Note from Farmer Al: May 6, 2018
We need 'em! We have them! And we LOVE them!
Because they eat gophers, ground squirrels, insects, and even birds, all of whom do extensive and expensive damage to our orchard and fruit.
Gophers. Are any of you home gardeners? Have you ever experienced a beautiful tomato plant wilt and then keel over and die? Then just imagine how I feel when I see a beautiful young cherry tree, maybe just two or three years old, wild and die after I have been nurturing it that long. This scenario actually happens dozens of times every year. Maybe even hundreds of times! Imagine the sequence of emotions: surprise, amazement, outrage, chagrin, helplessness and last, but certainly not least, RAGE! We spend thousands of dollars pear year fighting gophers.
One of our key strategies is to build owl boxes and place them in the orchards atop 15 foot tall poles anchored in the ground with cement. We know owls are doing their job because inspections of the ground beneath these owl boxes reveal piles of rodent bones and fur. I'll see owls every morning before dawn circling silently in their stealthy hunt.
We also see weasels (saw one this morning) which seem to have the perfect design to be gopher killers with long, slender bodies, little paws perfect for grasping a furry rodent, and razor-sharp teeth. They're incredibly quick and agile, and vicious. The ultimate predator. I really like these little guys.
And snakes, especially the proverbial gopher snake, which like the weasel is designed by nature to fit perfectly into gopher holes and tunnels.
Owls, weasels and snakes. We've got them all and we're happy to have them.