SHARING THE HARVEST
June 18, 2011 § Leave a comment
Lisa has a knack for growing all manner of things. Her patio garden of potted plants yields up a delicious variety of produce that finds its way into our grateful kitchen. This summer we are enjoying tomatoes and peppers galore, as well as the usual herbs. At the end of the summer we will again have a bumper crop of juicy lemons.
This year we have been sharing the harvest, but not with gladsome hearts.
You see, our little patio garden is being pillaged by 2 quarreling mockingbirds (tempting to kill them, but such is proscribed here in the south), a chipmunk with an attitude of entitlement, a sassy squirrel, and a bitchy wren who scolds as she is run off. These little monsters gobble holes into the tomatoes and even like to nibble on the hot cherry peppers. The netting spread over to ward them off has only set them a challenge to which they have gamely risen. This afternoon I fought hundred-degree heat to shoo most of the characters away — twice. One of the mockingbirds, the chipmunk and the wren had all gotten underneath the netting and were feasting away on the two biggest, ripest tomatoes. Ruined. I had to release the insanely panicked mockingbird from his frantic prison in the net — and again five minutes later. The wren and the munk escaped unhampered, but the wren stuck around long enough to scold me stridently as I labored to loose the mocker.
The netting is now rearranged and more secure. My reassuring, “Don’t worry, they won’t want to fight this netting,” proved to be foolishly wrong.
I did set up a kind of a bird bath nearby, with fresh water, based on the theory that the little critters are actually thirsty in this miserable heat. We’ll see whether that gives some relief from the onslaught.
So it’s man against nature. Mano a mano. Will we prove to be able to outsmart these creatures? Stay tuned.
Ironically, just last week, there was another shared harvest. Our beautiful Easter-yellow daylillies bloomed in the front yard, down by the street. I noted how the dozen or so blooms trumpeted their beauty in the morning light as I left the driveway on the way to the court house. When I returned home that evening, alas, someone had picked them all, right from our yard. The lovely blooms graced someone else’s table, I suppose.
Now I am not sure of the etiquette that is involved here. On the one hand, one could argue that they are God’s gift to us for all to enjoy. If that’s so, why does the person who picked them get to enjoy them selfishly? Why not leave them there by the curb for all to smile on? And on the other hand, it’s my property, dammit. Where do you get the nerve to come on my property and pick my (or God’s) flowers?
Oh, well, I am over it. Maybe the flower-picker really needed those blooms more than I did. I’ll leave it at that.
The flowers did remind me of an incident that happened up the street several years ago. The guy is in his house at dusk and notices two women digging in his garden where he had planted many perennials and bulbs. He walks down the sloping driveway and greets the two women who are cordial, but intent on their task. One is snipping flowers and the other is digging up bulbs. He asks them to stop and the women are indignant. How dare he. The snipper says she is giving an engagement party for some young friends of the family and needs these flowers. Her companion points out that the daylillies need dividing anyway, and she is merely taking some of the division. All well and good, he says, but I want you off my property and don’t come back and molest my flower bed, he says. The women leave in a huff, incredulous at his insensitivity and crass indifference to their sense of entitlement.
When he told me who the women were, I knew one of them quite well, as I had represented her in a divorce a few years before. The other I knew in passing. Either woman could have whipped out a check and bought the guy’s house and flowers without any pinch in their budgets. I wonder whether they were aware that we now have florist shops that more or less eliminate the need to shop in other people’s yards for your flower needs.
And so we march into summer, which begins Monday. Ouch. Its’s not even summer yet and it’s already hot as hades. The last summer I remember like this was 2005 — the summer of Katrina.
But tomatoes like it hot, right? And mockingbirds, squirrels, wrens and chipmunks like tomatoes. Anybody got a recipe for mockingbird, wren, squirrel and chipmunk fricasee … with tomato?