Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I hope he's right!

Hubby thinks he found what was going on with the fence.  I hope he is right.
See, he's actually been zapped by the thing multiple times by accident and on purpose.  As for me, the fence came with a zap tester so i have declined to manually test it.
But the good thing about hubby being so.... brave....uh....

Well, he knows how strong the zap has been at various times. 

When i first got the fence, the grass and weeds were short so it worked well with one strand and fresh batteries. As the grass grew i had a hard time keeping up with clearing the area. The fence would stunt the weaker grasses, but only discolor and short out on the larger weeds.
The Roundup eventually did do the trick and the wire is now quite clear.
It has been effective at keeping out the neighborhood cats and dogs at this point. Our Molly even checked it out one day when she declined to obey a "get back here" command.
On Sunday, after noticing that my veggies were getting sampled, i ran a second strand of wire around the garden and checked it with the tester and hoped that would do it (the tester only shows that the wiring is right, but does not show how strong the zap is).  Monday morning i saw more evidence of nibbling and ran the third wire, checked it with the tester and hoped for the best. 
Monday evening i noticed that the sampling and nibbling had  progressed to actual destruction and for some reason the third strand wasn't doing anything better than the first two.
Hubbs decided to dig at me and said that instead of buying grapes and berries i shoult have bought Havahart traps.  I told him that i was glad i did buy grapes and berries cause at least if the woodchucks eat my garden i would at least have my berries!...and instead of teasing me, Mr. KnowsHowTo Play Electrician Man, why don't you go out there and check if i did something wrong and find a solution for me instead.  lol
So he did and he noticed my connections were not as solid as they could have been and the ground wire was cruddier than it should be. I had set it up right, but mud had gotten between the turns of wire.  So he took the wiring apart and we cleaned it up and he put some waterproof conductive gel in the connections. He had touched the wires and he said the shock was definitely much more severe than it had ever been before. It actually scared him at that strength.
The theory is that the zap the woodchucks must have been getting from contacting the fence wasn't enough to get through their fur.  They must have touched the wires, so it had to be that the zap was too weak.
If this is going to work at all it should have the best shot now.
If it won't keep the woodchucks out, at least it keeps dogs and cats out.
And i am seriously considering planting my broccoli in topsy turveys next year cause i don't know what else to do!
There are a few places where the bottom wire might not be low enough to keep them from crawling under, so that would be my final troubleshooting item.  After that, if it isn't working, i'll have to call it a loss as far as woodchucks go.

Trapping has never worked in the past cause more woodchucks just fill in the space of the relocated one.
The trick with Spearmint gum does not work cause woodchucks do not eat Spearmint gum.  Repellent granules just kill plants and are little more than expired Montreal Steak seasoning....  I'm not risking the neighborhood pets by sneaking leg traps and rat poison isn't strong enough. Ammonia does not work for more than a day and needs reapplying constantly,  moth balls are useless and just smelly.  Smoke bombs are not an option because the woodchuck burrows are off our property and the current 3 that i am battling are living under our neighbors' loosely stacked wood pile......smoke bomb + wood pile = fire hazard.  Hair from hair salons does not work. Emptying the vacuum container does not work because the whole yard smells of our presence anyway and these are urban wildlife.  They figured out pretty fast that the dog cannot reach the garden from her leash.  The row covers will only work for a while before the animals start chewing through or tunneling under them to dine under cover at their leisure... so putting them back on isn't going to do anything and it might make it worse by concealing the damage until i get the chance to see it.
I'll post pics of the damage as soon as i can get out there and get pictures. I need to do it anyway cause i am having a hard time remembering what was chewed and what was not from each incident.

I need to get pics of the berry cuttings too... and i need to plant the Blueberries which have acclimated to sunlight very well. One is trying to flower but i'll have to prevent that this year.

Its hard to tell, but i think the Frontenac grape may be coming to life but the Edelweiss are still very dead.  The marechal Foch and the Reliance are leafing out beautifully.

My Roma tomatoes have buds - i noticed last Friday i think but forgot to write it down.  The Summer squashes are flowering and some of the Winter squash are budding. Some of the melon plants are still the same size as they were when they were first transplanted.
Everything not being eaten is looking good.

The little apple tree is growing its apples, about quarter sized now. They are showing evidence of damage, many of the apples are russeting  and i guess this can be caused by a number of things. Info.   There are some signs of bug damage, dimpling and such.  I think that is from apple maggot and i bet its because i was so slow in applying the spray after petal fall. I waited to fell the other tree too long and i needed more hose to reach the remaining tree properly. But now i have the extra hose and the dying tree is gone.  I only expect a dozen good apples from the tree this year if that. Enough to sample and maybe ID the variety.

I think that is it for today, i'll post pictures separately.


Faith said...

I can relate about the fence woes. That really bugged us this spring, having to mess with it so much.

All I can think of to say is, if you keep trapping them, they'll eventually thin out. But you are right, they'll keep coming and you'll have to make a lot of trips.

I wonder about flypaper..... What if you laid flypaper down where the plants are, would they get tired enough of getting it stuck on them that they'd quit coming in? Or some other substance that they would really hate... what could it be....

Seems they like to feed early morning and late evening, if I remember right.

How does your DH feel about woodchuck stew? :oD


icebear said...

lol, i'm more than willing to eat them. i have actually looked up recipes for them, seems they are tasty as long as you butcher them correctly- removing their multiple scent glands.
They have destroyed my favorite vegetables, at least i could get them back in a sense this way.

Maybe if i buy a bucket of tanglefoot and put it on 6"x3' strips of cardboard and lay it along the side of the plants. I think a 3' slice of cardboard glued to a woodchuck might make them not come back...

These guys do follow the standard dawn and dusk schedule for the most part... though yesterday they must have raided in the middle of the day...