Well, this was supposed to be my lovely garden update… But, instead, I have to report on my brand new arch-nemesis. I suppose, if every good story needs a hero, (me obviously) then it must also have a villain. And so, this week I met mine. I must admit, that of all the things I expected to have problems with, bears, coyotes, foxes, raccoons, badgers, wolverines, snakes… the list goes on. The last thing I expect was to start a war with something small, cute, fluffy and in my current opinion, made entirely of pure evil.
The First Sign of Destruction
When I decided to plant lettuce in the garden my mom told me she never bothers to plant lettuce because the grasshoppers always eat it. Well, I was confident I could control the grasshoppers. We have a HUGE lizard population and a whole bunch of Red-Breasted Robins and other grasshopper-eating birds that spend each morning and evening patrolling our garden.
I was watching carefully though and the first day I harvested lettuce I was thrilled to report that there was not one single grasshopper bite to be found. So, you can imagine my horror when I went out the next day and the lettuce was simply gone!
My first thought was that I was dealing with a bunny (if you’re a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, then you know that it is ALWAYS bunnies) so I spent some time that weekend shoring up the larger holes in the lower fence and felt fairly confident that the trouble was over. It’s leaf lettuce, not head lettuce, so it will grow back in a few weeks. No harm done.
But no, the next morning I came out to find that I had five Rainbow Chard plants instead of six. Now, I’m pissed. A lot, and I do mean a lot of time and money went into this garden and I didn’t do it cause I wanted the wildlife to have a buffet. So I began working by the back window so I could catch my culprit.
About an hour later my diligence was rewarded. I looked up to see the fattest squirrel I’ve ever encountered happily munching away on the few apricots that survived the frost. I went running after the little bastard, but of course, my fencing was in no way designed to stop a squirrel. As I headed back towards the gate, I also realized that he had eaten chard plant number two.
But, now that I knew who my culprit was, I could find a way to stop him. I was sure of it, so I set to doing what I do best. I Googled “keep squirrels out of the garden.” I was rewarded with the “humane” answer of coating the plants in chili powder. I also had my lovely husband complete the new garden gate.
Again I felt confident in our imminent success. But, later that afternoon I looked out, and there he was again! Finding the tender lettuce and chard covered in chili, the little shit ate all of my violets. His official title was changed from “That Damn Squirrel” to “Arch Nemesis” and I was done with “humane.” I told Daniel I needed a BB Gun. He was kind enough to get me one immediately.
The Gun in Garden Shed
I spent the next day watching diligently for the return and my nemesis and sure enough, he climbed up over the gate and let himself back in mid-afternoon. But I was armed, ready, and waiting. I went tearing after him armed with my trusty BB gun. He got caught up in the netting, I took aim and I fired. And, I missed. Dirt went flying and there he was caught in the netting spitting out everything he had stored in his cheeks as if to say “okay, okay, I’m sorry, you can have it back.” By the time I got the gun reloaded, he had managed to get himself free of the netting. So, for now, he lives to tell the tale and he hasn’t been back today.
You Know Life has Changed When…
A few years ago I was more likely to be found all dolled up and heading for a celebrity photo shoot, or hanging out at Hollywood after-parties. These days I can be found wearing overalls with boots, fixing fence lines, cleaning chicken poop, and packing a (BB) gun in the garden!
I knew my life was forever altered a few weeks ago when bright and early on a Saturday morning I announced “I’m gonna let the chickens out then fix a hole in the fence line.” A far cry from “I’m heading to the mall.”
As we settle into the journey moving us from homeowners to homesteaders, I must admit, I fit better in this skin than I did in the old one. Life is peaceful on our mountain top and instead of the rat race, I have a squirrel race to win. For today, my nemesis lives on, but each day I become better at this whole homesteading thing, and one of these days my aim is gonna improve!
As you’ve started on your homesteading journey did you have any unexpected issues arise with the local wildlife? Tell us all about it in the comments below! And, as always, until next time,