Category Archives: Delaware County

Articles about “things” in Delaware County

NEXT DOOR App Works Great!

Last year a neighbor told me about an app used by other neighbors. Her two dogs had escaped their fenced yard. They made their way to the deck of another neighbor several streets away. Eventually my neighbor retrieved the “escapees” thanks to the NEXT DOOR app. So I loaded the app on my phone.

It’s a very helpful app for subdivisions to stay in touch with neighbors to alert of happenings, HOA issues, lost cats & dogs, or in some cases crime or “suspicious” characters. During the Hurricane that hit Texas last year, I heard reporters mention that people used the NEXT DOOR app to alert others to those needing rescued.

So far in my neighborhood, it’s been a lot of roaming cats in other people’s yards. City rules say cats have the same rules as dogs – not out of the yard unless on lease – but cat owners often think it’s OK to let their cat roam, kill birds, and poop in our landscape beds. A couple weeks ago a neighbor alerted us that a young golden retriever had escaped and they couldn’t catch him. It was an extremely bitter cold night with substantial snow cover. Everyone knew there was a chance the dog couldn’t survive overnight so various people got in their cars and slowly drove the streets hoping to find the pup. Half the homes are on wooded, ravine lots making many places for the dog to escape notice. It was amazing the outpouring of support as people stayed in touch with the app. The dog finally returned home the next morning but offered no explanation of what he’d been up to. BTW, the dog’s name is appropriately CHASE!

Our small city posts informative items and the police post important notices. People can also post items for sale or FREE when they want to get rid of something. It’s a great place for “handymen” or “who knows a good plumber/electrician”. My subdivision has 366 homes so we have a decent sized group, however, we can expand our posts to other surrounding areas if we choose.

It’s a great little app and so handy. Best part is it’s a FREE app! Here’s the link to NextDoor website, but to put it on your phone, go to the app store.

To-Dos For January Hibernation

I dislike winter. I dislike being cold. Sure the snow is pretty – it’s just too bad it has to be cold to produce snow. Since I’ve retired I tend to hibernate during January. I only go out if I have to. I don’t mind driving in snow since I have a Jeep, but I don’t like being cold until the heater starts blowing warm air.

Christmas decorationsThis year I need to apologize to my neighbors. My Christmas lights are still up. I put them up in early December when we had some warmer days. I kind of overdid it since I had a new 8-ft stepladder. Except for a few days, we’ve had snow on the ground since Christmas. I’m not eager to put that ladder in 4-6″ of snow to undo the lights.

Christmas LightsThis Hawthorn tree is around 20ft tall – with THORNS! I got creative in putting the lights on it with my “new ladder”. I’m not looking forward to removing the lights when the temp is 15°. I did the same thing with a slightly smaller crab apple tree in the front. In the next week the weather is to be in the 30s so maybe some of the snow will melt so I can remove the lights.

On the plus side, I checked a few indoor projects off my to-do list. I cleaned out a bunch of files and took the sensitive papers to the UPS Store for shredding. I took some old non-working appliances to Sims Recycling where they paid me $2.38 for them. I did more planning for a major project that I’ve been working on. I’ll start it “soon” and that’ll keep me busy through February. Then there’s a couple storage closets that need to be sorted with outdated STUFF thrown out.

Hopefully by then it will be SPRING!

Good Bugs vs Bad Bugs

I use minimal insecticides mainly because I’ve always had dogs and Murph is like a 4-legged mop because his legs are so short. I also don’t want to harm the good insects like bees, nor do I want to harm the birds. I prefer to let Nature take its course. Like the Assassin bug I found a couple years ago, I learned it killed the bad bugs, even though it was really ugly.

GOOD BUG!

Praying Mantis

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Over the weekend I spotted another highly desirable bug, a Praying Mantis. They’re fun to watch as they do their jerky movement and turn their strange head. Eventually it “walked” down to the green plant below where it became nearly invisible with its color match. If you check articles on Google, you’ll find that these insects are killing machines, attacking much larger critters like frogs! Amazing!

