July Garden Journal 2017
Our first watermelon. I forgot that I'd planted golden midget watermelons, and just thought it was diseased or dying. But it was golden, and certainly midget. More like a big apple. But we had our first watermelon!!!! Unfortunately, it was as tasteless and bland as it was cute. Maybe the next one will be better.
This was the month of the rat. I've known since last fall that a rodent of some kind has been eating form my garden buffet, but I was unwilling to actually do anything about it. The problem is finding a dead rat or something equally horrible. At least, alive, they scurry away and only come out at night. Dead, they just wait there until you nearly step on them.
But we had company over for a beer on the deck, and it was a little unnerving when the little creatures came out after dark and started climbing our apricot tree. You could hear the leaves rustling, and apparently it ruined the relaxing atmosphere. (Some people!) But the good news was my husband was finally on board to do something about it. The next weekend he set out poison and an electric rat trap.
This, of course, is a good thing. BUT. Now every morning for the last 8 days we are greeted by a dead rat somewhere in the backyard. Instead of finding somewhere quiet and dark to live out their last moments, they must spend it trying to score their last meal. So I go out to the chickens or rabbits in my bathrobe and some flip flops in the early morning, and BAM!!!!! Disgusting dead rat. Idyllic setting destroyed.
Which brings me to our next pest issue. I don't know for sure, but I am 90% certain their is a skunk living under our deck. At the end of June our little dog went outside one night to relieve herself and came running back in smelling like Eau de Skunk. Two weeks of our backyard smelling, stinking, yucky, and of course there's always a dead rat to really drive the point home.
But I believe the skunk went for the bait in the rat trap and got zapped, because one warm night as I slept with the window open, I woke up to the smell of burning rubber. Definitely a skunk. The bait was missing from the rat trap, but no rat. It's been three and a half weeks of stinky-ness and dead rats outside.
But wait! That's not all.
We keep a third rabbit separate from our first two because Bugs, our first rabbit, does not seem to like Ginger, our new import. Silver, the fixed male, seems friendly enough, but even a friendly sniff in Ginger's direction results in Bugs chasing him around for payback. So Ginger has been alone, though we plan on finding her a friend soon.
The beauty and the horror of it all is that rabbits burrow. Remember Alice in Wonderland? The sweet girl who falls down a rabbit hole? There's a lot of fiction in that story, but it appears that rabbits do actually dig holes. Ginger dug and dug, and dug her way right into Bugs' territory.
The results were horrible. Fur everywhere, a torn lip, and a visit to the vet. Rabbits are considered "exotics", which is a ridiculous label for anything that breeds so generously, but we had to go to four different emergency animal clinics before we found a vet who could work with a rabbit. Ginger got two stitches and a week of painkillers and antibiotics. The vet and her assistant both said Ginger was the best rabbit they'd ever met, and clearly I don't deserve her. Poor thing.
A Japanese hybrid cucumber. They were perfect. Only two plants keep us in cucumbers.
An apple melon. This one wasn't quite ripe when I took the picture, but once they ripen... Someone else finds them first. Must be squirrels.
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