Tag Archives: Pest Control

Another reason to hate raccoons, but they have good taste!

P1110671As many of you know I have been waging a small battle with the raccoons due to the fact that they have been messing up my weed cloth/mulch so they can find food. However, now they have gone to far. They are now eating my almost ripe grapes! I can understand since they taste so good, but it will certainly cut down on the bottles of wine this year since we don’t have a lot to start with. How do they do it you ask….they push the nets against the clusters and then eat them.

Well, this weekend I relocated two more raccoons. One little one and one full sized. They are now going 11 miles away in hopes they don’t return.


Wasps – OUCH!!!

ground waspsOn Saturday the 7th we had our annual family gathering. The kids were all in the area and all got stung. Matisse (above) who is 6 got stung 4 times. So, I get to my question…..do wasps have memories?

The spot they were stung is the same location I got stung 10 times 4 years ago when I was excavating a tree trunk. The wasps moved 15 feet to a hive in the vineyard and I boiled them last year. So…they like that location. After the kids all got stung, my friend and I flamed them…..scary, funny video…..wasps and wine don’t mix.


Yesterday I was near the spot where everyone got stung a few weeks ago and got stung 2 or 3 times on my calf, but I wasn’t messing with the hive. My calf and foot are now swollen to about double. Hope it goes down soon. I just wonder if they remembered me burning them and then hitting them with boiling water and excavating them? I guess I would be upset if someone did that to me.

Opossom……..caught in our trap by mistake!

opossom 10 17 11Opossum General Information

Over 70 million years ago dinosaurs roamed the Earth. While they are now extinct, one animal who shared the same land with the dinosaurs still exists today… the opossum..
Despite its appearance, the opossum is not related to the rat. In fact, the opossum is a marsupial, or “pouched” mammal, and is therefore related to other marsupials such as the kangaroo and the koala. Like kangaroos and koalas, infant opossums stay inside the mother’s pouch to nurse and develop. The opossum holds the distinction of being North Americas’s only marsupial.
Opossums are born after an 11-13 day gestation period. The pink, embryonic-looking infants are so small at birth that 20 could fit into a teaspoon. The infants continue to develop inside the pouch. As they grow and the pouch becomes full, the juveniles then ride on the mother’s back until they are old enough to go out on their own.

The opossum has an average lifespan of 1 to 2 years. This short lifespan is due in part to the presence of many predators including dogs, cats and people. Sometimes the opossum is able to escape death by “playing ‘possum” or feigning death, and in so doing the predator may lose interest in the apparently dead animal and not eat it
The name “opossum” is derived from an Algonquian Indian word “apasum”, meaning white animal. While there are over 65 species of opossums, only one, the Didelphis virginiana, more commonly known as the Virginia opossum, is native to North America. Didelphis means double womb and refers to the pouch as a secondary place of development for the infant opossums. Virginiana refers to the state of Virginia where the opossum was first observed by early English colonists. However, opossums today can be found throughout most of the United States and portions of Canada and Mexico.
The opossum has many interesting features. It has 50 teeth, more than any North American land mammal. Its hairless tail is prehensile and is used for grasping branches, balancing and carrying nesting material. The opossum does not hang upside down by the tail, a common misconception. The opossum also has opposable thumbs on its hind feet for holding onto branches.
Whether rural, residential or in the wilderness, opossums are a benefit to any area they inhabit. Their diet includes all types of bugs and insects including cockroaches, crickets and beetles. They love snails. They also eat mice and rats. The nocturnal opossum is attracted to our neighborhoods by the availability of water, pet food left out at night and overripe, rotting fruit that has fallen from trees. The opossum in turn helps keep our neighborhoods clean and free of unwanted, harmful garden pests and rodents, which may carry diseases. The opossum has earned the title of “Nature’s Little Sanitation Engineer.”


raccoon 9 23 11Farming is nothing if not an interesting experience. The last few months our yard and vineyard has been plagued by an animal that was disturbing our mulch, ripping up my cardboard weed barrier in the vineyard and generally making a mess. So……I asked around and it appeared to be a racoon. So having never captured one I called around to see what it would cost to trap and relocate it/them. Amazing……$75 for 2 weeks of cage rental and then another $75 each time they trap one. My neighbor thinks we have 3 of them…..so $300. An then if they come back you have to spend more money. Well…..to much for me….so for $50 I bought a cage. It took me 6 tries to get the first one. He really liked marshmellows and organic peanut butter on gluten free bread. I took him out 8 miles away for greener pastures. Now I’m working on the next 2….hopefully they will all be gone soon as they love grapes and I won’t have any extra to spare next year.

Deer – Oh No!!!

fenceIn 2009 I saw a deer on the land as we were discing the land…..but none since then. Which is very good as deer (as everyone knows) like to eat tender plants. And guess what is tender right now, grape vine shoots….all 3200 of them. Well, today as I was mowing/weed whacking 2 little deer wandered onto the land around noon. I ran after them to get them off the land. I put up a temporary fence (above) and parked the truck in the driveway. Hopefully this will keep them away until I can get a fence up this next week. If not……either I lose a lot of plants or I stay up all night waiting for them. Hopefully they didn’t tell their friends!

Bud Break and European Grapevine Moths

P1050252Our first bud break happened around March 22nd…….could not tell the exact day as it rained most of the week. I found it on the 24th. I’m not exactly sure what is the official time…the first or 50% of the vineyard….but I’m recording this one! Most of the rest of the vines are still getting close, but no green showing yet. The weather forecast calls for sunshine next week so I expect all of them to spring to life in the next few days.

Well, I guess we are an official vineyard as far as the California Department of Food and Agriculture is concerned. They put a European Grapevine Moth collection trap in the vineyard. Sure hope we don’t get them. Many times they are spread by people or machinery, so since I’m doing most of the work, the chance that we have them should be small.P1050253