new landscaping

In May 2015 I added a new landscape bed to the back of my home (above). I raised the level by adding 900lbs of soil (oh my back!) then planted some shrubs and perennials. I wanted “tall” shrubs to conceal the empty space between the ground and the windows. A Butterflybush is in the center. On either side of it are Ligularias. The outer shrubs are Ninebark.

The plants have grown quite a bit this year, and the Ligularia are blooming. I was most interested in it since I was totally unfamiliar with this plant and was eager to see what it “did”. It has huge elephant-ear-like leaves and has just started with the tall daisy-like blooms. While it looks like one plant in this photo, actually there are 3 plants that have grown larger than the plant tag descriptor said. I will need to divide them next spring.

Midnight Ligularia

Compare today’s photo with the top photo to see how much growth there has been in one year. Various butterflies are enjoying the flowers on both the butterflybush and the ligularia.

new landscaping

new shrubs

The one thing I did do correctly was plant the shrubs with plenty of space away from the house even though it looked odd last year. They should get even larger, although they’re easy to prune to control ultimate size.


•07/16/16 • Comments Off on RACCOONS “MAY” HAVE BEEN DEFEATED!

This past week I went to Wild Birds Unlimited to get more seed – thanks to the ravaging raccoons! During my conversation with one of the sales clerks, she told me how she had solved a problem she had with squirrels climbing a tree to get to a feeder. She bought corrugated PVC at Lowe’s and wrapped it around a portion of the tree trunk. The squirrels couldn’t climb the slippery PVC.

I visited the Menards store near my home to see if they had the corrugated PVC. They did – in various colors. It comes in 26″x8′ or 12′ panels. I cut it to the size needed to fit around two of the feeders to prevent the raccoons from being able to climb.
PVC barrier to prevent raccoons

It worked for 3 nights. The peanuts didn’t disappear over night which means they weren’t able to climb, although I did see some scratches on the bottom piece. Since the plastic looked rather dorky, I bought some spray paint colors to “camouflage” the plastic. My neighbor chuckled at my contraption, but when the raccoons raid HIS feeders because they can’t get to MINE, then maybe he won’t find it so funny!

PVC raccoon barrier painted camo

Click to enlarge

I’m not claiming victory yet, but I AM ENCOURAGED!!

EDIT UPDATE: It’s been ONE WEEK since I added the “barriers”. There has been no sign that the raccoons have eaten any of the seed overnight. I’M CLAIMING VICTORY!!!!!!!!!!!!



The carpet tack strips seem to have no impact on the raccoons feet. The baby raccoons love the peanuts that are in a squirrel feeder. When squirrels step on the bottom ledge the top lid is lifted so they can access the peanuts inside. The raccoons have no problem with this maneuver. At some point, another animal scares them to climb into the trees. It has a fuzzy tail and may be a roaming cat, but I can’t really tell.

I’m really frustrated! The raccoons don’t bother my four neighbor’s feeders at all and they have the same type of feeders. The only clue is they buy their seed at Walmart and I buy mine from Wild Bird’s Unlimited. May be a case of preferring steak vs hamburger.


•07/05/16 • Comments Off on RACCOONS ARE TOUGH TO DEFEAT
Raccoons climb over fence to yard

Click to enlarge

In my battle to deter the raccoons from finding my yard a self-serve deli, I have tried the following:

  • Moving feeders away from accessible tree limbs.
  • Applying brake grease, Capzasin and Vicks menthol to feeder poles.
  • Trimming branches of nearby shrubs.

So none of those things worked!

I still prefer to deter them (because they carry diseases that could be harmful to Murphy) rather than have a pest company trap them. The pest folks tell me that even though they live-trap, they are required to kill them later because they are considered a “nuisance” animal and if moved they just become a problem for someone else. Plus, the charge for the traps starts at $350!

Tack strip around bird feeder pole

Click to enlarge

Over the weekend I came up with a plan … carpet tack strips!

I bought a box of tack strips, L-braces and brown spray paint.

My plan was to make a “box” of the strips to box-in the four feeder poles. Then I would paint them to blend with the landscaping. My thinking was that the tacks would hurt the raccoons’ feet thus deterring them from climbing up to the feeder.

I congratulated myself for being so smart!!!

I checked the feeders the next morning. This is what I found on the post that holds a peanut feeder for the squirrels. The spruce limbs have been trimmed such that squirrels can jump to the feeder but too far away for the raccoons to climb to the feeder. The tack strips are on all four sides of the post. I couldn’t believe there were muddy footprints all over the post – ALL SIDES – and on the top as the peanuts were eaten!!!
Tack strips on bird feeder post

I don’t know what more to do! Four of my neighbors have no problem with their feeders even though those feeders are near trees or use the shepherd’s hooks poles. WHY ME!


•06/22/16 • Comments Off on BABY RACCOONS ARE PERSISTENT!

Baby Raccoons at bird feeder

… And another pre-dawn surprise in my yard! (sigh)This explains why the seed catchers get broken. The babies are cute now but they will grow!


•06/15/16 • Comments Off on NOW THERE ARE BABY RACCOONS!

Over the weekend I moved this large feeder to a position further away from large branches that the raccoons could climb. I prefer to keep this particular feeder within this landscaping area because the shells from the oilers are easy to disperse under the spruces. In the new location, the feeder was about 20″ away from the limbs. Close enough for the squirrels to jump to but far enough away for the raccoons – or so I thought!

When I looked out my bedroom window upon awakening I couldn’t believe my eyes. I immediately ran outside to chase them away. Like all good wildlife babies, they went into “don’t move” mode when they saw me so I was able to get very close to them. Their beady eyes just watched me.

I didn’t want to hurt them but decided to give them a “bad” experience. Got the hose and sprayed them with the hard, forceful spray. They didn’t like that at all, jumping to the ground and scampering up the trees. There was no sign of Mom.

Later in the afternoon I moved this feeder further away and as with the shepherd hooks, I slathered the pole with the brake grease. Per some articles I read on Google, Capzasin (made with hot peppers) is a good deterrent because it doesn’t harm them or squirrels, they just don’t like it. (Havahart uses it in their humane products) I happened to have some of the cream in my medicine cabinet so I added it to all the poles. We’ll see what happens.

By the way, two of my adjoining neighbors also have feeders on shepherd’s hooks and they have NO PROBLEM! Guess I’m just lucky!

Older raccoon posts:


•06/10/16 • Comments Off on I MAY BE WINNING!

raccoon bird feeder damageSince the raccoons repeatedly bent the shepherd’s hook holding this particular feeder, I went to Oakland Nursery to buy a stronger, taller shepherd’s hook. Then I went to an auto supply store to buy a “thick, gooey grease”. The store clerk helped me find something that would work. A small tube of brake lubricant seemed to be perfect – it’s water resistant, gooey and SLIPPERY. I then slathered the grease all over the pole. Later I set up the trail camera to see if it worked. Must admit that I have a certain amount of satisfaction watching their frustration at not being able to bend or climb the pole.