Some of you read my blog religiously and you know that I have been “troubled” by wildlife in my suburban environment. If you’re new, you can read about it here.
Now that I’ve lived here for a year, I’ve been able to witness a whole Noah’s ark of troubling animals marching around my yard. Sometimes they pass my windows two by two, sometimes in a roving gang, and sometimes alone. They prance around, they taunt me, and then they slip into my mind where they live “rent free,” as Handy so gently puts it.
There is Alvin and his chipmunks. Those jerks drill holes in my lawn and tunnel through the rock garden.
Then there are squirrels. Their feeble brains are so scattered that all I have to do is slam the back door once and they jump up on command and run for the hills. It’s kind of funny, actually.
About a month ago, Handy and I saw three deer in the gully behind the house. They were young and stupid and they stared at me blankly as I lectured them about things like property rights and privacy. I told them that we weren’t going to have any kind of relationship and I told them to look deep into my eyes, because “I mean it.” It wasn’t until I gave them my best Meet the Parents signal for “I’m watching you” and clapped my hands that they flagged and went bounding off up the hill and along the walking path. Maybe they were headed for the Big Dipper to get an ice cream cone.
Last week, I saw a raccoon shambling along behind my shed. I surprised him and he was curious, so he doubled back by the compost bin and peeped his head around the edge of the shed. He looked directly at me and I said “what are you doing? Don’t sit there staring at me! Beat it!” I’ll admit, the little (ahem) bandit did touch my heart.
For one brief minute.
Sure, there are insects, too, and while their infinite presence would bore you, let me catalogue them. There are ladybugs, wasps, and tiny ants. Fortunately, no flies this year to remind me of my dorm room in college. Indeed, the little-known Androscoggin Hall fly infestation targeted the fourth floor for a brief period in 1985 and I spent more than a few hours chasing them off the ceiling with a cigarette lighter in one hand and a Virginia Slims Light Ultra Menthol in the other.
Where do they come from?
The bullfrogs and crickets provide the tender “white noise” of the evening; bless their hearts.
Yesterday’s animal kingdom travesty was the arrival of the baby woodchucks; a gang of four, if you will. They were skittish but brave and they’d pop their heads out from under the shed to see if I had anything to tell them. I threw my best Old Testament Moses at them.
“In due time, your foot shall slip. Your day of disaster is at hand!”
Their eyes grew wide and then they’d resume dining upon my lawn, slowly making their way towards the house and the gardens. I think they’re currently feasting on the spinners and “chain thing-eys” that have been falling annoyingly from the trees and into my gardens and gutters for the last two weeks.
I managed to keep them at bay with intermittent slamming doors and then I vaguely remembered an episode of The Drew Carey Show involving Van Halen’s song “Panama.” I put my radio in the shed, tuned into Maine’s “rock and roll blimp,” and let the good time roll.
Tom Petty seemed to be especially effective. “Yer So Bad.”
By dinner, I was exhausted and texted Handy as much:
“You have to help me with the creatures. I’m going to lose my mind before Moxie.”
Then I zoomed off to the beauty salon in an attempt at “doing something nice for myself.”
Long time readers must be scratching their heads right about now. They’re wondering how this lady writer, whose blog began as the quest to have a little lettuce farm, now sounds like Eva Gabor in Green Acres. “Darling, I love you but give me Park Avenue.”
That’s the thing about life. You don’t “know” how life on a suburban lettuce farm rolls until you actually start living it. Of course, you can “like” pictures of compost piles on Facebook, “share” ideas on how to build a vertical garden out of an old pallet from the dump, and you can spend hours and hours reading about a different life. I promise you, it will not be like that picture you saw on Pinterest.
Handy said I needed a good night’s sleep and he promised to bring some answers (and some dinner leftovers) today. I’m confident he will deliver.
And please, Uncle Bob, don’t give me that song and dance about “all the creatures have to eat.” You don’t have woodchucks in your yard.
I know that back in the day, Opa gave hunters (and men with guns) permission to shoot woodchucks on The Farm. I remember guys “smoking them” out of their holes and “popping” them–I must have been 7 or 8 at the time. I don’t recall being traumatized.
What do guys like Jim Gerritsen and Ben Hewitt do about their vermin? I’m sure they’re not making pets of them.
I’m guessing Google doesn’t have an app for this situation.
Good idea! Ask a farmer!!