Conversations with my Mother – The Taming the Wilderness Edition

Manicured lawn and flowers in the mountains

Many years ago my parents purchased a lot in the East Kootenay. They built a house and then began their long-time project of taming the wilderness. When my father was alive it was a mostly passive project.

The first thing was trying to get the deer to stop eating the flowers they would plant every summer. They put in a fence. However the deer quickly learned to jump it. They made it higher and it didn’t matter. They put blood meal down around their flowers – the deer ignored it and continued to eat their flowers. Then came the electric fence. I am not sure why it was removed but it is no longer there. Finally, my father (who was very smart) rigged a motion detector that instead of shining a light it would activate a sprinkler. That has been the solution that has worked and is still used today.

There were other wild life issues. Wild turkeys tormented everyone by leaving gummy tar-like scat all over the place. The squirrels who found their way into the wood pile were trapped and relocated. There were propane powered carbon dioxide machines that attracted mosquitoes so that they left the people alone. In my father’s time most of the pests were dealt with logically and with minimal violence.

My father passed away in 2004 and my mother is now left to contend with this property in the mountains and all the vagaries of wildlife. Bears have climbed the fences and wrecked trees much to my mother’s chagrin. The worst pests seems to be the skunks and the gophers.

The last 3 years my mother has had skunks in her yard. This year seems to be the worst. She was telling me today that they had trapped one. I asked her what she did with them. She told me that her handyman drowns them. I was shocked. I suggested that they be released back into the wild where they can live without coming into contact with people. I have searched the internet and there are ways to handle skunks. She refuses to even engage in plan that might see them live.

The backside of the 'rockery' no flowers yet

She is even worse when it comes to gophers. She has this area of her yard that she calls the ‘rockery.’ It has lots of big rocks and lots of plants. Apparently the gophers burrow into the rockery and sit up on the rocks and ‘laugh’ at her. At one point, this drove her to buy a pistol with the intention of shooting the gophers. Thankfully someone in her strata association told her it was illegal to shoot the gophers!

I don’t understand why people want to move to the mountains and then impose city order. As the development continues, of course, the wildlife are more and more displaced. For me, the mountains are incredibly beautiful place to be. Why would anyone want to plant grass and grow flowers? I can understand planting wild flowers but it really makes no sense to me try to tame nature. I hope for the sake of all the little animals she gives it up soon.

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Published in: on June 29, 2010 at 8:39 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. This is a topic I am very passionate about, since I live in a rural, forested area with tons of wildlife. Man, you just have to be smart and DEAL!

    And OMG, the thought of your mom with a pistol frightens me!

    As for the skunks…Jesus! If you have ever watched Billy the Exterminator, he traps & relocates, when possible, the animals he catches – skunks included! There definitely ARE ways to handle skunks and relocate them. I am appalled that someone traps & drowns them.

    • Well thankfully she took the pistol back when the head of the strata told her it was against the strata rules to shoot things. She knows this shit winds me up so she goes on about it. They did actually release a skunk the other day.

      As for Billy!!!! He rocks! I love that show.


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