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Dances with possums
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With apologies to Kevin Costner and Jeff Foxworthy.

For close most of my life, I’ve enjoyed planting a vegetable garden every summer. As a beginner my first success was with zucchini & I used to delight in growing the largest monster zucchini possible. It took me a while to figure out that the smaller ones were much more edible. Of course I had all the other standard garden fare too: tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, corn, strawberries & assorted herbs. Naturally I made almost all the mistakes possible too. I used chlordane & DDT to fight bugs and artificial blossom setter to get more fruit. Eventually I began to turn organic and used marigolds instead of chlordane, and compost instead of ammonium nitrate.  

Its funny how life works, but in recent tears my son Bo, has taken an interest in gardening as well, in fact, the rascal gets out there before me and plants the whole darned garden. What used to be my garden has somehow evolved into his garden and I have been deposed as the Garden Meister. I have been relegated to an occasional cameo as an advisor emeritus. A couple days ago Bo called me out into “his” garden to show off his nice big tomatoes. He then decided he’d let them ripen on the vine instead of picking them green & letting them ripen indoors.

Today Bo called my attention to several of his nicest tomatoes and pointed out large bite marks in them. “Hey Dad” he moaned, “What kind of critter do you think is eating my tomatoes?” After examining the scene of the crime, my best guess is that it’s probably a neighborhood possum. I suggested that the solution might lie with my Havahart live trap which I’ve used to trap & release coons, foxes possums, neighborhood cats & even a skunk. Trying to release an agitated skunk unharmed is a real challenge. There’s no way in the world you can avoid getting sprayed. My family made me sleep in the garage for a week after the skunk episode.

At any rate now I’m teaching my son the finer points of live trapping, with any luck if we catch another skunk, Bo will be the one to deal with it. As my Dad always told me; R.H.I.P. stands for Rank Has Its Privileges. Hopefully however we’ll just capture the marauding possum that’s decimating the tomato patch and Bo won’t get to learn the joys of releasing a skunk.

  Although we live just a short walk from the local river and its wild inhabitants there is a price to be paid for such proximity to Gods critters. I’m still prepared to help out in keeping other human - critter conflicts to a minimum. For example if you have deer munching your spring garden down to the ground that can be pretty tough on your productivity. I have a sure-fire cure for deer problems; you fertilize your garden with lion manure. It works like a charm! No deer will ever bother your garden again. I’ve even got a source of raw material in the form of an anonymous zoo keeper. Bears can be a serious problem if you’ve got fruit trees. They really love apples but will destroy the trees in the process of getting to the fruit. Contact me if you need help getting rid of bears.   Meanwhile, we’ll see if Bo can catch the offending possum. Stay tuned for further developments.

Until Next Week,
Tight Lines