Sunday, January 06, 2008

maybe that's why it's called chicken wire...

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love my vegie patch. Such mystery contained within each seed, such treasure, such goodness.

So it came as something of a shock to step outside the other morning and discover this:

You cannot see it clearly in this picture, but there is a swathe of destruction running through the garden, wrought by none other than 'our' the neighbour's sheep.

I suppose it's understandable. We're in a drought, and as they've ranged over three connected backyards the sheep have eaten the grass down to nothing. It must have been nigh on torture to gaze dolefully through the chicken wire at such green lushness with nary a bight for themselves. Poor things.

But all they had to do was ask for more feed and we would have obliged - not press on the chicken wire until it unravelled and left an open path to heaven on dirt. This was our food not theirs. Our joy not theirs.

So I chased them back into the neighbour's yard like a crazed woman, feverishly hammered down the chicken wire around the whole patch and pulled out the remains of what was the most beautiful lettuce in the world, salvaged what corn I could (14 cobs destroyed) and mourned the asparagus trampled under heavy hoof (some of it might survive).

On the bright side, they don't seem to like tomatoes, so we still have 9 plants; the cucumber and pumpkin prickled their soft little mouths and they left us a plant or two of each (on which, joy of joys, the fruit is setting); and we viewed it as an opportunity to broaden our vegetable selection, replanting with fancy lettuce, capsicum, beetroot and spinach.

I suppose when it all boils down, chicken wire is designed to keep chickens in. Not sheep out.


After all the trouble with birds and sheep this year I'm beginning to think I should have planted zucchini after all. It seems to be calamity proof and I would feel as if I'd achieved something in the garden!

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At 6:11 am, January 07, 2008, Blogger Sandy's Notes said...

So now what? Do you plant again next year? Do you build a green house? I feel bad for you. I had a vegetable garden, lush, lively, but the critters in the woods were able to enjoy the fruits of all my work more than me. I ended up closing the store and now grow grass on some of the best soil in the yard!

At 9:05 am, January 08, 2008, Blogger Mike S said...

Living in the woods as we do, I've taken an old trick my uncle used on the farms to keep the two-legged and all the other competing critters apart and happy.

For every square foot of crop plants in the garden(which is unfenced) I plant 2 square feet of junk plants that the critters love more than our stuff. Since we consider the stuff weeds, and it's free for taking in the surrounding woods, the cost is but a bit o' elbow grease. This is planted around the perimeter of the place where we put the garden. In 14 years here, not a single critter incursion has defiled 'our' stuff.

They stick to 'their' garden and leave ours to us. Even the neighbor's livestock seem to grasp the concept. I guess clover beats carrots in the critter 'blind taste tests.'

At 10:17 am, January 08, 2008, Blogger Sandy's Notes said...

I never heard of that one Mike. What kind of junk plants do you grow?

At 11:47 am, January 08, 2008, Blogger Cherie said...

Holy Smokes! And still, you thought to snap a photo. You are a blogger through and through, Cecily.

I'm sorry about the garden. Maybe you have time to plant again?

So many things to learn!

I should take a picture of my garden to show you - it's brown, wet mud, with no sign of life, and a few patches of leftover snow here and there.

Looking at your garden makes me feel...warm. Ahhh.


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