Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Farm Fortress

For anyone wondering how we spent our Thursday…well, let me tell you…

Generally, the week has a rhythm, a certain routine.  But, every once in a while, there is a curveball, a completely unexpected and unpredicted issue that we must address. While I realize this happens to everyone, I don’t think everyone starts their day trying to figure out who/what ATE part of their paycheck.

 Oh, yes…something literally ATE part of our paycheck.

Morning started in the usual way.  Check the news and weather, feed the animals, have breakfast and discuss the jobs for the day.  We also were wondering if and when we would get my vehicle back from the shop, but that’s a story for another time.

The Boss set off to harvest potatoes for Market.  I headed to the hoophouses to mark the areas that needed clearing and tilling, and to make a mental list of what needed harvesting. It looked like the green beans needed some attention as well.

Hoophouse #1 looked pretty good, a little weedy, but the crops were looking healthy and nice.
Before the "attack"

As I walked into #2, I had the strangest feeling that something was amiss.

Hmmm, that looks odd…

   ….I think that lettuce is shrinking instead of growing. 

Wait a minute! Lettuce doesn’t shrink!

Oh, my beautiful lettuce! ...was NOT so beautiful anymore.

My first thought was that the recent heat had been too much for the tender crop.  While there are some plants that succumbed to the heat, heat alone didn’t account for the large swaths of damaged plants.

weeds weren't good enough
Closer investigation revealed that something had been enjoying the beautiful lettuce overnight. There were a few weeds that were missing the most tender bits, but apparently this critter had a penchant for lettuce. The most tender…almost ready to pick lettuce.

 No tracks, no scat, no burrowing…what in the world?

It was time to call for reinforcements.  A phone call to the Boss had him hurrying to the hoophouse, trap and tools in hand.  Forget the plan for the day…we were under attack!

First, he weed-whacked around the entire hoophouse. 

Then he secured chicken wire along the side that rolls up
Finally, he installed boards across the doorways to make varmint entry difficult.  Of course, it makes human entry difficult as well.  But, we’ll work around that…save the lettuce at all costs!

The hoophouse looks like a fortress. (Which is rather amusing considering we are probably protecting our crops from fairly small rodents). 

On the off-chance our unknown assailant is a groundhog, the trap was set up with bait…on the OUTSIDE of the hoophouse.

If, perchance, the culprit is indeed rabbits…

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