some friends invited us over for dinner so we got to share our creation.

Rabbits and Chicken Wire…part 2

After searching online and discussion the options, Wade and I decided the best thing to keep the rabbits out was going to be chicken wire.  When Wade left for Home Depot Stacey commented, “Why do we need chicken wire?  We don’t have any chickens.”  I love how 4-year olds think!


With it being the 4th of July, and needing to get out to my mom’s for a party, there was no way I was going to be able to put up the chicken wire today (at least not without having a heat stroke).  With the new structure I built, there was no way the rabbits were getting through the bird netting.

Instead they dug under the whole thing.

Seven more plants gone.

I think I have lost somewhere around 15 tomato plants total this past week.  (I planted about 25.)

Now the whole thing is surrounded by chicken wire, stapled to the wood.  The back part along the fence is surrounded by bricks so they will not be able to dig under the fence.

If they can get in after this…I give up this year.

I know why Elmer Fudd hated rabbits

Earlier this week I noticed that my tomato plants were looking a little sad.  They were really wilting.  It has been over 100 almost every day in June, so I assumed I was just not watering enough.  I decided that maybe I needed to water twice a day.

That did not do anything to help the cause.

Friday morning I decided that I really needed to figure out what was going on.  I pulled out the Miracle grow and some insect repellent.  Whatever it was, I was determined to get to the bottom of it.

The bottom of it was the problem!

The rabbits ate right through the tomato plant stems!  Oh, I was so mad!  I finally had a good garden going…between the birds and the rabbits…this meant war.

I had put up bird netting, but it had come off of the back fence so the birds were getting in and eating the tomatoes.  I tried to get the bird netting sealed around the bottom the best I could until I could make something more permanent.

Wade went and got me pvc pipe so I could build a better structure to hold up the netting.  Friday evening I cut all the pieces and got it ready to put in the garden.

Saturday morning proved to be even more disappointing.  More tomato plants were ruined… chewed right through the bottom of the stem.  The funny thing was, they were still in the cages and so the rabbits couldn’t even get to the fruit.  I set up the bird netting with the structure I built.  It was sealed all the way to the bottom.  There was no way the birds or rabbits were getting in…at least I thought.

to be continued…