I love being outdoors, soaking in the sun, enjoying a good breeze, and sipping on sweet tea now that I live below the Mason Dixon line. I enjoy looking out of my windows and instead of seeing bars to keep me safe, public housing out back or feeling the thumpity-thump of the neighbor’s loud music through our adjoining wall, I see trees and bushes, and grass, and…..animals.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I knew I would encounter a few animals and I’m not one of those illogical-screaming women that run away from a fly. I was the one in the freshman dorm that was called to kill a flying cockroach. I can set a mouse trap and I have been known to pick up a sticky trap with a squeaking mouse on it and throw it out (in Brooklyn). I don’t like it, but I can do it.
So in 2012, I had the bright idea to start a vegetable garden behind my house after a friend talked me into it on Facebook. I had grown vegetables 30+ years ago in a children’s gardening program at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in Brooklyn, NY so I wasn’t exactly starting from scratch. I happily planted tomatoes, peas and string beans from seed with the expectation that my parrot Beau would eat all of the (nasty) peas and we would ‘share’ the tomatoes and string beans.
My vegetables when they started out.
I ended up planting in buckets because I didn’t have the time to have the raised bed I wanted built, and got started.
5-gallon buckets and $6 pots were used. I punctured holes in the bottom and used organic soil and compost with my organic Burpee seeds.
My tomato plants did well for my “first time” and the high temperatures.
A few tomatoes on my window sill. I saw a bird (hawk?) flying off of a tomato stake one day so I decided to bring in my tomatoes after they started turning red.
Well, well, well, wouldn’t you know it, all of the animals in the woods behind my house must have sent out a message that there was a smorgasbord nearby because everyone came out to see what I was doing.
I already knew there were deer in my neighborhood, a desiccated frog was smashed between my front door and the back frame when I first moved in 5 years ago (had to get someone else to peel that off LOL) and I even saw a turtle last year but I wasn’t ready for everyone else.
I, literally, had no less than three rabbits casing my garden on a daily basis for about 3 weeks.
Look between the fence posts and you will find two brown rabbits waiting for me to walk away…
I have had more HUMONGOUS bees than I have ever seen before, and a Black Widow spider even chose to use my backyard for dinner.
Yes, I got close enough to take a picture of this Black Widow pulling a worm. And no, I didn’t kill it and I’m not sure why I left it alone.
I had a bird hatch eggs in my Walmart hanging flower basket and the worst part of all of it is finding out what Tomato Horn Worms are.
One of many Tomato Horn Worms I’ve plucked this summer.
These things are the exact same color as the tomato plant branches, they hang on the underside of the leaves so you can’t see them, and they start out skinny but can grow to the width of your finger (and they ooze out a green substance if you squeeze them too hard as you are trying to pull it off of the branch, yuck!)
What about you? Do you garden? Plants or vegetables?
What animals and critters have you come across?
Do you run away, shoo them away, scream, or kill them?