Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Frank On Gopher Patrol; Peaches are Almost Ripe

 When we disk up the fields and start watering, we start seeing gopher activity.  Gopher patrol is Frank's main delight but he takes it very seriously.  He is very good at it.  No need to show you the hunting photos so don't be afraid to read on.
Even a few neighbors have asked him over to help them with their gopher problems.  They do a lot of damage and can do it in a very short period of time.  Last year we found them under a couple of trees, one of them was our Mission olive tree.  I kept seeing the mounds all around the tree but we were never able to get them.  This year, the tree has died, I think they ate the roots.
Frank has his gopher tool kit; a 5 gal bucket full of traps, brightly painted sticks (he loops the trap straps to the stick so the gophers don't take the traps down into the hole AND so he can remember and see where the traps are located); some 12" x 12" flat boards; a probe; and  a small shovel I found for him at Harbor Freight.
He first probes with his metal stick to find the main runs.  Then he digs a hole until he finds the "in" and "out" holes and places the traps.  Frank pounds in his painted stake and loops the end of the trap wire to it.  Then he covers the hole with the flat board and puts dirt on top of the wood.
His day begins with checking his traps.  Sometimes, being the great hunter that he is, he brings back the prizes to show me.  I am thrilled, but don't really like that part.  Annie and Bella are more excited than I am.  After each time, Frank fills the bucket with soap and water and cleans the traps.  I am really concerned about gophers this year because we are using the heavy landscaping fabric all over the vegetable gardens.  If a gopher gets under the cloth, I will never be able to get him and he could eat rows of vegetables before we could stop him.  So it is important to get a head start in spring to find their activity early and take care of them.
Boom!!!  The peaches were small and green and this last week several trees started getting darker pink.  As we were on "gopher" patrol", we swung over to a couple of trees and had peach snacks.  Yummy!!!  
All the peaches aren't perfect but some are, so come on over to my roadside stand this week and I will have some out there for you.
Keeping busy here at the Windmill Farm.  What are you up to in your gardens, kitchens, house remodels??  Love to hear about them.

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