Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Word of the Prophet

Somewhere in the Bible, it states that the true test of a prophet is…well…that whatever he said actually happens. 

While I never thought of myself as a prophet or the son of a prophet (okay, I suppose it would have to be daughter of a prophet), nor did I ever aspire to the title, apparently I AM a prophet.

When I wrote about the troubles we have been having with the groundhogs in hoophouse #2, I closed by saying something about the possibility of the battle continuing. I never imagined that we would be battling again within days.You can read the Battle of the Whistle-pig.

After the fortification project, after the elimination of “the world’s biggest groundhog”, I thought we were finally ahead of the game.  The chard and lettuce began to show some good growth, and things were looking good for the upcoming harvest.

With the bad weather ahead of hurricane Sandy, the hoophouses went into lock-down mode.  The sides and ends were closed down tightly.  The cold, cloudy weather meant that we didn’t need to worry over heat build-up, so I just peeked in the doors in my rounds of morning chores.

When Friday morning arrived, I headed out with harvest buckets for what I had envisioned as a great day.  Picking lettuce and listening to music is really not a bad way to spend the morning.  The weather was fairly nice, so my fingers weren’t freezing and the lettuce was looking great.

As I walked in hoophouse #2, something looked odd.  Okay, now what?  It looked as if some maniac lawnmower had been buzzing through the lettuce beds. AAAAHHHH!

What in the world?

At my request….make that in response to all my yelling…the Boss came from hoophouse #1 where he was harvesting.

WHAT? What is wrong now?

LOOK!  Look at my poor, poor lettuce! 

OH WOW!  What happened?

How….HOW did something get in here?

WHAT got in here?

As we looked at each other in total disbelief, my eyes travelled around the hoophouse. Just across from where I was standing was a hole…under the bandboard…a newly dug GROUNDHOG hole!

What was going on?  Was there some special groundhog network out there hell-bent on eating the lettuce?  Would every groundhog in the county be heading this direction? 

OH ARGH! This couldn’t be happening.  At this rate, the lettuce crop would NEVER make it. This was getting ridiculous.  It was maddening...

Despite the fact we were fighting GROUNDHOGS and not gophers...I could honestly see us turning into Bill Murray's somewhat disturbed character in the movie Caddyshack.

We went back to harvesting while the Boss devised a plan. It was just an accepted fact that yet ANOTHER trip to Lowe’s was in our very near future.

The lettuce picking task had suddenly turned sour.  Out of the entire hoophouse, I got about THREE bags of lettuce.  There should have been far more than that!  I didn’t want to calculate what the current groundhog attack had cost us.  This season alone, in hoophouse #2 alone, the income lost to an insatiable appetite has been more costly than any other losses in the outside gardens. (except perhaps the onions)

On harvest days, our conversations are short exchanges as I deliver the freshly picked greens to the Boss for his job of washing and bagging them.  This particular day our exchanges were all about what course of action would resolve the current groundhog issue. Wonder if this would work…Could we?  Should we? Groundhogs… It was somewhat monotonous, but the Boss finally came up with a plan he thought would work.

The Boss bought a roll of fence wire with SMALL holes.  He laid this on the ground all around the perimeter of the hoophouse and stapled it to the ground. This would make it impossible for the groundhog to dig through the wire and end up INSIDE the hoophouse.  The Boss has done this type of preventative measure in other places.  It does work; it is just a lot of work.

After the wire was installed, he covered it with dirt.  In some ways, this was a blessing.  There were some low spots around the perimeter where the walls were not meeting the ground.  The dirt would prevent drafts which should mean better growth for my little plants.

The dirt was raked smooth and I bought a bag of grass seed to plant.  Boooyyyy felt it necessary to assist in the grass seeding project.  This means that the grass will be quite lush in one place and a little sparse elsewhere. But, I guess one shouldn’t complain about free “help”!

Okay….are we done?

We cannot think of any other ways to protect the lettuce.  The ironic thing about this whole ordeal is that hoophouse #1…just feet away and set up very similarly…has NOT come under attack at all. It could be the crop choices; this groundhog seems to have a penchant for young tender lettuce and hasn’t eaten any spinach or arugula.

Now, we wait for vigorous re-growth and hope that we have FINALLY secured the hoophouse from further attacks. Perhaps now we can declare victory in the battle of the whistle-pig.

...and I staunchly refuse to make any more statements that could be considered even remotely prophetic!


  1. I can only imagine how disheartening it must be to see such a sight! The first year I planted any tomatoes, while they were in their prime, Kurtis and the neighbor boy plucked every. single. one. (green and ripe) and threw them around the yard - completely decimating my "crop". That's the closest I'll ever come to the way you must feel about your groundhog. Can't kill a 2-year-old, though :) Anyway, we thoroughly enjoyed our 2 bags of lettuce :)

  2. Oh....MY.....Goodness, Kim! I think I would have just sat down and cried. Now, that would have been a good example, huh? So glad for you (and Kurtis) that you granted him the chance to grow up. He seemed like quite the helper at the Market.

    So glad you enjoyed the lettuce. ...and let's hope that THIS week we can get to Market without any incidents.