I hope this works….

If you don't experiment, you don't learn.

Adventures in the Wilderness: Part -the third

Back at the Historic buildings, Comedy Girl is having problems with her pack. She sees us leave, but doesn’t realize we weren’t heading down the trail, but off to look at the collapsed building, so when she gets her pack together, she starts off, thinking we are ahead of her and we will stop and wait for her. When we turn around and don’t see her, we think she is the one that is ahead of us and will stop and wait for us.

You must realize that we are in the valley created by Lost Creek. Lost Creek got it’s name because it disappears under lots and lots of boulders that have fallen off the mountains above it. These boulders are HUGE and are everywhere, piled up on top of each other. Some of them must be 50-60 ft tall. Where we were, you rarely have a long view of something, because a boulder is in the way. The other thing is that creeks are noisy. We were yelling, but not hearing each other, so we missed each other. We just didn’t yell soon enough, while we were close to each other.

So Comedy Girl keeps on following this trail, that while rough, did not peter out. She follows it for about an hour. She doesn’t have a good distance sense, we only needed to go about 15-20 minutes to go the quarter mile. And this is the strange part. We never found another trail, but she did. She even found a really cool campsite, complete with fire ring on this trail. She had quite the adventure, and ended up at this campsite and wisely decided to stay there. She had everything she needed, except a water filter. (I thought she had one, but it was still in the car…I had missed giving it to her when we left) She knows I have the personal beacon and figures I would use it if anything happened.

She sets up camp, hangs her hammock, makes a signal fire…does everything right, even hanging her food in a bear hang. (Unlike me, who can’t eat dinner, but goes to bed with a bag of trail mix in case I get hungry in the night….I didn’t, so put the bag in the little gear hammock that hangs under my sleeping hammock. The mice chewed through the gear hammock and the trail mix bag and ate a half quart bag of the mix, leaving only the coconut. Yes, they can smell through plastic.)

At around midnight, she decides to go to bed, putting the fire out. The moon isn’t up yet, so she can’t see the hammock in the trees and has to use her bic lighter to find the hammock….:) She had a huge 15 inch machete knife-like blade and sets it next to her shoes. She is ready for anything.

personal opinion time: I try to be a lightweight packer, Everything I bring is as light as possible. Comedy Girl brings things I think are crazy…a down pillow, a solar shower…that huge blade…. but you know? She had everything she needed and used everything she brought. I will never bug her again. After all, she is the one that carries it, not me…. end personal opinion time.

She is in her hammock and hears shouting. It is far away and getting further, so she doesn’t try to answer. After a bit, she hears the shouting again, this time closer, so she yells back. At one in the morning they find her.

They are yelling my name so she knows I must have set off the beacon and so pretends to be me until she can explain the situation. They admire her set up and comment on the knife. They ask if she wants to hike back with them and after thinking it over, she agrees, so they help her strike camp and head out into the moonlit night. One of the guys has a GPS and says they need to be 850 higher up the mountainside. So they climb straight up…in the middle of the night…almost a thousand feet. They compliment Comedy Girl on her cardiovascular strength. They reach the main trail and head back to the car.

Two hours later, another team finds me and SpiderWeb and the beacon. We decide to hike out the next morning as it is a lot safer to walk when you can see. When we reach the trailhead, we find the car and her gear, but Comedy Girl is nowhere to be seen. Not again! We shout and she answers this time…She is up on the hill picking up trash. She comes back down with a bag full of broken glass, beer cans, and a mylar balloon. Yes, Comedy Girl has class.

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Skunk Thwarting

All that ranting I did earlier on squirrels?  It turned out they were a mere practice run for the main event – skunks. Yes, we have skunks.   I was reading a random post on a random gardening journal and it was about how to get rid of (or protect your garden) from deer. However, the author also answered  questions about other animal problems and one of them was about skunks. All of a sudden it clicked. Skunks are powerful diggers. Skunks don’t eat the plants, they are after worms and grubs. Skunks are nocturnal.

My garden was getting dug up at a prodigious rate.  They figured out how to pull up the staples that were holding the netting down and were busy turning my healthy, green, growing plants into uprooted, just sitting there, sickly ones. The skunks were up-rooting the plants and I would plant them again in the morning.  Poor babies just couldn’t grow. The beans they hadn’t touched were almost 5 ft tall on the trellis, the ones that kept getting up-rooted were like 6 INCHES tall…..I was amazed they still stayed green.  The swiss chard that was unbothered was about 10 inches tall, the ones that were getting disturbed were 3 inches tall……in July…..  I tried putting rocks around the beans and swiss chard, it just slowed the critters down a little and they found a new place to dig. Soon my veggie garden was looking more like a Rock Garden….and not a pretty one either. It is not a nice way to start your day….going out to the garden and surveying ruin.

Then I read the garden journal. And read it again. Skunks. So I began to try some of the home-made garden protector ideas. Red pepper flakes didn’t bother them. Mothballs didn’t faze them.  They were hungry and after worms, what was sprinkled on the surface didn’t even slow them down. I say “them” and “they” because it seemed as if a mom and her brood were at work.  The holes were all different sizes and way too many for just one skunk it seemed to me. I finally found a wildlife website that offered solid advice. They said there were only two things that worked for discouraging skunks: bright lights and fences. Ya see, the little buggers can’t climb.  At all.

I was so happy!  The first night I remembered to shut the garden gate. Next morning there were still holes and dis-lodged plants. Perused the fence line. Aha!  Our garden is enclosed, but the north side is “shadow fencing”.  Slats which are offset one from another.  The cats could come in and out of the yard at will through this fencing, apparently the skunks could too.  I proceeded to screen the north side fencing using the leftover plastic hail/shade cloth.  Perfect length. anchored with zip ties and heavy rocks. Then I got my hubby to make a “sweep” for the garden gate. He used zip ties to attach a piece of wood to the bottom of the gate.  Success!  I say again “SUCCESS”!!!!!

shade/hail cloth put to another use

shade/hail cloth put to another use

I still had the south garden to secure. A while back my hubby had acquired a 100 ft of that red, 4 foot high, plastic “Danger Will Robinson” fencing and the stakes that went with it. We surrounded each bed with the red fencing, making it about 2 ft, 6 inches tall.  I am short, so that height will still allow me to lean over the top to harvest and weed

another use for this fencing....keeping skunks out, but not people.

another use for this fencing….keeping skunks out, but not people.

I am pleased to report that the skunks have been thwarted.

I  planted more lettuce, spinach and beans and know they will be safe…..except for the squirrels……oh noes!   I forgot about the squirrels!!!!!!

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