Dear Bob, here are some photos of my life here on the campus of Concordia Seminary. I love kids, working with the grounds crew, swimming, playing with my dog friends, and especially my own family people.
Plant “mosquito-repellent plants” such as lavender
Call your county parks and recreation department to inquire about spraying the neighborhood
For bite relief try baking soda paste
Also make sure if you have a dog, it stays on regular heart worm medication.
Ants, especially the ones who find a way to the kitchen:
Sprinkle cinnamon at your doors and along the baseboards
Set ant traps on countertops (away from pets and children) that contain poison the “worker ants” will carry back to the colony
Hire a professional to spray the outside of your home as well as problem areas
Seal all open food in Ziploc bags or canisters with lids
Clear countertops of fruits and breads
Last summer when we had a pest control guy out for ants, he told me they look for the entrance point and then squirt something along that area inside and out. It is a stronger version of the Terro ant killer you can buy in the store. Terro works but it takes longer and, it should be placed only in one spot so you contain the ants. They then take it to the nest where eventually they die.
Spray peppermint oil in areas where they’ve been spotted
Set vanilla-scented glue traps to catch them when they are out searching for prey
Clear storage areas and closets of cardboard and piles of clothes
Spiders and their webs are everywhere right now, just walk around and you'll probably feel a piece of a web strand on your arm or leg or face.
We've had a family of hawks on campus the past month or so, a mother, father and two young birds. The adults feed the young for several months after birth even though when we saw them they looked full grown. The babies (I'm callling them babies because they are still unable to survive without parental feedings) would fly around and sit up high in trees or on Luther Tower or rooftops or buildings. Sometimes they ended up on the tall radio tower. Then they would scream and scream and scream to let the parents know where they were so food could be delivered. Food being other animals like squirrels, rabbits and small birds.
Today we discovered that one of the young ones flew into one of the chapel windows and died. The Hawk hit the window so hard that he/she left an imprint of itself. A sad story but the imprint on the window is amazing, the detail is so sharp it is possible to see the eyes, feathers and body.
There is supposedly a regulation which requires a call to the department of conservation when an animal such as these hawks die. The body must be disposed of in a certain manner-supposedly-and no feathers can be taken and neither can it be taken to a taxidermist to be permanently displayed. We don't know all this for sure, but it does seem fairly correct.
Gayle and Mark one of our 4th year students, picked up the hawk and showed the wingspan.
It's quite sad to see the end of such a beautiful bird.
If you enlarge the window picture you'll see the detail he left behind.
In one of those most incomplete tiny stories about Lake Michigan water levels, it seems the water has risen at a record rate. However, two years ago it was at a near record low. And, despite this year's rise, the level is only one foot above its normal average.
Go figure this out. Two years ago when we spent a week on northern Lake Michigan the beach areas were wide and long. Perfect for beach living. Other years we've experienced high water when only a sparse bit of sand was visible. This back and forth is nothing unusual, much depends on how much snow or rain has fallen during the year.
Up or down, it's nature. This year when we head up there we won't have much sandy real estate, but the lake is still beautiful.
Rain and more rain brings more mosquitoes than we've experienced in many years. It's impossible to go outside without being bitten multiple times. Hard to sit outside in fairly moderate temperatures or weed or cut grass or even take walks the mosquitoes are biting so fiercely. I don't know if Clayton or Collinsville are going to bring out the fogging trucks but I really hope they do. Also going to go buy some anti itch cream today.
Also, spiders. It takes no time at all this summer to put something or other down before spiders begin making their webs on whatever it is.
Our next door neighbor in Collinsville has been planting banana trees every summer for some years now. In the fall he digs them up and put them in his basement. But this year, seemingly out of the blue, he has a whole bunch of young bananas on a tree which has barely gotten into its seasonal growth.
I've been reading some Collinsville Facebook posts from people relating their raccoon sightings and problems. The comments lead me to the conclusion that the entire town is getting overrun with these animals. Some residents with backyard ponds are having their Koi fish eaten by raccoons, another came across one in the garage eating the dog food, while another watched one on their bird feeder eating away. And on and on.
I was driving around Collinsville at mid day on Thursday and..whoops..almost had a collision with a raccoon trying to make a fast trip across Clay Street. He stopped so fast he went up on his back legs. Which tells me they've become acclimated to urban life so well they know the danger of cars. And, it does away with the theory that raccoons are noctural, awake at night, sleeping during the day.
Part of me is glad to know we aren't the only ones with this issue, but it seems to be getting out of hand and these animals, while cute to some, can be destructive and dangerous to humans.
I was and wasn't surprised to read a Facebook post from someone in Collinsville yesterday on how to deal with raccoons constantly getting into their trash cans and not only eating and spreading trash, but chewing through the lids. Even more enlightening were the comments from others in Collinsville who all agreed they too had raccoon issues and the raccoons seemed to be in every part of town.
I guess our on going raccoon problem is just part of a larger raccoon problem. Collinsville must be the raccoon center of the world. Here's a photo of the latest raccoon we had trapped. I've since taken a hedge trimmer to the lillies which grieved me, but why be too welcoming.