Monday, August 3, 2009

It's not a teapot, and you're no dormouse!

I’ve been working all the hours of the night and day the past few weeks, so the garden’s barely gotten a rueful nod on my way by. Still haven’t completely converted all my pots to clay pot irrigation or SIP, and between heat and neglect I did lose a couple of plants not so equipped, but only a couple—as in two or three. Which is amazing, what with our string of unendingly hot days broken up by only one far-too-light rain.

Drought’s not been the problem, but that’s not to say the garden hasn’t been beset by trials. Locusts, the neighborhood dogs, daily temperatures so high some tender leaves can actually cook on the plants, water or no water...and to those expected ills, add this: I’m back to fighting possums. At least a trio of young ones, too brazen for their own good and still small enough that one actually managed to get briefly stuck inside an irrigation pitcher!

I’m not sure what the appeal there was; the bit of water shoudln’t have drawn interest with the aquarium bucket* nearby, and all my irrigation reservoirs are lidded to prevent mosquitos from using them as hatcheries, so there shouldn’t have been larvae or anything. Clay does cool water, and soil’s cooling as well, so perhaps it was the difference in temperature when the blasted prehistoric rodentalogue dislodged the lid. Whatever the reason it decided to stick its pointy head and front half into a clay tube, it had a noisy pre-dawn time getting back out, and now there’s green sap and shredded leaves where I used to have a thriving sweet potato vine. (It may recover, but that’s not the point.)

That half-suicidal pouch-rat or one of its compatriots disturbed my “precomposting” worm-food, too. Or perhaps it took several of them working in concert; by the mess, a whole gang of adolescent rat-tailed terrors had a party. Have I mentioned lately that I have no use for possums? Horrible things. Part of the local ecosystem they may be, but once they disturb my garden, they’re pests.

Technically edible pests, but while I may fantasize about roasted possum on a grape-leaf lined platter with a guava in its mouth for decoration, that’s vengeance, not epicurianism, speaking.

I can handle the monkeys-debating-politics sounds of racoons in mating season; the sudden thunder of squirrels using rooftiles as trampolines; even the occasional bird-denuded grapevine seems an acceptable price to pay for living in a city green enough to have such a varied wifdlife still.

But possums in the pots? That’s just too much for me. Time to set out the Hav-A-Hart, I think. Wonder if I could bait it with Repulsive-bits? Possums do seem to enjoy them, and at least it’d be free...



bookconservator said...

Ahhh, the joys of gardening in Austin. Glad to see they haven't changed much. Just remember, possum need to be taken far, far away or the little buggers can find their way home again...Rick is good at the confuse-a-possum routine...Good to know you are still alive in all that heat and dry. Wish I could send you some rain from the northeast...flavorless tomatoes and squash that rots on the vine...such fun!

D. S. Foxx said...

Any time you'd like to come home...or even just to visit. The windmill needs weeding again, I'm sure.