Tuesday, June 20, 2006

You Gotta Be Kidding Me...

Before I even could plant them...



... the groundhog got to my cauliflower and broccoli. The fiend!

The groundhog and I have a longstanding war, exchanging insults all the time. Here is a post I posted to a mailing list a few years ago, to give you some background:

Groundhog Stew

I am going to give up my vegetarian lifestyle. Any good recipes for groundhog? Do you think the kids would notice if I substituted groundhog in "chicken" nuggets?

This groundhog has been a challenge in my garden for the last few years. I used to plant stuff in the backyard, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, pumpkin, and be so happy when they started growing. And then the groundhog happened to them. He didn't like peppers or tomatoes, but he LOVED the squashy types of plants. He would wait till the plants were a few inches high, and then come and eat all the leaves, leaving the little stems behind. I would walk into my garden area and he would run away with a guilty grin on its face... That was only the start though...

This year we read a wonderful picture book about a sunflower house. The idyllic 'sow sunfower seeds, watch them grow, and have tons of fun in your sunflower house' kind of story. Jane was mesmerized by it and begged me to have our own sunflower house. I was happy to oblige.

We spent a day digging and sowing, she was so enthousiastic and looking forward to seeing her house grow. We did sunflowers, and morning glories, to climb in between them. After a week the seedlings emerged, and from that day on, I went into my backyard every day, muttering 'Please, please, please, PLEASE!!!!!! Let the groundhog not have eaten her sunflower house!!!' It has been eating my cucumbers, my celery, my broccoli, my parsley, and my peas, but I care a lot less about them than Jane does about her sunflower house.

Things seemed to be going well. I even planted a patch of sunflowers not too far away from the house, figuring that he would eat those first, because they were closer together, and easier to eat.

Also, I got coyote pee, and put that in a little bottle in between the sunflowers of the sunflower house. The girls found the bottle, and poured it over their hands before they came in to ask me what it was....
So I had to refill it from my BIG bottle of coyote pee. I am wondering what visitors will think when they see this in my kitchen window, where it somehow ended up being.

Then last week, I did my normal muttering and praying, and got greeted by a sunflower house with a mixture of seedlings, and stems... He had eaten about 1/4 of the sunflowers... I cursed him and transplanted some other sunflowers into the empty spots. I hoped he would not be back. He hadn't been close to the coyote pee, so I even contemplated getting more bottles of it, but life got in the way. He totally ignored his own sunflower patch BTW.

A few days ago, he came back... Ate 3/4 of the house this time!!! Including the sunflowers just 1 inch away from the coyote pee! So much for thinking that that would work... Ignored the other sunflower patch yet again.

Yesterday we did rock painting with our homeschool group. Jane painted a sunflower and a seed on some rocks. When we came home yesterday, she went over to the sunflower house, and put the sunflower rock, and the giant seed in between the sunflowers (or should I say the remaining sunflower stems?...) Then she told me 'Now the groundhog will come and try to eat this sunflower and he will break his teeth!!!'

Tara told me 'That book about the sunflower house was totally wrong!!!' I asked her why it was wrong.
'They left out the groundhog!!!!!!!!!' LOL

Today, I got cheap plastic fencing at Walmart, and will try to put that around the house. It is not heavy, and I am not sure whether it will work against a determined groundhog, but at least it gives me the feeling that I am DOING something! I hope that it will be enough of a trouble, that he will prefer to eat the pea plants from my pea teepee instead. I can hope, right?

I asked two of my favorite, organic farmer friends, what they do about groundhogs. Hoping for a magical cure, like 'plant GroundhogBane close to your garden and they will avoid it'. I was a bit disappointed when the first one said 'Shoot them' and the second one said 'Bomb them'...

I am not in favor of guns and have been vegetarian for a while. But at this point I am ready to make an exception to both of those principles! We'll have groundhogstew for dinner tomorrow night!

Karen


A good friend gave me some new cauliflower, which I planted right away. Just in time for Tim to tell me, excitedly, the next day 'I saw the groundhog with three babies!!!!'

Sigh.

1 comment:

Shel said...

Mmmm, groundhog nuggets sound dee-licious;-) J/K from another vegetarian. Sorry about mr. groundhog causing problems...that would drive me nuts too!