Off to a New Battle

You know? We could make her really angry! Shall we try? Alice, from Alice’s Wonderful Adventures in Wonderland.

I had planned to write a post today describing my memories of how Memorial Day was celebrated when I was a child growing up in a small New England town. There was  a parade with school bands playing patriotic songs, Gold Star Mothers being driven by in open convertibles, veterans of foreign wars poured into uniforms pulled from steamer trunks in the attic, sentimental speeches, and the haunting echo of taps. I worked on it in my head all the way home from Maine where we spent the holiday weekend.

As we pulled into our driveway, my husband said, “Look! There he goes. He’s a big one.”

“There who goes?” I asked seeing no one.

“The woodchuck. He just took off across the backyard.”

“Oh.” I really didn’t care about this woodchuck having only barely recovered from the Battle of the Bat who had turned up in our upstairs hallway last week.

In New England, the old rule is no planting before Memorial Day. I had cheated a little by putting my lettuce (three kinds) in about ten days ago. Trust me when I tell you it was flourishing. I finished up planting my other vegetables late on Friday. This year, I went to the Farmer’s Exchange and bought a bale of straw so I could mulch my plantings. I have to say that I was pretty impressed with myself. I was embarking on a season of serious gardening.

“Unh, Kathleen, look at the garden.”

So I did. Horror and devastation followed. The woodchuck had been very busy. Eating. Everything.

When I left on Friday, my lettuce looked like this.


My beautiful lettuce on Friday



Today it looks like this.


The same lettuce today!


Also eaten were the feathery tops of my fennel, one pepper plant, and some of the cucumber plants.

As the nation around me remembered those lost in old battles, I went to war with this sneaky little thief.

I hopped onto Goggle to see what I could see. Here are the suggestions:

  • Fake Snakes (I have already started looking for one.)
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Kitty Litter (Used. They don’t care for it.)

Please let me know if you have any better ideas.  Comrade Woodchuck may have won this battle but he is not winning the war.













What Do You Want to Be?

It’s time to start living the life you imagined.” Henry James

What is it that you wish you were that you are not? Regardless of how old you are, I know that there is something. We all have a secret list of “I want to be…”s.

One of the things that consistently shows up on my list is to be a gardener. Yes, that’s right I want to be a gardener. Every time I turn the corner of the street leading to my own, I am reminded of this. I live in a gardening neighborhood. Everywhere I look there are beautiful and unique gardens. The neighbor in the house on the corner gardens in the rain and drives a serious lawn tractor. She also has beautiful weed-free garden beds. I want to be her.

My fellow homeowner is a natural, if somewhat haphazard, gardener so we do actually have gardens, largely his creation. But, I want to garden, too.  And I have tried, both in this house and in others I have lived in, with limited success.  I don’t really know why. I start strong and then I seem to lose my motivation. Gardening is a lot of work.

Does this ever happen to you? Is there something you have tried to do and never accomplished?  I always wanted to be a writer and now I am. So why can’t I also be a gardener? This year I intend to try.

Several years ago, I planted a shade garden and have continued to expand it  each year with new plants. This garden is composed mostly of Hosta and Heuchera commonly called Coral Bells. I have had moderate success, with the exception of two years ago when all the Hostas were eaten by a plague of slugs. I tried chemicals (bad, I know) salt, and hummus containers filled with beer. Nothing worked. Those disgusting fat slugs just got drunk and kept on chomping.

Shade Garden

My Shade Garden

Here is my current challenge: a jungle of weeds surrounding my Oriental Poppies, We  established this bed several years ago and have neglected it.


The reason that I can't call myself a gardener

I have discovered that gardening is very conducive to writing. It gives you a lot of quiet time to think, create dialogue, and work through plot points.  It turns out that a lot of writers are also gardeners.

My brave and lonely little poppy

The only problem is that Grace keeps disappearing and I have to stop what I am doing to track her down. There is a ground hog the size of a small sheep that lives in the bushes next to the fence. So where is Grace?

Grace hunting ground hogs

I have always believed the first thing to do when you embark on a new role is to dress the part. At least you look like you know what you are doing. I am a dedicated costume person. Here are my latest accessories.

My gardening stuff

Is there anything that you really want to be? If so, why not go for it?