First, just let me start by saying that I am an animal lover. It's why I stopped eating meat, why I cry when I see a stray dog, and why I slam on my brakes when a bird (or butterfly) flies in front of my car, but now I have some sort of a critter ruining my plants and flowers and I am starting to get angry!

Over the last month I had a grasshopper (yes I know it's not technically an animal, but it has eyes and it moves which is close enough for me) that was living on a small tree we have on our balcony. Charlie and I thought he was cute and even named him. I started noticing holes in my leaves, and then my leaves started falling off and turning brown. It finally occurred to me that is was the grasshopper eating my tree! I didn't have the heart to kill it, or spray it with anything, so Charlie knocked it off and I found a website that said to spray the tree with a mixture of water and Dawn dish soap to keep insects away. I did and he hasn't returned.

Last weekend I noticed 2 of my plants with pretty purple flowers had mysteriously died almost overnight. They were big and green and then all of a sudden lost all of their flowers, turned brown, and then shriveled up and died. I thought it was maybe because of the crazy heat we had and didn't think much about it again until this morning when I found my pretty zinnia, that was green and had three big purple flowers on it with two more about to bloom last night, looked like this:

All of the flowers and leaves were chewed off and it was just a bunch of sticks :(
His gift to me.

I was so mad! I Googled it and got it narrowed down to rabbits and squirrels. I live on the third floor, so it can't be a rabbit. This leaves me with squirrels. I always see them climbing on the side of our building and jumping to the nearby trees (at the time thinking "how cute!"). I also found that they like purple flowers, which would explain why it was only my three plants that made big purple flowers that have died. I definitely don't want to hurt the squirrels, but I want my pretty flowers! I read that spraying the plant with cayenne pepper will keep them away, so I added some hot sauce to my soap spray that I used to keep the grasshoppers away and sprayed it on all of my plants. Hopefully this will keep the little guys from destroying my other pretty flowers!

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