The good news: the hummingbirds are back. The bad news: the racoons are back. It is possible that I aided and abetted the latter because of my method of composting, which involves flinging vegetable peelings over the deck railing into the forest at large. In my own defense, the height of the deck provides the ability to launch the carrot scraps far and wide, lest you imagine a festering pile of ooze hanging out within nasal range of the lounge chairs. However, maybe because they are too lazy to scavenger hunt for the compostables, the racoons have set their sights on the sugar water dispenser. On the first morning, the hummingbird feeder was simply lying on its side on the gravel and all I had to do was hang it back up on the hook. The next morning, it was back on the gravel but this time the part that holds the water was smashed into about four hundred pieces. I take some joy in assuming that all this achieved was sugar-flavoured gravel. No doubt the hummingbirds do not share this sentiment.
It appears that hummingbird feeders are the new toilet paper. The internet refuses to supply any until at least December. Perhaps that’s why there are millions of YouTube videos on how to DIY a hummingbird feeder. Most of these involve bendable copper tubing or glass cutters or food-grade glue (seriously?). I settled on the only sensible version for a cottage on an island, which uses a plastic water bottle. I fixed a fresh batch of feed, filled the bottle, and attached it to the business-end of the broken feeder, which thankfully survived the siege. I lifted it up to carry it outside. The bottom fell off, releasing a tsunami of sugar water onto the kitchen floor. Mindful of the wrath of my disappointed customers, I picked up the limping feeder, applied copious amounts of decidedly non-food-grade glue, refilled the reservoir, and rushed to reinstate the free buffet. Assuming I manage not to kill the mouths I’m trying to feed, the glue seems to have done the trick.
Send in the ants. Turns out ants are also pretty big fans of sugar. Turns out sugar water is not that easy to remove from a kitchen floor, especially when it has had time to dry out to the consistency of flypaper. This is a public service notice. Do not do as I say nor do as I do.
Send in the gypsy moth caterpillars. I’m thinking there might be several more plagues in the offing. Just warning those of you who are considering dining on a patio anytime soon. Gypsy moths are an invasive species from somewhere not here. They are about half an inch long at this stage, and kind of fuzzy but way on the wrong side of the bell curve from cute. I do not think they are the sharpest caterpillar in the drawer because they parachute down from outer space onto the deck, which necessitates a marathon’s worth of travel to actually get to a tree, before needing to climb said tree. But maybe they are in the midst of training for the Tokyo Olympics, because what appears to be the gentle sound of light rain, although the sky is severe-fire-rating blue, is actually the moths-to-be having a deciduous breakfast, lunch and dinner. And also snacks in between. On the plus side, when I violently intercept them with my foot (shod, of course) they emit electric green ooze, like a Klingon’s blood or maybe more like what a Klingon eats for breakfast.
Send in the Klingons. There ought to be Klingons.