Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Battle For The Garden Shed Rages On.

  Where I thought I was only dealing with one groundhog, turned out to be three, but may be down to two.  After lulling me into a false sense of security, thinking it had been Raptured or devoured, the horrid creature emerged with two babies, hungry babies, who have nor stayed babies for long.  I once again set the live trap, baited with a waffle, which my son said would not be eaten unless it had syrup on it.  Well, he was wrong.  I had trapped the mother groundhog and proceeded to call all my friends to brag about my accomplishment.  I got my camera so I could have pictures to post on Facebook, only to find the creature GONE.  A jail break had occurred.  But maybe, mom-groundhog was fed up because I have not seen her since, leaving me with two fast growing youths.  Just so you know what I am dealing with…did you know a groundhog can move 700 pounds of earth to create his 20-40 foot long , 5 foot deep burrow which has multiple chambers and  two, sometimes three entrances?  They will eat up to 8 pounds of vegetables and greens a day….two groundhogs mean 16 pounds.  They are the largest member of the squirrel family and are sometimes called whistle pigs, a name earned because of the loud whistle to alert other groundhogs of danger.  They can live for 3-6 years in the wild. 
I want to thank readers who have called or stopped by with tips.  We are trying them all from peanut butter, to chewing gum to motor oil.  But once again, I may have my hopes up.  Two mornings in a row I saw a coyote cruise through the garden area.  I never thought I would be so happy to see a dangerous carnivore trot through my back yard (my children are big enough now that they would not be easy pickings).  This creature was so silent, my two labs never even knew he was back there, and they bark at anything within a half mile of their fence.  So I am keeping my fingers crossed and all my tips handy.
And if all else fails, I have hung this picture, found in an outhouse, hoping that even the groundhog has some taste and moves out!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My Birthday Is This Month.

      Over the years,I have recived so many wonderful gifts from my children, that I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite, but one stands out in it’s uniquness.  Several years ago, when my oldest daughter was nine years old, she memorized a poem as my gift and because we are in the nursery business, she chose Trees by Joyce Kilmer.   I would hear her in her room every evening practicing and getting a little further each day.  I would sometimes hear the frustration in her voice through the floor, but she stayed with it.  On the day of my birthday, she appeared in my room at sunrise,with her hands clasped  tightly together and her eyes shining with anticipation.  She recited the poem to me, hardly taking a breath, as if it were one long sentence, but it was the most beautiful poem I had ever heard.  So in honor of my birthday, here is Trees by Joyce Kilmer:

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Victory Tastes Like A Red Ripe Tomato

In conversation with friends, I usually mention how the only vegetables I can get my son to eat are French Fries and the tomatoes in spaghetti sauce.  The argument starts when my son informs me that a tomato is technically a fruit.  Well , seeing how I just picked the first summer tomato from my VEGETABLE garden , I’ll take on my son’s theory.  You may say tomayto and I may say tomahto, but the Supreme Court says vegetable.  In 1883 the United States Congress passed the Tariff Act which imposed a 10% tariff on imported vegetables but no tariff on imported fruits.  Tomato importer, John Nix, argued that tomatoes where a fruit, thus, no tariff should apply.  The case of Nix vs Hedden came before the Supreme Court in 1893.  The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that for tax purposes, the tomato should be classified based on the way it was used.  The court acknowledged that while, botanically, a tomato is a fruit, legally it is not because it is generally consumed with the main course of a meal, not as a dessert.  I know this is a minor victory on my part and will probably be lost on my son, but I’ll take it.  And victory is best served, thickly sliced with a spoonful of cottage cheese on top. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

If I were lost on a deserted Island and could only have one plant........

 it would be this one. Nepata Walker's Low.  If you do not have this plant, you need to seriously ask yourself why not.  I’ll give you the top 9 reasons to have Nepata Walker’s Low (9 because Letterman has cornered the market on the Top Ten List)

        9   Starts blooming early and continues all summer
        8   Beautiful lavender colored spikes
        7    Reminds you of lavender but without the hassle
        6    Aromatic foliage
        5    Attracts bees
        4    Attracts butterflies
        3   Attracts people (constantly asked about it)
        2   Tolerates full, hot sun
        1   Give it a haircut in early summer and be rewarded with fresh
  If this picture looks familiar...just look up.  It's my blog banner.

I can go out in the evening and find bees sleeping on the flowers, probably waking up the next morning with a pollen hangover and wondering where they left their keys.
Nepata is also known as catmint (not catnip).  I have two cats and they couldn’t care less about this plant.  It performs best in full sun and has beautiful blue-green foliage which releases a scent when brushed against.  Walkers Low is named for a garden in England not its growth habit, as it reaches a 3’ height and spread.  So after reading this I’m sure you are asking yourself, ‘Why don’t I have this plant?’

Thursday, June 2, 2011

And The Battle Begins!

           I have a groundhog!  Not by choice and I need to get rid of him. 
I planted thirty tomato plants this spring and the varmint proceeded to go down the rows eating the tops.  I set out a live trap only to catch an, EWWWW, opossum, which was probably laughed at by the wicked beast as he headed to my garden to devour my squash plants. 
 I then erected a scarecrow, sporting a plaid shirt and proudly displaying a gourd head which I painted a face on and added some funky yarn hair to.  My daughter named her Ugly Betty, then soon changed it to Pretty Pathetic, and if she doesn’t soon do her job, she will be renamed to Utterly Useless.  I have hung tin pie plates from her arms and she is beginning to look like a vagrant. 

This marauding thief lives under the shed which backs up to my garden.  As they say in real estate…Location, Location, Location.  As I pass the shed in the utility vehicle I always blow the horn just to tic him off.  I also throw rocks at the side of the shed or hit it with the shovel.  I get the feeling he finds me as amusing as that trapped opossum.  Someone told me to fill glass gallon jugs with water and place them around the garden.  The rascal sees his reflection and, apparently thinking it's another animal, runs away.  If only it were that simple.  I've been told to use mothballs or have the men of the house 'mark their territory' around the hole.  I just continue to wage my personal battle against this critter and attempt to make his life miserable.  But I have not actually seen him for about a week and a half.  Could I be so lucky that he got caught up in the Rapture or maybe the fox that killed my neighbor's chickens needed something more substantial.  Either way works for me.