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spicy critters
gardenchat@hort.net

For years we were told that red pepper or pepper sauce was a deterrent
to unwanted critters.  We must have used gallons of pepper sauce mixed
with old eggs to spray for deer, and mixed red pepper flakes with the
bird seed to deter squirrels.  We had concluded some time ago that this
was some sort of urban legend, and didn't really work - especially after 
Chet observed deer licking up the run-off of his egg/pepper spray, and the
squirrels didn't stay away from the feeders.
Well, last fall I decided the red pepper ristra that had hung in my kitchen
for some time was looking a bit tired and dusty, and gave it to Chet to
dispose of, thinking he would take it to the compost bin.  He hung in in 
the screened porch/shed behind the garage where we keep tools and 
junk in general.  This spring as the snow began to melt in the breezeway
I saw unidentified vegetable parts in the slush.  When we were finally 
able to get to the porch, it became clear.  Some critters - most likely
chipmunks, since I know they can get in there easily - had climbed up
the screen to reach the ristra, and it has been totally taken apart.  The
seeds are scattered all over the place, and pieces of the peppers are
dragged around inside and outside.  The ones outside in the snow have
lost their color, which is why I didn't recognize them at first.  Anyway,
it seems that whatever critters these were really have a taste for hot
peppers.
Auralie

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