Sunday, May 20, 2007

Rabbits and Fences

It was cold out there today, except for a moment or two in the early afternoon when the sun emerged. Cold for spring, that is. Would have been a fine warm day in January, above freezing as it was. Maybe I can think of it as Winter's last encore -- and the audience isn't on their feet, stamping for more.

It also rained for a time, which has to be good for the garden. Tomatoes and strawberries and some flowers are in. The old rabbit fence is gone. I spent a tiresome hour or so a couple of weeks ago removing its rusted twists and eye-poking loose ends. As a barrier against small mammals, it also seemed to be a failure, though I suspect squirrels did more damage last year than rabbits.

Marigolds are supposed to ward off rabbits, and back in the late '80s, when I helped out Nate with his garden in suburban Warrenville, we planted those, and they seemed to do the trick. Last year, I planted them, and they withered. Maybe rabbits have devised anti-mairgold technologies. Or maybe I didn't water them enough.

We have a new rabbit fence, still wound up as it came from the factory near Guangzhou or somewhere, and are debating installation. If rabbits seem to attack what we've planted, it'll have to go in. But I can't say I'm looking forward to the job. And it will discourage Lilly from tending the garden, since it would be harder for her access, though not impossible. She's shown more of an interest in gardening than I ever would have as a kid, going to far as to plant most of the tomatoes and strawberries.

Taking out the old rabbit fence also involved digging up a lot of pain-in-the-ass honey locust saplings, which had decided to intertwine themselves with the fence at irregular intervals. But I learned something about the yard in doing so. I'd thought that the saplings came from seeds. Instead they seem to be offshoots of the tree's roots. It made me realize how extensive the tree's root system must be -- king of the yard, it is.


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