My garden sits at the very back of our long and narrow
property. It’s far from the road, my neighbor’s houses, the kids, the
phone…you get the picture. It’s my quiet little sanctuary where I can turn
dirt and seeds into food for my family and temporarily forget about the
problems of the real world. At least, I’d like to think my garden is a quiet,
private place. The truth is, it’s a hot spot for wildlife. And I’ve experienced
some very unforgettable moments in the garden.
It Seems Eyes are Everywhere…
So who’s in the garden when you’re not looking? It seems
eyes are everywhere. I’ve looked up to find a coyote,
in close proximity. For years, I’ve shared my compost bin with an opossum
And the rattling up in the trees is sometimes a pair of raccoon
babies, watching me as I pull weeds. Yet, it’s the littlest of creatures which
unnerve me. While I’m busy watching the garden grow, these critters are watching
Every time a toad
or a mouse
hops out from under a tall plant, I scream. I know I shouldn’t let these
seemingly harmless creatures startle me, but it’s a knee-jerk reaction. And in
my defense, one time it wasn’t a toad or mouse. It was a snake.
And it slithered against my legs as I knelt on the ground picking green beans.
Talk about an embarrassing garden moment! I jumped up and
ran faster than a sprinter leaving the starting block. Oh, how that must have
looked to my neighbors (are they watching me too)! But that’s not, by far, my
most embarrassing garden moment.
Project Runway Gardening Fashion – Fail!
You see, I grew up in the suburbs where driveways and walks
provided plenty of dry travel. I never realized how much dew the morning grass
could hold. Upon purchasing rural property, I quickly realized my desire to don
shorts and sneakers on a hot, summer morning left my shoes wringing wet.
So instead, I opted for a shorts and boots combo. Now this
was long before sexy country singers made wearing boots with shorts
fashionable. I may have been ahead of my time, but it was still a major fashion
faux pas. Nonetheless, I figured my garden provided plenty of privacy. I mean,
who’s in the garden other than me (and the critters), right?
I couldn’t have been more wrong. You see, I live along a
former state route where every house is connected to properties which range in
size from a couple acres to large farms. At first, we only knew our close
neighbors – those who lived in the houses on either side of us or directly
across the street. Over time, we eventually met neighbors who lived farther
down the road.
One day, I had the opportunity to meet one of these
neighbors. As I introduced myself, this old farmer smiled and said “Oh, so
that’s your name. We’ve all been calling you the “Boot Lady.”
“The Boot Lady,” I repeated quizzically.
“Yeah,” he chuckled. “Because you wear boots with shorts.”
As my face turned red, I realized my private little corner
of the world wasn’t so private. My fashion faux pas had not gone unnoticed by
my neighbors. I guess that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It made me realize
that whether it be a toad, a pair of raccoon babies or the local farming community
– whenever we garden, we’re never really alone.