Lost Arts studio

A lot of the fiber arts I enjoy are things like tatting, netmaking, chair caning, and even weaving, where people will come up to me when I demonstrate and solemnly tell me, "That's a lost art."

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Location: SW Outer Nowhere, Michigan, United States

On the Internet, nobody knows you're a chicken. (With apologies to Peter Steiner.)

23 March 2007

Uh-oh, Here Comes Trouble!

If you're a gardener, this guy is trouble: Marmota monax, the ground hog or wood chuck. When he stands on his hind feet, he looks like a little man in an extremely baggy fur suit. Unfortunately, groundhogs are extremely hungry vegetarians, and this one has burrowed up right next to my garden.

Gardening is one of those pursuits that people who don't do it regard as peaceful and serene. In real life, it's full of rage and angst. No one feels as angry as a gardener who has coaxed tiny, hard seeds, like little specks of gravel, into big lush plants, and who then finds little gnawed-down nubs sticking out of the ground.

And the garden you see is never the one that was in the gardener's head. Maybe there were more flowers, maybe there were herbs, maybe there were bushel-baskets full of tomatoes in the garden in the gardener's head. The garden in real life always falls short, sometimes by a little, sometimes by a lot. Some years the peppers get started late, or not at all. Some years the peppers are great but the lilacs get a mysterious disease.

The weather doesn't co-operate, the plants outgrow their alloted space or stay two inches high all season, insects descend and eat the whole planting.

Gardening is full of lessons: for one thing, unlike tests in high school, a garden does not permit "cramming". It can't be neglected for months and then suddenly be planted, watered, and poof! yield a crop overnight. Gardening, like exercising, is incremental. Poking seeds into the dirt or pulling out weeds might only take five minutes, but those five minutes must be put in within the appropriate time frame.

(And now that I'm done being philosophical, I better go put in my five minutes getting out the seeds I need to start this weekend.)

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Blogger Vicki said...

Oh, no! We've had trouble with them too. A mother with babies moved in under a neighbors shed and ate our garden and 2 others nearby. We tried fencing the whole garden and they just dug under the fence to get in. We discovered that making wire cages that completely cover squash, tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, etc. will protect them. They still eat anything they can reach. They don't bother peppers or potatoes, but most anything else they will eat. Not just vegetables but even the plants that I thought were poisonous!

11:19 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

Personally, I think groundhogs are adorable, but I've also seen the world of hurt they can do, not only to gardens, but to fields of corn. (An acre and a half... gone... unreal.)

My in-laws had a run-in with a groundhog last year - he was particularly fond of the delphiniums and echinasia - and when the pest guy told them to lace apples with arsenic and drop them down the groundhog's hole, they did.

The groundhog threw them back.

Eventually one of the neighborhood dogs caught up with him. There was much rejoicing.

11:35 AM  

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