Saturday, May 30, 2015

Bat Hotel with Pond View

Large native area in the back of the Mount Pleasant Village Hall 2014
For several years I have been concerned about the plight of the honey bees, hive collapse, and the disappearance of Monarch butterflies in the Midwest. The media mentions these problems from time to time and I’ve done quite a bit of research on these topics, to see how I can help. Now as a master gardener volunteering at the Mount Pleasant Village Hall, I hope I can help the pollinators a little bit. Native plants and other flowers which the butterflies and hummingbirds like have been planted in the gardens and rain gardens around the property.  But what about the bats?  They are considered as pollinators too.

Yes they are creepy, and as I child I had two run-ins with them, but I’ll spare you the details.  Bats are having problems too.  My neighbor has a bat house in her yard for years, it looks interesting but I never really considered using one myself.  Now I’ve rethought the problem, maybe we can help them a little at Mount Pleasant.
Here is the Bat House, just purchased, before installation. 12" x 18" x 5".
When shopping at the local garden center there was one for sale under $50.  So I proposed the purchase and installation to Logan Martin who coordinates with me and the Master Gardener program.  He said “yes,”  and today the bat house was installed!  I have accomplished another step in my goal to help pollinators.

 So what’s the big deal?  Bat houses should be placed on buildings or poles a minimum of 15 feet above the ground.  How would I get a tall enough ladder over there, to nail one up?  This is where Logan helped. He arranged for me to meet with Bob at the Dept. of Public Works; we decided where it would go; and he arranged for a truck with a cherry picker and an able person to hang it for us.

Ideally, a bat house should face the Southeast, it needs to be up high, and have plenty of open space for the bats to approach the box.  They need to be in a sunny spot where the temperatures inside reach 80-100 degrees!
The rear of the salt shed has an eastern face, the house will be installed on the SE corner

This morning, May 28, I met Peter Shilling behind the Mount Pleasant salt shed, we discussed a few things before he climbed into the cherry picker.  Then up he went with some tools and the house, it was secured into place with long wood screws so that high winds would not knock it down, the sun can warm up the box, and now it’s ready for occupancy.
Peter Shilling installing the bat house, slightly above 15 feet from ground level
Thank you Peter, for helping to install the box.  The open bottom and side ventilation holes can be seen.
To me, the location seems perfect. The box is placed up high enough, in a spot near water, the little retention pond should offer a lovely view as well as plenty of bugs. It is on the back side of the municipal salt shed, so it is away from where most people would be walking to and from the village buildings.  Will some nice bat family find our cozy hotel and move in?  From my research, I find it is possible that it could take a year or two until that happens.  For now we wait.  The red carpet is out.
Here is the view of the pond, which the bats will enjoy when living in our bat hotel!

Helpful links for bat enthusiasts: 

Follow all the links and you will learn all kinds of stuff.

Kind of batty,
Ann Fahl

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Mother's Day Treat

Trillium in the Sun, quilt by Ann Fahl, 43 x 43 inches
 This weekend I was going to treat myself to a gardening weekend.  This means no household stuff, no family history research, just playing outside in the dirt!  All winter I look forward to this time of year and now it's here.

It turned cold last night, a new front came through and it rained all night.  There will be no gardening today while the temperature is in the 40s.

The good news is that the trillium are blooming and they are wonderful. My woods is full of these lovely white flowers. When this happens I try and design another trillium piece in my head.

Ann Fahl