All is very Zen. Weeds come, they get pulled. Probably. Edges are maintained, but not religiously. Experiments in cohabitation (will it be okay if I grow this iris in the asparagus bed?) are made. Harvests are assumed to be about 1/3 of potential, given the fact I like to maintain things wildlife-friendly. Why 1/3? Calculate 1/3 loss to wildlife, 1/3 potential loss to whatever, leaves 1/3 for us humans. This sets the bar at a level that leads to minimal disappointment and maximum happy surprises.
Unless this happens.
Decapitation by rabbit.
In which case, The Peaceable Kingdom gets all rumbly. The young me who cringed whenever Mr. McGregor menaced Peter Rabbit needs to go in a closet and hide, because the old and wizened me starts looking around for a hoe.
And I don't mean to start weeding.
Until I started growing vegetables, I never felt this kind of id-like response when dealing with things dirt. I've seen hostas munched down to nibs, and merely shrugged, knowing they'd be back the next year. But when it came to produce...tasty, fresh, labored, contemplated, organic, so fully imagined I drooled fruit of my labors, fruit whose cost came partially out of the family grocery budget...well...
...like a pea, I snapped.
The first year, I took to letting the dog out and encouraging him to go chase the leaping lepus. I had to rethink that strategy when he was, erm, VERY enthusiastic about discovering a bunny den. With babes. (Turn away. It gets worse. I won't discuss, but yes, I had to practice "ethical" euthanasia.) So I turned to prevention, which of course would have been best to practice from the very beginning. I've tried hair, pet and human, red pepper spray, row covers. Hair works erratically, and then only until it rains. Red pepper spray works, unless it entices, and in either case, only until it rains. Row covers work, until it gets hot, and then they need to come off.
And I don't like the way they look. I like looking at greenery in my garden, not gauze.
So, it's a hodgepodge of prevention and acceptance around here. With the occasional bout of mind-noise anger.
I inadvertently brought this topic up with some 'fume friends. And, because I had sympathetic ears -- none of which quivered or were floppy -- who inspired me toward a particular slant. A scented slant. A proposal for Christopher Brosius. To wit:
The Smell of Fury: Mr. McGregor's Revenge
The title came to me in a flash. But it took a little time--and some painful honesty--to compose a proposal/inquiry.
TO: Christopher Brosius
FROM: A Passionate Gardener, an Avid Scent Wearer
RE: Brief for a New Project
CB, you're one to tackle this one. It doesn't tell a story so much as take you down of (garden) path of personal development, vegetable patch style.
The story: Discovery, Delirium, Reconcilement
The backstory: Innocence lost, Peter Rabbit
The smells: AT FIRST dirt, fresh air, other vegetation--for this writer, a rub of sage, a hint of garlic chive, the sharp medicine of creeping charlie, the ozonic yet odd decay of an allium flower, the hint of a leather glove, rubber and feet (hello, best garden clog ever). A HARSH SMACK of tomato leaf which leads to a SHARP TRANSITION as the smell of metal glints invitingly in your nose. Other writers might propose a hint of gunpowder at this point, but I'm thinking fur and the brush of pine and sweat and the smell of a blister forming as a runner tries to gain on a rabbit while wearing rubber clogs. A SWIRL again of transition as you briefly but disturbingly ...oh, dear, it is so harsh to say...but you are bold, and you will go where I can't...it is only imagined, but my visual will become your fur plus blood, I think. So QUICKLY a waft of the fresh breeze only hinted at in the allium now writ complete and non-compromised, green and ozonic all at once, leading to flowers and the crisp smells of green beans and peas and the oddly sharp (gee, is there a connection to the blood here?) smell of a properly ripened but not mushy tomato. Perhaps a lovely balsamic vinagrette?
Fava beans, your call. I say it is over the top. But I have a friend who wants the whole denouement to be rabbit stew.
Can we talk?
I dunno. It's a start. And certainly a catharsis.
I'm more demonic in my head than I ever am when it comes to real life. In real life, I bought more tomato plants than I had space for. Already, I'm mourning that I did not think to put Pink Lady, that modern faded something, in the ground first, for then I would be swapping it out for the robust vintage Mortgage Lifter. But I tend to think positive (oh, hush), so was hoping I would just be offering up the extra plants to a neighbor.
So I brush the dog -- who has fur, I know, and does not offer any sebum-ish moments as I groom him. I let him roam. I make homemade non-toxic but hopefully highly repellant sprays.
But mostly, I putter where I am inclined, let the rest go, and hope for the best.
Maybe one day, I'll be sneaking huffs of a new scent I'm testing, shorthanded as McGregor's Fury amongst perfume folk. Wait, no--better yet--I'll be a pre-release tester. You know.
So that this cosmetic can be identified as not having harmed rabbits in testing.
photo of decapitated tomato plant, (sadly) author's own
"stop animal testing" image found on various websites, including Amy's Gripping Commentary