Monday, August 1, 2011

Buster's at it Again

Yes, I decided it would be prudent for me to name him -- the varmint who's sampling my garden delicacies, that is. When I returned, long-faced, from checking my garden again this morning, I reported my most recent losses to my son and he said, "You'll have to get a trap," My son is not unkind-- I'm sure he hadn't even yet considered what trapping an animal would mean. He, like my husband, sees a problem and fixes it, without thinking it through, in this case. I saw my son's knee-jerk response as a perfect example of the difference between how vegans think and how non-vegans think. To eat an animal without feeling bad about it, one has to mentally disconnect the animal from the meat. I can't think that way. I thanked my son for the suggestion, but told him I would not be harming any wildlife, even in defense of my garden. "Oh, of course not," he said, finally getting it.

Considering my son's response, I had to take responsibility for the potentially karmically devastating evil thoughts I had been sending Buster's way, and place them in the proper context. It is not Buster's fault that I placed a smorgasbord along his nightly route. Buster and I will have to learn to live with one another for a while, I guess. Heck, it's not such a stretch. I am already eating after him, carefully cutting out the raccoon-mouth-shaped bite marks from two lovely, large ripe tomatoes, and then slicing them up for myself. My kids shuddered to see me eating after vermin, but they don't know Buster like I know Buster. Seriously, I feel much more peaceful about Buster now that he has more of a persona, at least in my own little mind.

Here is what Buster has been up to lately. Remember how I planted marigolds all around and in between my garden plants, and thus had success this year in avoiding insect trouble? Well, Buster likes marigolds too. That's one in the photo above after he dined upon it. All of the marigolds look like that now.

Here is something that makes me sad. Remember how I praised my wonderful, hardy and innovative Chinese long bean vines? Well, Buster likes the long bean vines too. Not the beans, just the vines. This is the bottom of my bean trellis. There used to be five vines. Buster ate all of them but one, right down to the soil. Of course he left the thicket of vines winding all around above, so I will get to enjoy unravelling the rotting mess mixed in with the one live vine. Some of the vines are obviously beginning to die. You can see the difference between the healthy one and the others here:

See? Verdant and perky vs. pale and floppy.

On the other hand, Buster seems to have no interest in the eggplants. I just harvested four Hansel eggplants and one Ichiban and made an amazing Eggplant Chana Masala from Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Life, and the very next day I found the three plants covered with more young eggplants.

Here's the originally eviscerated pepper plant, bravely fighting for its life with some fresh new foliage.

This bright blossom on the lone live bean vine makes me smile.

I decided to do what I can for the garden survivors, without hurting Buster. I set up a solar panel powered sonic spike. The spike vibrates like a little shock every couple of minutes. Animals are supposed to hate it. I can see where this would work, but am not convinced there will be enough sun to keep the spike fully powered overnight, which is when Buster does his thing. I will let you know.

Are any more of you out there playing Mr. McGregor to Peter Rabbit or other furry friends? What is your solution?

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