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!
This Spring I’ve been busy in the yard. There were plants that needed moved because they had overgrown their space or they weren’t doing well in their spot. I also had to replace a large Butterfly Bush that didn’t make it through the winter. Rather than move two large hostas I gave them to my insurance agent during a meeting I had with him. Actually I told him he could have them for his new home IF he came and dug them up.
Last fall I had to have Davey Tree cut down one of my large spruce trees. The trees had been planted too closely and in an arc. The middle one of the 5 trees wasn’t getting enough sun anymore so it looked very bad. Removing it would allow the two trees beside it to get more sun and space. My wonderful neighbor volunteered to cut the stump out. It was an afternoon of really hard work and I certainly appreciated it.
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The Ligularia that I planted 2 years ago had grown much larger than I thought they would plus they were in a spot where I had to walk by them to reach the garden hose and a bird feeder. The leaves are easily damaged so they needed to be moved to a spot where I didn’t walk by them. So I moved them to the empty space where the spruce tree was. So far they are doing great. Their tall daisy-like flowers should look very pretty in this mass display.
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The Ligularia was originally planted next to the back of the house where the dead Butterfly Bush was. I wanted a tall plant to replace the Butterfly Bush so I chose a Vanilla Spice Summersweet shrub. It is to get up to 6 ft tall and wide. It has white fragrant flowers in late summer and is favored by butterflies and hummingbirds.
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There were 3 Spireas in front of the Spruces which never did well so I moved them to another spot. In their place I put 5 Orangeade Potentillas. They’ve already started to bloom in the three weeks they’ve been in the ground. Whenever I plant flowers and shrubs I always use one of the types of Miracle-Gro soils and Miracle-Gro fertilizer so they have a good start. Butterflies are supposed to like Potentilla. We’ll see.
I’ve also divided some very large Hostas and put the divided portions within the Spruce bed and moved some dwarf Barberries in the front yard. I AM NOW DONE! (until I decide to do something else)
EDIT UPDATE: This is what the Orangeade Potentilla looks like 2 weeks later. Very pretty!
To continue with my plumbing focus, I purchased a new kitchen faucet and a new faucet for my shower stall. Had a local plumbing company install them since this was beyond my abilities. I love both of the new faucets!
What I want to alert you to is what we found when the plumber removed the short pipe that holds the shower head. The circle piece is the flange that is flat against the wall. The center pipe then curves downward to hold the spray part of the shower head. Notice the calcium crud that is filling the pipe! That is affecting the water flow coming out of the shower plus it’s just gross!
Once I got over the shock of seeing this crud, I remembered that was the same water I was using to brush my teeth and drink! I use CLR every so often to clean the shower head and faucet aerators but I never though about looking into the pipes delivering the water! So I held a mirror under the two bath faucets to see if they also had the calcium deposits. They did, so I soaked them in CLR also.
I have city water for which I pay $46+ per month. I think residents deserve cleaner water! By the way, my shower now puts out a whole lot more water now!
In June 2011, the City workers replaced some of our missing street trees that were lost to the Emerald Ash Borer years earlier. However, the tree they planted on my property was basically dead and never recovered. The next spring, I called the city and asked them to remove it. They didn’t, so I finally dug it out.
This month the city planted more trees as their budget allowed, but they didn’t replace the tree on my property. So I’m back on the phone … “where’s my tree”? I learned that they didn’t show my property as needing a tree. Since their budget was spent, I wouldn’t get another tree for 5-6 years! I directed the person on the phone to this blog, specifically to the series of articles that I’ve written on this subject. (see photo link in the right column) He said he would review and cover the issue with bosses.
Well guess what! Today I and other neighbors got new trees planted. Sometimes it pays to speak up, but realistically I appreciate the customer service person for carrying the issue forward to the decision-makers. Way to go Parks & Rec!
I’ve been working on my landscaping since I bought my home 16 years ago. At that time, there were only the builder’s 6 bushes and a tree. I’ve had the work done as my budget allows. Two years ago, it was time to redo the front (view that video). Last year I did another video of how that renovation was growing.
Everything is maturing nicely and will provide privacy once I finally decide to have a deck installed – the last of the projects. Here’s this year’s video:
The robins were making quite a racket this morning. You know, the racket they make when their nest or babies are being bothered. I looked out the window and saw the baby on the ground – hopping – but not quite ready to fly well.
Frequently there is a gray cat that patrols my yard in the morning hunt, often killing the birds. I suspected the Robin parents were upset over this cat, so I sent Murph out to chase the cat away. He promptly got dive-bombed by the parents – something that hasn’t happened to him. He quickly hustled back into the house.
Later in the afternoon, I mowed the back yard and the parents let me know they were upset with me as well so I kept an eye out for the baby because I didn’t want to hurt it with the mower. I finally noticed the baby – well hidden by sitting in the fencing.
Sadly, I don’t have high hopes for this little robin’s safety overnight. I really dislike it when people allow their cats to roam outside. I enjoy the birds and the little chipmunks and don’t appreciate the cats using my yard as a smorgasbord. Our city has laws that state that both cats and dogs must be on a leash when off the owner’s property, but “cat people” seem to think the law doesn’t apply to them.
Read about a recent study on the harm cats are doing to the ecosystem.
Domestic cats kill between 1.4 billion and 3.7 billion birds and up to 20 billion small rodents each year, according to researchers at the Migratory Bird Center of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.