BAD BUGS!

Grubs under the lawn

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Also this past weekend I began cleaning up the brown spots I had in the yard. I thought they were due to the extreme dry weather we had. But as I began to use my thatching rake, I pulled up the sod … a sure sign of grubs. I was finding a grub for every 2 square inches. THAT’S A LOT!

I found this invasion over large parts of my back lawn. Given the time of year, I checked online for a specific insecticide that would kill them NOW. Many grub controls are preventative and must be put on in late spring. I found an article from Michigan State University that there are only 2 active ingredients that kill now. One of those took 3-4 weeks to work. The other kills in 24-hours. So I made a trip to Home Depot to buy the Bayer granules.

grub damaged lawn

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I tested the insecticide on one of the large damaged areas, soaked it with plenty of water, then watched the grubs squirm and try to bury themselves further down into the dirt. If it didn’t work, I wasn’t going to put it over other areas because of Murph. I checked the next day and the grubs were dead. I’ve since covered the area with topsoil to keep Murph from coming in contact with the granules. (The hose was circled around the spot to keep Murph off – he hates the hose!)

I’ll be repeating this process over all the other large areas where I spotted the nasty grubs. If there were just a few grubs, I wouldn’t bother with this, but if I don’t control them to some degree I’ll just have a bunch of June bugs next year with a repeat of the damaged lawn.

Alvin is stocking up for winter

Normally these little critters scamper as soon as I walk out the door. This time the little guy was defiant! I got within 2-feet to take the picture. There was a “stare down” as I snapped 3 pics with my phone before it scampered away. Guess the special Fruit & Nut seed was just too enticing that it was worth defying the “dangerous human”! 🙂

Their fat little cheeks are cute but they sure do empty the feeders in a hurry!
chipmunk staredown

Coppertina Ninebark – Buyer Beware!

powdery mildew on Coppertina Ninebark

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In May 2015 I wrote about a new landscape bed which I put in that contained 2 Coppertina Ninebark plants. The first year I really liked them. The changing copper colors were quite attractive. But as the year went on I began to notice a problem with powdery mildew. I cut out the affected leaves then sprayed with a fungicide. As time went on the fungicide seemed to have no effect, so I sprayed again when we would have several rain-free days. Still no control of the mildew.

This spring the powdery mildew came back with a vengeance. I checked Google to see if there was a known problem for this type of plant and found several articles on the subject. It seems powdery mildew and Witch’s Brooms are a genetic problem with Ninebarks although some varieties are less damaged by the disease. None of the suggestions for control were very effective. The stems where the Witch’s Broom occur soon turn black as do the leaves.

One of the two plants was smaller and less attractive since it has had more powdery mildew problems than the other one. I don’t want to have to mess with pruning off the affected leaves and black stems every couple weeks OR have to weekly spray a fungicide that really doesn’t work, so I removed the smaller plant. I’m really disappointed since the plant is or could be very attractive but this genetic issue makes them a questionable purchase. Be advised!

ANTS, ANTS, ANTS in my PLANTS!

The ants have been TERRIBLE this year. I’ve tried insecticide sprays and Diatomaceous Earth. However those treatments don’t kill the queen so the nest continues. Then someone recommended Terro Ant Baits. I’ve tried baits before without much success. Then a guy from North Carolina posted his photo on Twitter of using one style of Terro bait. So I checked YouTube for similar videos. Surprise! There’s a lot of such videos of ants going nuts over the sugary Borax mixture.

Home Depot only carried the flat indoor-style bait so I bought a box of that style and put them outside. I laid a rock on each to hold them in place. They worked very well as the liquid was depleted within a few days. I found the outdoor stake-style at another store and now have 8 of them in place around the outside of my home where I’ve seen ants. I made this short video of the last stake I put into place. The nest immediately attacked it! I installed the stake on Saturday. Today is Tuesday and I’m seeing only a few stragglers. This Terro bait really works!