Rewilding

I found this post lost and lonely in my drafts folder. Apparently I never hit the publish button.  It seems a fine time to finally throw it out there, after I froze my butt off today pulling tomato cages out of the frozen earth, bedecked in blaze orange to alert the hunters of my non-deer-ness. A fine time to remember the warmer days and their frustrations… Our gardening endeavors are never short on frustrations…

When we ravaged our little plot of land nine years ago in order to build a house on it, we disrupted the natural order of the place. We are in the middle of the woods, but it took a full six years for the squirrels to hazard crossing into our yard after its clearing. By the third or fourth year, we would see them skipping across the tips of the treeline, but they had no interest in venturing INto our sodded haven. We had a hard time relating to those bird-lovers who waged annual war with the armies of squirrels who pillaged their feeders. Our squirrels seemed to respect our boundaries.

Bunnies, too. I love the bunnies, but it never saddened me much that we didn’t seem to have any. Our garden had enough to worry about defending itself against wayward chickens. Bunnies, I knew from my formative years reading Peter Rabbit and the lengths my grandparents and neighbors went to in effort to eradicate the cute little buggers, were no friends to gardens. But ours was set apart. The bunnies, assuming we didn’t live in a bunny-free township, respected our boundaries just like the squirrels.

Not all wildlife feared us. The birds immediately descended on us in flocks, thankful for our sunflower seeds, nesting in our trees, houses, and the mudcups they would lovingly build atop our shuttered windows. The deer didn’t take long to venture in to take a peek at the new establishment.

2009_0730AA
Our resident whistle pig, basking in the clover

The whistle pigs really loved our field of manicured clover (manicured here used in the loosest way possible). We were slowly blending back into nature.

The squirrels followed close on the heels of their rodent brothers, as our chewed and mangled bird feeders are evidence of. The respect is gone. The smorgasbord is open.

This year, yet another leaf has unfurled in the re-wilding of our land. The rabbits returned – in spades. They act as though they’re returning home after an extended stay in a procreation facility. They have helped themselves to the garden, confirming everything I learned from Beatrix Potter. On the positive side, they’ve provided some entertainment, and a crash course in adequate fencing.

Garden update, Gun Deer Opener, closing in on the winter days when gardening sounds so good and the memories of its reality are fading:

Tomato cages are unearthed, but all other fall garden chores will probably wait until spring. Why rush things? The bunnies devastated the garden before we got the fencing upgrade completed this summer. The tomatoes were stunted (those that weren’t destroyed) and we hit an all-time low (which is no mean feat) for produce taken from our own land. I suppose we’ll do it all over again next year, because we’re not very quick learners. But at least we’re ready for Peter and his armies of terror. Bring it, bunnies!

May dreams of gardening, whether rooted in reality or wishful thinking, fill your winter days with wonder and good intentions,
KJ

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