Sleeping Sentinel

Guards are supposed to keep watch. A watchman sleeping while on post should be punished. In fact in one instance during the American Civil War, a sentinel was caught sleeping at his post, and he was sentenced to be executed by a firing squad, except that President Lincoln pardoned him.

Few days ago, I caught one sleeping while on duty. And I even have a photo to prove it. Should I advocate for a firing squad?

Several months ago I wrote an article (see blog here) about this unknown critter that has the uncanny knack of pooping on my deck. After months or even years of frustration on trying different things and several animal repellents without success, I finally found the answer.

Havahart Spray Away, shortly after deploying a squirt of water, wetting the glass door

Enter the Havahart Spray Away Elite – motion detector sprinkler. It sprays water like a high-powered squirt gun whenever it senses motion in the area it is protecting. It became the honor guard on my deck. It sprayed water (I think, though I never caught it) to the perpetrator, as it never defecated on my deck again. It also sprayed the sevicemen who were just doing their work or inspecting something on my deck. I even lured some unsuspecting guest to take a walk on my deck ……and swoosh!

For four months or so, my deck was clean and poop-free. The designated sentinel was highly commendable.

But then one morning, I saw this. I found fresh poop on my deck again and its right under the nose of my guard! What’s going on? Is my sentinel sleeping? My watchman failed me!

The motion detector sprinkler in our deck, with poop right in front of it

I looked at the sprinkler and the light indicator was blinking that it was on. The solar-powered battery was fully charged. There was definitely water in its receptacle. However, after some more investigation and testing – which includes walking, running and even dancing in front of the Havahart sprayer and not getting sprayed – I came to the conclusion that the motion sensor was not working. My guard was not sleeping. It has gone blind! Obviously it also cannot smell the doo-doo under its nose.

What good is a blind sentinel then? It did not need a firing squad. Just fired.

As for that pooping creature, that might deserve a firing squad! But I have to catch it first.

*****

Post script: Havahart replaced my motion detector sprinkler for free. Now I have a new sentinel on deck.

Poop Deck

Animals and humans are territorial by nature. For instance male deer rub their head and antlers in trees and branches to leave their scent as a “sign-post” to other deer that this is his area. Dogs mark their territory by urinating or sometimes even defecating on a location to say “mine.” I don’t know if Pinoy men are marking their territory or just being plain unsanitary when they relieved themselves against the street walls.

For more than a year now, some kind of critter is trying to claim territory by peeing and pooping on my deck. Yes, on my deck! And it is in exactly the same spot too!

I am not sure what animal is doing this, but for sure it really annoys me. It could be a neighbor’s dog, or a fox, or a stray cat. I know it is not a deer because their pile of droppings is different (yes, I’m an expert in deer poop now). But since it always comes at night, that’s why I have not caught it yet, so it could be one of the nocturnal creature we have here, like a raccoon, or a possum, or an American badger. Or a tikbalang?

poop on my deck

I have tried almost any kind of animal spray repellent to ward this creature away. We tried sprays that were made from obnoxious plant oils, from foxes’ urine, and from cayenne pepper. All failed. Come the next morning, there still is a fresh pile of dung on my deck. The only thing those sprays accomplished was suffocate me with their overcoming odor when I apply them.

For the ultimate territorial act, I even asked my son to pee on our deck. But it still failed! That pooping creature still would not be deterred. Should I try pooping on my deck too? Sorry to gross you out, but what shall I do to get rid of the do? A deck should be a place of relaxation while enjoying the outdoor view and the breeze. Not a latrine!

I tried to think of other ways to ward off that critter, like motion activated flood lights, or a dancing scarecrow (like in the Wizard of Oz), or even an electric fence. But those are too cumbersome to install, and expensive too. I also thought of staking out all night with a shot-gun. But the Humane Society might protest and picket on my front yard or on my deck.

Should I just give in and wave a white flag of surrender? Or I can put a litter box on my deck and hopefully that critter will use it, so at least it will be easier to clean it up.

But this is my house! This is my home deck! It is not a poop deck!* I will reclaim it whatever it takes.

Then I found this.

Meet the new guardian of my deck: Havahart Spray Away Elite Sprinkler Repellent. It is solar-powered, and has infrared motion sensors. When it detect movement, it will deploy a burst of water, like a powerful squirt gun. It can spray up to a distance of 25 feet. And I can easily turn it off, or else I will get sprayed too, or worse, my guests will get sprinkled as well, when they go out the deck.

Havahart sprinkler in action

Besides being effective in keeping the critter off my deck, the Havahart sprinkler also provided some amusement to me and my kids as we tried to trigger it off by running in front of it and then dodging the water spray. Nice toy to play with, especially if it is sunny and hot and a soaking from a sprinkler can be refreshing.

deck guard on duty

Almost a month now and counting, and my deck is still poop-free. Finally, I reclaimed my territory.

Now, I just need to shrewdly invite my unsuspecting visitors to take a walk on my deck……and then……. (*evil laugh*)

*****

(*Poop deck is actually a term in naval architecture, that refers to the partial deck above the ship’s main afterdeck at the stern of the ship. Thus it has nothing to do with poop!)