Monday, May 31, 2010

Mother vs. Nature, part 1

Growing up, I spent a lot of time on my grandparents' farm in southwestern Iowa.  Grandma would ask us what vegetable we wanted for dinner, and then we'd go out and pick it.  Want eggs for breakfast?  Let's head to the henhouse.  (I'm sure I didn't feed the baby pigs and think about bacon - my fond memories are full of sunshine and clean laundry on the line, not the squealing of animals on the kill floor.  Work with me here, I'm creating an image, dammit.)  For the last couple of years, I've been pining for some of the farm life I remember, and this is why I've dug up a huge part of my yard and planted a vegetable garden.

We (meaning me and the Son, don't get the idea CH spends much time out there) ripped up the sod and tilled all of the dirt boulders out there, and then we planted.  Soon, our sweet garden was being eaten by savage killer chipmunks and mutant baby rabbits, and we had to erect a fence.  We had some success with the garden last year, but this was to be the year of our victory.  Instead, we've been crippled early by the opposition.  I even put a Chipmunk song on the playlist today, but it was so annoying that I set it so you can play it if you want.  (I do this because I care about you more than the other readers of this blog, so don't tell them.)

George the Superpet is put on patrol 
while the garden is being tilled.

The other half of the garden - 
the green bushy part is our strawberry patch, 
which has already produced these:

I see some limeade, ice, and rum in your future, my pretties.
Um, I mean A Healthy Breakfast for the children.

Our garden is a little ambitious.  I've planted broccoli and cauliflower, yellow onions, peas, green beans, tomatoes (Celebrity, Roma, and Big Boy, only because the names of these varieties covered the Holy Trinity of People magazine, the Godfather, and CH.  Yeah CH, I went there), and peppers (red bell, green bell, yellow bell, jalapeno, and sweet peppers), zucchini, cilantro, basil, oregano, flat leaf parsley, rosemary, and the aforementioned strawberries.  I'm all about zucchini bread, spaghetti sauce, and salsa.

Here are some pre-critter plants:
  Broccoli and cauliflower plants, feeling safe before the night killings.

The Son, planting zucchini in an area 
we now refer to as 'Area 51' or 'Certain Death'.

(Peaches and) Herbs.

So The Son and I toiled away on our little garden patch, and we even put our fencing up this year, but we woke up one morning to find one broccoli plant eaten to the ground, and the other plants weeping and tearing their leaves.  We heard screams in the night, and woke the next day to find a zucchini plant torn stem from stem.  Two days later, a whole family of strawberries had been gutted and left to die in the patch.  And that just did it.  Those little bastard rodents were going down.

I called Todd "Hot Nuts" Epstein. 

You know how when you want to fight the CIA, you call someone who is ex-CIA.  Steven Segal is always called in as an ex-Navy Seal who needs to kick some ass.  If BP was fighting Steven Segal, they would be crying uncle and the environment would be saved.  I'm voting for a Chuck Norris-Steven Segal ticket in 2012.  Anyway, I figure if you want to fight killer rodents, you get a kick ass killer rodent to fight them.  I give you Todd.
 Do you see a difference in Badassness?  Because I don't.

So Todd goes out on patrol, and the next day we find this by our HOUSE, about two feet away from the garden:
 Yeah, that is a huge pile of animal crap.  And it is bigger than Todd.  And kind of scary.  You know how you look at clouds and see things?  My family stood around this monstrosity and shared what we saw in the rabid raccoon scat.  Good times, good times.  So I decided maybe it was unsafe outside for Todd, and he fought me hard to stay outside, but I said, "Stand down, soldier" and he followed the chain of command.  Because I can't lose Todd.

The Son took to the patch with a bow and arrow.  The rules were to only shoot at the ground, and don't shoot toward the neighbor's house or toward the street, because it would be unfortunate if he accidentally shot someone we like.  At this point, you may be thinking, "Hey, c'mon Julie, these are just innocent little chipmunks!" 
But no.  Mine are gang-sign-throwing, meth-dealing, zombie-apocalypse-starting destroyers.
They all wear shades and pull their hoods up and they sing horrible songs in squeaky voices and make terrible movies and tag my grill with their little rodent gang signs and they EAT MY VEGGIES!  

So it's almost midnight and I have more to tell and I'm not one to cut a long story short in the interest of keeping my audience's attention, so I'm going to bed, but trust me when I say that things got VERY VERY ugly.  Literally.  I may be actually physically scarred for life and I blame the Munks.  Tune in tomorrow for part 2.  In the interim, I would like to hear about if any of you are doing veggie gardens, what are you growing, and what do you do to fight rodents?  You can say the word "strychnine" here, I won't judge.

Until tomorrow, gentle readers.  OH - Todd now has a Facebook fan page!  Feel free to Like him all you want at his Fanpage!


GrandeMocha said...

I've got a black thumb. I've killed hostas & pine trees. My mom comes over & helps my hubby & son plant tomatoes & peppers. Whatever grows, grows. We try not to get too worked up about it.

Wendy Ramer said...

No gardening here. We are worshippers of the Publix supermarket chain. In fact, I've got two within 1/2 mile of my house in either direction.

ZEKE said...

We usually plant tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, jalapenos, beets, radishes, carrots, strawberries. I don't have any good suggestions on keeping the rodents out. We haven't had to deal with that. Our biggest problem is the squash bugs....of which I also don't know how to eradicate them. I have taken to bribing the children to go out and squash those squash bugs with rocks, 'cause I sure as heck ain't doing that.

Joe Ambrosino said...

Hey Julie,great post. I gardened a lot when I lived in Brooklyn- (now,I grow tomatoes on my fire escape so not worried about rabbits) I have used a product for years called Spray-N-Grow which is a super effective plant "vitamin". I mention it because the company that makes it also produces organic "deterrents" for garden pests.Check them out.

CeCe Savage said...

This is such a great post!

My father and I have been working on our back yard. We've been plantin flowers and bushes and re-doing the grass. the vegetable garden is the last step that we are planning on doing next week. We have some pretty hefty critters in our neighborhood too. I can only hope we don't have such adventures!

A Researcher of Life

Katie said...

This year I have a lovely garden. I weeded, I tilled, I planted, I watered.
And by "I", I mean my step dad did it.
I dont have the nerves to put so much love and work into something I am just going to kill. Or, that will be ravaged by small woodland creatures.
You want me to send him over? ;)

Melly said...

I'm in your garden (not really -- I'm not a stalker), fighting the fight against the Zombie Bugs Bunny -- with the added demented notion that I should totally plant a garden despite the fact that I have killed (fanfare) four cacti, one lily, two daffodils and a bamboo plant.

When I told this story toa friend of mine, he said, "I have some bamboo in my yard I want to get rid of."

And I said, "Really? I'll come over, water it, nurture it, give it a name and then it will die a slow and painful death over the course of two weeks. Don't tell the government or they'll start testing me to see if I'll work as an insecticide."

Cheers, good luck, and enjoy the daiquiris, er, healthy breakfast.

CherylT said...

Yeah, but can Todd "Hot Nuts" Epstein get his own reality show?

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