Plus, has one gardener found the solution for keeping rats out of tomatoes?
DEAR JOAN: We’re on hill dominating the Bay, and that we have a property wall that runs north to south. On the side of the wall could be a framed mural that juts out concerning three inches.
On a really windy day I noticed a apodiform bird perked on the frame. each couple of minutes the bird would rise higher than the wall and fly furiously in situ into the wind. It did this over and all over again, lowering back to the frame to catch its breath before doing it once more. i suppose typically it’s with regards to the fun of it.
One afternoon in my curtilage there was a disturbance in an exceedingly close tree between a squirrel and a jay. I assume it concerned a peanut or one thing equally valuable. As I rapt to urge a better look 3 hummingbirds arrived on the scene and hovered close.
They organized themselves as if in conference till one split off and flew into the tree. when many moments the noise began to wane and also the bird flew out and rejoined the others. They presented once more momentarily and flew off.
Busybody or peacemaker? I’m thinking meddler.
Meg McHugh, El Cerrito
DEAR MEG: You are a keen observer of nature.
I’m not sure what was going on in either instance, but I have a few thoughts. Because hummers have a unique wing and joint configuration, they can easily hover in both wind and calm, although hovering in the wind requires a greater expense of energy. The bird might have been protecting its territory from another hummer, unseen by you, or it might have been looking for a mate to court, or checking out a nearby food source.
Hummers do enjoy a good shower, after which they find a place to sit, preen and dry their feathers, so this hummer might have been testing the dryness of its wings.
As for the conclave of hummers observing the squirrel and jay argument, I’d say the one bird was trying to get a closer look at what was going on, perhaps to see if nectar or insects were involved, but definitely not trying to make peace between those enemies.
DEAR JOAN: Last week you had a letter from a vegetable gardener who has a problem with rats eating tomatoes. I am a long time vegetable gardener and I am pleased to report that I have found a solution to the conundrum.
I also have tried lethal means of controlling rats. I never wanted to — I have nothing against the little creatures that are only looking for a convenient meal. A few years ago I tried stringing ultrasonic mouse and rat repellers around my garden and it has been 100 percent effective.
I use the small D-Con brand, available in hardware stores. One device is sufficient for each tomato plant. It takes a few extension cords, and I am careful to string them high to keep them dry during watering.
For three years now I have had no rat damage to any tomatoes. Of course, I only use them in the summer — no rain — but the winter veggies I like to grow don’t seem to attract the rats like tomatoes do.
Patrick Smiley, Belmont
DEAR PATRICK: Thanks for the information. I’d love to hear how others are battling rats in their gardens or homes without having to resort to deadly methods.