Thursday, June 19, 2008

Snakes and Other Sounds

We get used to the strangest things.

The sound is barely audible, and very, very brief. But I hear it above all the cars, birds, dogs, planes, mowers, whatever is going on around the neighborhood—a garter snake escaping from under the garden’s black plastic as I approach. I can even tell which garden and the exact location of the snake, watching it slither quickly into the grass.

I start working the soil for a new plot, and I hear the low, quick sound of my neighbor’s horse quickly flapping his lips. From two hundred feet away, through several lines of densely packed evergreens, he knows I’m there. I know exactly where along the fence he is, too, although I can’t see him and I’m not sure how I can tell—nor how he can tell that yes, just this afternoon I bought a bag of carrots to share, still in the car…but he knows.

The neighbor’s dogs—on the other side, five hundred feet away---bark incessantly. They have eight dogs (they show them). I don’t even notice the sound, until my neighbor periodically yells at them to shut up. His barking is the annoyance, and it never works anyway, other than a second or two of silence before the dogs begin again.

Red-winged blackbirds tsk tsk continually. That does get irritating after a time. I know it won’t stop, however, nor can I get away from it, as the birds are telling others that I’m there and where I am. I watch them follow me as I move through the garden.

I check my strawberry patches---lots of berries, and many more on the way. Finally, fencing out rabbits and netting out birds has proven successful. I lift the net and pick the ripe berries—only to find that I’m now competing with ants and slugs for the fruit. Damn frustrating. I pick all the ripe berries before any more damage can be done. I’ll clearly have to stay on top of harvesting.

I check my broccoli---the largest plant is lying on its side, cut halfway through the stem at the ground. Rootworm. Great. Sigh.

I’m not fond of snakes. However, they don’t harm the plants, and they eat insects. They can stay.

And I don’t mind the sound anymore—I’m used to it.


1 comment:

carrie said...

Perhaps you could introduce the snakes to your strawberry plants. They like to eat grubs along with other garden nasties.