–With great difficulty, in my case. Despite all the tender loving care I can muster, dutifully picking weeds and providing a veritable feast of water and plant food at demand, hardly a single plant has yet been willing to share its fruit. The long, scraggly vine climbing up wire trellises will pop out a tiny pod of snowpeas every now and then, but for the most part remains rebellious like its peers. My miraculous strawberries showed great possibilities early on, surprising everyone by the fact that they even showed up, but they seem to have given up the ghost early, finishing off their season without so much as a peep, let alone a bang. Perhaps a total of three ruby red jewels ever made it into my mouth before they too stood me up on every date I planned, and it wasn’t long before we were both tired of each other. Truly, I shouldn’t be surprised- And all things considered, this was one of my best years in gardening! Still I return to stand guard of my motley crew of greenery, fenced in and protected from the “wild” creatures looking for an easy snack. This annual battle has not come to an end, since there are many plants that have yet to arrive at the party.
Speaking of which, I realized only a day or two ago that the carrot seeds that were tucked away so many months ago might be developing into something more substantial. Since they had been planted early on, it wasn’t entirely unreasonable to hope for decently sized tubers about now, so I determined it was high time to unearth those treasures and accept whatever might be found, be it baby carrots or mutant 10-pounders. Gingerly moving handfuls of soil away from the garden floor, a good 10 minutes passed before a single, decrepit old root was to be found. What happened to my carrots? The seeds were brand new, they were treated to plenty of sun and food… But they hadn’t just failed to thrive, they had disappeared altogether! Mourning the mysterious loss of yet another crop, it was then that some motion in the corner of the garden caught my eye.
Scrabbling about quietly, an uninvited guest appeared to be going through the same motions as I had just a moment ago, digging through clods of dirt and errant weeds, but to much greater success. Right before my eyes, a bright orange root found its way into this lucky scavenger’s arms! Alarmed that this thief had made it past my meticulous fencing and pest-proofing, it was the most I could do to contain the obscenities waiting to hurl themselves at this intruder with all the force of a machine gun. I couldn’t, however, prevent the indignant shriek that was stifled in my throat, and instantly the tiny beast whipped around to locate the commotion.
Caught red-handed, the culprit clutched his find closely, unwilling to surrender the delicious tuber. I could feel my pulse quicken as I approached, livid that all of my dear carrots had fallen prey to this despicable, malicious, disgusting, cheating…
…Adorable baby bunny. With wide eyes and the most innocent smile, how could I possibly look into that face and remain angry? As much as I would love to taste the fruits of my labor, I simply couldn’t bring myself to snatch the carrot out of those tiny paws. Sensing that the danger had passed, the rabbit in question gathered up his confidence and quickly hopped away, thumping across the soft earth and jumping gracefully through an inconspicuous opening in the fence. At least this led me to the source of the problem, so that now I can fix the gap without inviting other hungry critters in…. I just wish this guy would have shared!