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I was at a garden center the other day looking for something else when I happened on a spray that promised to rid my garden of all sorts of unwanted 4-footed critters. Including my friend Rocky Raccoon.

I was getting a bit tired of chasing him out of the grapes every night with a broom, but I don’t like using poisons of any kind in my yard. For one thing, I don’t want to flush them into our sewers and thence to the streams and rivers. And I like all (most) of the wildlife in my yard. I’m visited by 4 or 5 different species of native bees — the bumble bees in my yard actually outnumber the interloper honey bees. I have mantids and lady bugs and other aphid-eaters; toads and frogs to eat the slugs; butterflies and hummingbirds to delight me. It’s a nice, albeit currently weedy little ecosystem. I would even welcome the coons if they didn’t eat the grapes. So, no pesticides or herbicides, thank you very much.

I looked at the label on this spray and the ingredients were capsaicin and water. Ah ha! I said to myself. I wonder how Rocky will like a snoot-full of habanero? Certainly unpleasant, but not necessarily deadly.

#1 Son wanted to do the actual spraying, so with mom directing, he sprayed the bases of the grape vines, the pergola supports, the branch of the silk tree that overhangs the pergola, the base of the silk tree, the top of the pergola on the silk-tree side, and the top of the fence.

That night I heard some rustling out vine-ward. But not for very long. In the week since, there have been no signs of nocturnal visitations.

Everything seems to be about 2 weeks early this year, which means we may have ripe grapes while we’re out of town. I’m going to spray again just before we go.

I still have my fingers crossed, but this year we may actually have enough grapes to can juice. If all goes as planned, we’re going to have way too many grapes. 😀

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