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Garden View

,  September 29, 2021  Written by Jeff Rowse
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Last year, when we were all hunkering down at home, I created a raised garden area for myself made from decorative concrete blocks. In this garden, which abuts a concrete pathway, I planted purple salvia, not that kind, purple and pink dianthus, blue forget-me-nots, and red coral bells. The concrete path takes a sharp right when it encounters a 7 ft. tall wooden fence. The fence breaks left, then left again twice to enclose the backyard. Along that 1st break, I planted 2 types of fragrant honeysuckle, mounding phlox, black eyed susans and johnny jump ups. I figure between plants, soil and mulch, I dropped at least a grand of my stimulus money.

In my new garden area, there is also a small, rectangular concrete container that I use for annuals started indoors from seed. This year’s selection was multi-colored zinnias. They turned out great despite an unseen critter of the night lollipopping them. There’s also a brown, ribbed container housing a geranium that’s been with me for about a decade. Finally, there is a large, terracotta that has three delphinium seedlings. There were nine until the squirrels got into them.

I feed the neighborhood birds from the deck and every time they remove a sunflower seed from the birdfeeder it causes three more to fall to the ground in the process. That attracts the squirrels. There’s a family of them that live in a half rotten tree on my neighbor’s property. Every day I watch them leave the tree, climb the fence, and run the length of my lawn to feast on what falls from the deck above. Well, the squirrel family grew by three this year. I’ve found evidence of the youngins' activities in every garden bed and container flush with the ground. Mostly in the form of newly sprouted sunflower seeds buried for retrieval in the fall. But nowhere does this trio cause more mischief than on the opposite side of the fence on my neighbor’s deck.

My neighbor also has a bird feeding station. But unlike mine which hangs from an iron arm, his sits on his deck table. To get to the deck, the squirrels use the highway of vines and branches that begin at their rotted tree and eventually end up overhanging my neighbor’s roof. To get to the table requires a literal leap of faith combined with hunger that makes these little buggers fearless. Once they hit the table breakfast is served. However, not every breakfast is peaceful. When my neighbor's dog, Dolly, is let out, the squirrels rapidly head for the deck railings, leaping like Rocky, and praying they come close to whatever branches are south of the deck. This rapid exodus wipes out the small potted plants and other accoutrement on the table. Which leads us to our picture.  

Our siblings had made their way to my neighbor’s roof when Dolly came out for her morning constitutional and trapped them a leap away from breakfast. While Dolly was doing her thing, the sibs made their way to the other side of the roof. I don’t think they had ever been to that side before. I figure that’s why they paused to look at me enjoying my morning chai and Illicit Bonkerz long enough for me to snap the picture above. When I shifted in my chair they ended their embrace and headed for the other side of the roof. It reminded me that love is universal and kids will be kids, but if they keep messing with my flower beds, Ima get me a super soaker for motivational purposes.

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