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Garden bounty

August 6, 2021

What? This doesn’t look too bountiful to you? Fair enough. Me neither. 

Once again the only reliable bounty comes from the never-watered, never-fertilised, never-anything-except-pruned wild blackberry that’s been here since we first bought the house 25 years ago.

There are a few more nearly ripe tomatoes on the Tumbler plants. Between the six other spindly plants of different varieties which I planted in the ground there are perhaps a dozen small, very green (and showing no signs of ripening) cherry tomatoes. Honestly, why do I do this to myself? Oh, I know. Because a fully ripened cherry tomato eaten fresh off the plant is way more delicious than anything you can ever buy in the shops. 

I believe I said there were three courgettes growing (two from one plant, one from another, none from either of the yellow courgette plants). That’s down to two. The smallest one withered and died. I should be able to get one batch of my favourite summer soup out of the two remaining. (For a depressing reminder of how backwards my gardening is going, do click on the soup link.)

The two butternut squash plants are producing flowers, but no actual squash. Ditto the mini watermelon plant. As we’re now into August, it might as well stay that way. There isn’t enough time left for a squash or mini watermelon to grow fully before the frost.

Some green beans, as you can see, but hardly bountiful, barely enough for one side dish for one person. Sigh. 

In other news… 

The exterminator turned up yesterday. There’s good news and bad news. The good news is that what I thought were rat turds in the downstairs bathroom (thinking that’s what they were, I did not look all that closely) were actually dead wood bugs, which I can quickly hoover up. There’s absolutely no sign that any rat has managed to get from the crawl space into the house proper. The bad news is the crawl space. This house would never pass an inspection if it was built today. There are so many gaps – many of which are under the deck – that it would be impossible to plug them all and render the crawl space inaccessible to rats (or mice or – given the size of one of the holes – even a raccoon). Even if I could afford to pay someone to try, in the exterminator’s opinion it simply could not be completely done. The best that can be hoped for is that the traps will lead them to decide the house (and surrounding property) are not a good place to hang out. Quite honestly, now that I know there is absolutely no way for them to get inside the house proper, I’d be okay with rats hanging out in the crawl space over the winter. They probably have been for years. Unfortunately, the buggers are now stealing the bird food and that is unacceptable. So they gotta go.  


First there was the squirrel in the closet, then last night, while I was in bed reading, a bird suddenly started flying around inside the house. What the fuck? Where did it come from? The back door (which I leave open all day in the summer) had been closed for hours. How the hell did it get inside? And then, while I was still processing this strange turn of events, fuck me, there was another one. Two birds flying around madly inside my house at one in the morning. It was all getting a bit too Hitchcockian. Difficult to concentrate on reading, impossible to contemplate going to sleep now that I had visions of birds pecking at my face while I slumbered. Got out of bed, opened the livingroom windows as far as I could, went outside to set off the motion detector light on the side of the house which sits pretty much directly under the livingroom windows. Came back in, turned off the bedside lamp and waited. In the dark, with the only illumination coming in from the light outside, I sat and watched the silhouettes of these two birds still madly flying around the house. The motion detector light went out. Got a torch and went back outside to set it off again. Back inside to sit on the bed in the dark. I didn’t actually see them exit through the illuminated window, but they did stop flying madly around. 

Did they get out through the window? Or did they just tire themselves out and find some place (fuck knows where) to hide and have a rest? I have no bloody idea. So far today no sign of avian invaders. Let’s hope they’re not strictly limited to night time flight and don’t suddenly reappear when I’m reading in bed later.

Seriously, what the fuck? Rats in the crawlspace, sure, okay, I get that. But a squirrel in the closet and now little birds chasing each other through the air at one in the morning in my house? What the hell is going on?

From → Blog

  1. janeshead permalink

    Morphing into Cinderella?

  2. Donna permalink

    I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I read that the rat problem is NOT in your house. Birds and squirrels? Strange pseudo-Disney happenings!

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