Wednesday, March 10, 2010

On Gardening and Its Discontents

[In the spirit of full disclosure, we think it’s only fair that you be aware that you are now reading a blog penned by a man who becomes abnormally excited when discussing the topic of crown molding.]

Far pithier people than Rickey have said that the two most important items in any house are a library and a garden. And while Rickey’s “library” consists of a single svelte bookcase populated by the likes of Tom Wolfe (no big surprise there) and Kazuo Ishiguro (OK, maybe a slight surprise there), we’re fairly confident that this will quickly expand over time. But what of the garden? When the world wearies and ceases to satisfy, will Rickey turn to his plowshare and till the earth? Well, that’s kind of what we’re thinking.

See, Rickey possesses a nice level back yard that receives excellent light and would he be greatly remiss in not exploiting it for agrarian purposes. The fundamentals of this garden have already been laid out in Rickey’s mind: an environmentally responsible compost bin in the backyard brimming with wriggling red worms, and several raised beds populated with heirloom tomatoes, sorrel, cucumbers, carrots, string beans, chard, and eggplants (for eggplants are truly the most playful of all the vegetables). There will be a rabbit pen in the back yard. Each night, Mrs. Henderson will wait patiently by the window for Rickey to come from work and she will cook rabbit for him upon his arrival. There will be bountiful harvests in the fall, bushels filled with produce, and tributes offered to the gods in the name of rain. A maypole may even be procured.

But before Rickey can break ground on this venture, one issue must first be addressed: the deer problem. In the area where Rickey grew up, deer were a systemic problem for Papa Henderson’s garden. A combination of the use of sonic devices and coyote urine as well of the introduction of a natural predator (an 80 pound clinically insane Samoyed) into the environment now seems to be successfully keeping them at bay. You think Rickey’s kidding about that natural predator part, but you weren’t present to witness the dog carrying a bloody dismembered deer leg home in his jaw. Did the deer die a natural death or did the dog actually take it down? We’re not sure, but either way, Rickey hasn’t been able to look his dog straight in the eyes since. That canine now has BLOODLUST in him.

The deer in Rickey’s area are much less willing to roll over and die. The Hendersons’ backyard fence was damaged by a deer that, according to a neighbor, actually ran headfirst into it. Driving home from work the other night, a deer sprang out of the woods and charged at Rickey’s driver side door before skidding to a halt—that's right, the animal almost t-boned Rickey. They’re not so much deer as they are crystal meth junkies with hooves and antlers.

How to best keep these marauding deer out of the garden? Scarecrows clearly aren’t going to work on these lunatic deer. A dog isn’t in the cards just yet, and Rickey certainly doesn’t want to venture down the slippery slope of attempting to procure coyote urine. (Where in the hell would one even look for something like that? Does anyone have a coyote urine guy?) In the meantime, Rickey has received multiple alternative suggestions. Irish Spring soap shavings placed at the base of the plants are rumored to keep deer at bay, but what of the inevitable leprechaun infestation that would be attracted by this Gaelic brand of soap? The last thing anyone wants is small mythological figures rooting about in their backyard for bottles of Bushmills Irish Whiskey.

Hair sweepings from the local barbershop are another alleged home remedy, but Rickey’s not entirely certain that the ladies at the salon where Rickey receives his $30 haircuts would take kindly to him walking out the door with a garbage bag full of human hair. Rickey used to have a blow-dart gun (because when you’re 14 and working at the local library, a blow-dart gun seems like an entirely reasonable item to spend one's first paycheck on) but sadly it is nowhere to be found. Damn that blow-dart gun was awesome and it absolutely would’ve chased off the deer.

What remedies for this do you folks with deer problems have? Any gardening tips in general?

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Bob said...

Because I am a more of a home improvement dork than a gardening dork, I am hung up on this:

"...a blog penned by a man who becomes abnormally excited when discussing the topic of crown molding."

Having attempted the installation of crown molding, I recommend the following:

Tip one: Buy a good miter saw, such as a DeWalt.
Here is the mack-daddy, but you can go cheaper:

Tip two: Get the crown molding fence system (stops), it is totally worth it.
They look something like this:

These saws will pay for themselves if you are considering a contractor. They will also make you feel really cool when you show your jealous friends. Further, they will think your wife is awesome and sexy for letting you buy it.

Tip three: Air nailers, bitch:

Bob said...

You can also use the saw and nailers to build those raised beds....

Rickey Henderson said...

Many thanks Bob!

BTW, you are putting FAR TOO MUCH credit in Rickey if you believe he's capable of using a miter saw without chopping his own head off.