Family Friday – Backyard, Part 1: Pe(s)ts
Since we’re all about series posts around here these days, here’s another set.
It’s a rainy Independence Day here in this corner of the USA, and we had a small cookout with my parents last night, so here at the Cottage, there isn’t much to distinguish today from a Saturday. This morning before the rain started, I spent a little time, as I do every Saturday, trying to create order out of the chaos inside the house, and Paul spent some time as he does pretty much every day, trying to create order from the chaos outside.
Every year, there are lots of projects, and lots of pests, and lots of plants that do really well, while lots of other plants don’t do so well. This year, though, it seems like there’s just more of all those things. More, and also . . . bigger? Our first year of marriage, we had some sort of blight on some of the vegetables, and leaf-cutter ants and chipmunks. Last year we had the ants and the chipmunks, but also these crows that got the biggest kick out of stabbing the tomatoes with their beaks, flinging them across the yard, and leaving them there. Oh, and the ducks. The neighbours have ducks. The ducks liked to come up from the pond into the yard, waddling and quacking and snapping the heads off the marigolds which we planted because they’re pretty but also to keep other pests out of the garden.
This year, along with all those other jokers, plus some medium-sized brown perching bird which may or may not be some sort of thrush and which may or may not be an asset, the rabbit that hung around all last year has actually been engaging in the garden raids (which for some reason it refrained from last year), such that we have no broccoli–even though we did, for a minute–and all the kale outside of containers has also completely disappeared. That rabbit likes his cruciferous vegetables, apparently.
None of the animals seem to feel overly threatened by either Shemp or Oscar, although they might by Shemp if he were given freer run of the yard. On the other hand, the dogs seem to think that these are more of their own pet-siblings, who just happen to live outdoors. Maybe they outdoor animals think that, too. We should probably start naming them.
The bear is also back, but we stopped putting seeds in the bird feeder at the beginning of last season (which, by the way, still felt like the middle of the season before), so I, at least, haven’t seen her. Instead, the latest and most dramatic garden invasion has come from Mama Turtle.
My Paul’s pet garden project this summer has been experiments with the hugelkultur, an idea he’s been researching at Mother Earth News and Youtube.
Apparently Mama Turtle thinks this is a good experiment.
My Paul didn’t really think there was room for both healthy squashes and a nest of snapping turtle eggs, so after three days of finding her digging up the plants at the same time every morning, and his scooping her out with a pitchfork, he got serious.
After that, I saw Mama Turtle down the street–at rather an impressive distance, really–in a neighbour’s yard, but she was sure to be disappointed. They don’t have a hugelkultur. In her absence, a smaller, prettier painted turtle showed up, but she missed the, er, slat of opportunity, I guess.