This is the story of sweet girl, her bountiful garden, and the precious critter that stole her heart. Scratch that! This is the story of a working mother who scraped together every possible once of "free" time to till, seed, weed, and water the vegetable garden that she dreamed about over a very long, cold, and dreary winter. It is the story of a ferocious animal (OK, I've been reading too many children's stories), make that annoying animal that took it all away.
So last year, my loving husband cleared a new area in our yard that had been filled with Japanese Rose, Bittersweet, Artemisia, and every other kind of invasive weed you can think of, in order to give me a larger and more bountiful garden. Admittedly, I am new to vegetable gardening and passionate about growing food, so my eyes absolutely lit up at the thought of more tomatoes, squash, beans, kale!, and lettuce than what I had previously been able to grow.
So, I tilled, I raked soil and compost, I seeded and watered, and watched with delight as those seeds magically turned into plants that I knew would feed my family all summer long. I had more vegetables than I knew what to do with. I was almost dancing around the garden --well, I probably was-- as I picked from this plant, or snipped from that one. I happily made bags of food to give to our family and employees and of course, posted a few pictures on Facebook to show how proud I was.
And then, I saw it. A sign of something bigger to come. A bite taken from a winter squash that I was just about to harvest. Upon closer examination, I could see little teeth marks and I wondered, do rabbits do this? And as if answering my question, I caught a blur of brown fur from the corner of my eyes dart through the wildflowers surrounding the garden. Hmmm, better go investigate, I thought.
I followed the path I thought the critter had taken and then I found it. My heart sank. My head dropped. My shoulders slumped. Not more than 10 feet from my garden, a hole the diameter of a soccer ball (OK, maybe a bit smaller) had been dug. A tunnel had been created. And while I did my best to fill it with stones (it was the most humane think I could think of), I knew my garden would never be the same.
To be Continued...