Last week the usual garden inspection turned up a massacre in the broccoli patch. My luck had run out and the rabbits had finally found the tender lettuce and cole crops… just when they were finally settling in. All the tender lush growth from the cool, damp weather has been nipped back, and I’m left with these leafless stalks.
What a setback! Of course it’s my own fault since even with the local stray cats, rabbits are still in and out of the garden, but I like to think the bunnies won’t take advantage of me and a nibble here and there is no big deal….. so I didn’t bother with a fence. That of course changed, and the fence is up again.
Something was different though. The onslaught of damage was pretty severe for a stray rabbit finding a tender bit of broccoli, and the lettuce and cauliflower were also sampled. That’s a lot of nibbling for one or two rabbits on one or two nights. I began to wonder if a groundhog had returned….. a little plant leveling, bulldozing, little garden pig, who eats everything in sight…. but no, the damage wasn’t that bad.
I found my answer the next morning. Two young bucks were on the other side of the fence plotting their return. I knew they were around -three weeks ago a doe bounded over the fence while the kids and I were playing back there- but now I know they’re moving in. Deer are something I don’t want. Where are all the hunters when you need them?
Figures they would go straight for the broccoli and lettuce, they’re two of the only vegetables I actually eat. Why couldn’t they start with the chard?
We’re not exactly country around here, but we do have our share of wildlife drama. Snakes and toads come and go, bugs abound, and all kinds of birds stop by to eat and drink and sometimes set up house. I finally found the tiny field sparrow nest (or at least I think that’s what they are) in the small blue spruce by the sandbox. Two chicks have hatched and it amuses me that they spring to life begging for food the second I tap the nest.
I’m not a good nest finder, and the only reason I found this one (after three tries -and the spruce is barely three feet around!) is that I noticed a female cowbird staking out the bush. Cowbirds will sneak in and remove an egg from an unguarded nest and replace it with one of their own, and this is what they did here. When I found the nest there were two white speckled eggs alongside the three blue speckled. I may or may not have removed the cowbird eggs.
Cowbirds are a native species and as such are protected under the Migratory Bird Act, so tampering with their eggs would be illegal…. but I also may at times roll through stop signs and push the speed limit, so I’m not sure where this puts me on the spectrum of criminal activity. All I’ll add is that cowbird chicks will usually outgrow their nestmates and end up displacing them, so I’m glad these parents won’t be stuffing food into a chick which grows to be twice their size.
Another thing which borders on illegal is the number of weeds and out of control plantings in this wanna-be iris border. It’s almost criminal how the campanula took over and the daisies moved in…. not to mention the clover.
The iris bed is just one of many yet-to-be-done projects. I’m still getting the last of the seedling out from under the glow lights in the garage, and the overwintered geraniums are still sitting outside the garage, making quite the colorful accent on the driveway 🙂
All in due time they say, but I suspect due time might have passed along with the summer solstice. Instead of humming along, the garden is still taking form. Someday I hope to have things together but I suspect I just might not be that kind of gardener. It would help if a simple planting up of the deck pots didn’t turn into a table refinishing, light fixture replacing, porch chair repainting, trim rebuilding… .kind of project, but such is life!
Enjoy the first days of summer 🙂