The Electric Scarecrow

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Published on: Jun. 2, 1996

Last revision: Oct. 21, 2010

to the peach tree. Nectar is oozing from pellet wounds in many of the peaches still on the tree and at least a bushel of peaches had been blasted to the ground. He and Mildred might salvage some of the peaches, but would it be worth it? Worse! Could Mildred explain the presence of shotgun pellets in her peach cobblers, so popular at church bake sales? The shotgun blast brings Mildred out the back door and around the corner of the house. She stands next to Lawrence for a long moment, staring at the gooey remains of the peach crop. Honey bees are starting to gather. "Lawrence," she asks softly, "What happened?"

His mind races back to a scene from The King and I when the King said to Anna, "When you can't think of anything to say, it means you should remain silent." With a firm grasp of that concept, Lawrence turns and walks quietly toward to the house. In the distance, beyond the hickory tree, he hears a squirrel chattering.

Those who deal with nuisance wildlife will not judge Lawrence too harshly. Solutions to nuisance wildlife problems can be challenging and often require a second or third effort. Still, in most cases, a solution is usually available; either we haven't thought of it, or haven't asked the right person for help. Lawrence lost patience and destroyed the very thing he was trying to protect. Lawrence's wildlife nuisance problem had been a squirrel eating the peaches. It could have been a rabbit in the vegetable garden, a raccoon in the sweet corn or a bear in the bee hive. These are aggravating problems which, when viewed in the course of all human events, may not qualify as major crises. Still, no one is pleased with the destruction of their efforts by a free-loader. Lawrence could have saved his peaches with an electric fence. Most nuisance wildlife just need a little jolt to change their mind about eating cultivated flowers, vegetables or fruit. A whack on the nose from an electric fence will adjust the attitude of even the most determined invader. It usually takes only one encounter with an electric fence to discourage most pesky wildlife. The free-loader is interested only in an easy meal and prefers fertilized cultivated plants to nature's wild plants. A jolt from an electric fence may alter the food preference of the intruder, but will not

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