Thursday, July 16, 2009

“Wotton Wabbit”

Summary of Heidi’s Garden Experience in 7 Chapters

Chapter 1: Fred builds Heidi raised garden and fills it with road-quality dirt.

Chapter 2: Heidi plants vegetable/fruit garden.

Chapter 3: Heidi fusses over garden.

Chapter 4: Garden gets frost and dies

Chapter 5: Heidi plants new vegetable/fruit garden.

Chapter 6: Heidi obsesses over negligible growth.

Chapter 7: Heidi fertilizes and appeals to “Guardian Garden Spirits” using a “Garden Grow” tribal dance.

Now that I have a wonderful, lush, healthy garden, stocked with ten tomato plants, gigantic squash, 50 white onions, cucumbers, green beans, peppers and strawberries, I find the project relaxing and satisfying. I take a few moments each morning to just gaze at it proudly out my deck door. Sometimes I walk around it, inspecting each plant and caressing its leaves.

Then I saw him.

Him, being a fat grey rabbit sitting in the middle of my onion patch. In the instant I realized an animal had invaded that which I’d slaved over, worried about and tenderly watered, I understood every “Elmer Fudd-itude” ever spoken. I previously knew Mr. McGregor of the “Peter Rabbit” book to be a villain. Suddenly, Mr. McGregor and I were kindred. That rabbit must be punished.

Filled with hatred, eyes narrowed, murderous heart beating, I ran at it, hoping to inflict such a fright that he would never dare step foot on my land again. What’s more, I intended to make SUCH an impression that he would thump out a message to his 10,000 offspring that the “Heidi Smorgasbord” was off limits.

Apparently, I’m not as imposing as I thought I was, for he sat there, staring in each direction like Marty Feldman, chewing. He must have surmised from the tacked, webbed-deer fence how hard it would be for me to actually lay my hands on him. And he was enjoying his protection immensely. The closer I got to the varmint, however, the wider his eyes opened. Suddenly he jumped up and ran at the webbing, slipped down and hid under a nearby evergreen.

Investigating the damage, I saw on the garden floor, multiple bunny “butt prints,” the nibbled ends of onion and dozens of strawberry stems with no more strawberries on them.

How to protect against another probable visit would take some thought. The first thing I did was station my reluctant dog as a guard. Jasmine, sensing her function, pulled her tail so tightly underneath her that it disappeared altogether. A bunny would only need blow at her to send her into orbit. The second thing I did was reinforce the perimeter. But, the harder I made it for a rabbit to get in, the harder I made it for me to get in. Soon...I’d have to burrow under it myself, just to harvest my crops.

Walking around swinging a rabbit’s foot on a chain several times a day, or placing a few rabbit’s feet periodically along the garden wall as a warning were a few rejected ideas. Posting a picture of a rabbit with a red circle and a line through it made some sense. So did putting a mirror around the bottom, to frighten him with his own reflection (assuming, of course, that he didn’t already know what he looked like).

Somewhere, that long-eared “Vegetable Thief” is enjoying my stress...and plotting his return.

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