DEAR JOHANNA: My wife has two plastic wrap half wine barrels, several aquatic plants in 1-gallon pots, and three 3-inch goldfish in each barrel.
She recently found the fish gone and the plants all tipped over – a mess and her four year old pet fish is gone.
This must be a raccoon. I don’t think a rat can because the heavy gallon pots fell over, do they? It sure happened at night. What do you think?
Kurt, San Jose
LOVE KURT: Sounds just like raccoons at work. They have the strength and dexterity to achieve the tilt of the pot, and raccoons love fish.
If your wife wants to replace her pets and protect them, catch the barrels at night. You can also set up a radio nearby and quietly play a nightly talk station.
DEAR JOHANNA: In winter I keep a hummingbird feeder outside. There are hummingbirds that fly around and stop by the feeder, but they don’t eat. The feeder is not clogged and the liquid, a premixed product from Lowes, is red and appears to be fine.
Why are the hummingbirds checking the feeder but not actually feeding?
Mike Olson, match
DEAR MIKE: It could be that the birds are simply not hungry or that the feeder has something they don’t like. Make sure you clean it thoroughly and regularly, and replace the nectar frequently, even when the birds aren’t drinking.
There is still some debate over whether red colored nectar is harmful to the birds, but experts definitely do not recommend it. Switch to a non-colored type or make your own by heating water, adding sugar, and stirring to dissolve it. The standard recipe is 4 parts water to 1 part sugar.
DEAR JOHANNA: Often the silk flower arrangements are stolen from the cemetery where my father is buried.
In speaking with the owners, we discussed the obvious alternatives such as live flower arrangements, but we also discussed ensuring the safety of the wildlife in the area, which many of them could be poisoning.
Could you help us find out which plants, bushes, trees and flowers deer, rabbits, squirrels, porcupines and others can safely eat, especially during the winter months?
Pamela Upton, Saint Charles, Missouri
LOVE PAMELA: If it’s people who steal the silk flowers, I’m not sure if live flowers will be any less tempting, but it’s worth a try.
Surprisingly, many of the most common plants we bring to cemeteries – hydrangeas, azaleas, mums, and daisies – can be highly toxic to animals.
However, there are a large number of plants that can be safely left on the grave, including vincas, petunias, marigolds, zinnias, angelonias (snapdragons), and all kinds of salvias.
The choice which depends on it depends on many things other than toxicity. Will these be cut flowers or potted flowers? Are you allowed to plant on or around the graves? Are the tombs in the shade or in the sun?
When you find these answers, think about which plants to honor your father and examine them for toxicity. In general, plants that are toxic to horses can be toxic to rabbits. Plants that are poisonous to goats and cows are also dangerous to deer. and plants that are harmful to dogs are harmful to foxes and coyotes.
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