Friday 02 Dec 2016

Varments
Jennifer Flaten

I confess I did something very silly, a few weeks ago. In a moment of spring fever, I ventured outside and did some gardening.

I know, I know, nice weather in early April is only a tease. It never lasts, but I am weak and easily swayed by sunshine. All it took was a tiny hint of warmth and I gave in to the siren call of spring.

Well, who wouldn't? Especially, if you are a gardener, as am I, and you spent a long, long, did I mention Wisconsin-cold winter riffling through various seed and gardening publications. I did.

If I spent one more moment I was positive I would go insane, okay, I would go slightly more insane. I was itching to do something outside-something that didn't involve heaving snow from point A to point B.

Of course, deep in my heart I knew that Mother Nature was only taunting us with the nice weather. We enjoyed a few days of blue skies and warm sunshine only to have it cruelly yanked away, replaced with gray skies and a damp wind-you know seasonal weather.

Is anyone as gullible as a gardener? As a gardener, I feel confident saying no, no there isn't, the moment the sunshine reveals even a tiny patch of dirt we are outside digging in it.

Yep, the minute the mercury climbed above 60 degrees, I donned my gardening gloves and headed for the yard brandishing my trowel.

After examining all the plants in the flowerbed, I gleefully hopped in the car for a trip to the garden center.

I returned from the garden center with oodles of stuff and in my few moments of spring madness, I managed to plant a large amount of bulbs and quite a few rows of seeds.

A big mistake as it turns out, not because of the change in weather, I am sure both seeds and bulbs are now genetically enhanced to survive a slight drop in temperature, no my problem is not weather related mine is varmint related.

No doubt, the bulbs would have survived if only they'd had the chance. Unfortunately, the scourge of the urban gardener struck. Yes, my garden suffered great SRD-squirrel related damage.

My squirrel, well, he fancies himself a master gardener. Apparently, he took umbrage with my bulb placement. In retaliation, he dug up several bulbs and in a move learned from the Godfather, he left them lying right in the flowerbed for me to discover.

I can only assume the other bulbs became squirrel snacks. I am not willing to dig up the garden to find out. Why, oh why, must the squirrel eat my flower bulbs? Isn't my birdseed enough?

For a fact, I know we have tons of acorns littering the yard. Just my luck, I get the foodie squirrel, one whose palate is too refined for mere acorns. What do I do with the acorns?

I am out about twenty dollars worth of bulbs, but I still have my seeds. Ah, yes the seeds, the seeds, which are now part of Sprout Watch 2010.

Sprout Watch is a service provided by the children. Each day they go into the garden, peer at the soil, poke it a bit and then inform me "Nothings sprouted yet."

Once the seeds have sprouted then we segue into Veggie Watch. For Veggie Watch, the children ask at least once a day if the (insert name of veggie) is ready to eat yet. Wait, that isn't the most frustrating part! When the veggies are finally ready to eat, they don't eat them!

Maybe this year I will give the veggies to the squirrel.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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