Gardening is a Passion

– Posted in: Pests, Plagues, and Varmints

Gardening is a passion. Have you ever heard someone say that and wonder what it means? Let me explain.

If you’ll remember one of my past entries I moaned about how I feared voles would eat all my corn seed. In spite of those fears I did plant the corn . . . and waited for it to sprout. Days went by and nothing seemed to happen. This was all feeling sickeningly like the previous year when I lost a lot of corn to the voles, so I dug up a small section of one row in search of seeds. I found no seed, and I did find a vole tunnel. The sight of that new vole tunnel confirmed my worst fears–a dirty little beast had eaten all my corn seed.

I was in a foul mood after that. I put out a trap baited with more corn seed, but no vole showed up. I could do nothing but stew in helplessness and frustration . . . until it came time to mow the lawn. I was driving the DR Brush Mower across the lawn when I noticed the tell tale rustle in the grass which gave away the hasty flight of a vole. My first inclination was to let him get away–in past years I always took special care to avoid killing the little creatures. But as I drove on by a little thought popped into my mind. “Why on earth are you letting that creature get away. That vile . . . that despicable . . . that thing ate your corn seed. Does that vole deserve anything more than an instant death sentence?”

Needless to say, I was of a different mind the second time I came around the lawn and saw the vole rustling through the grass. I turned off my course and deliberately ran the creature over. I had to run it over several time to make sure it was dead. (I didn’t kill it with the mower blades, I simply squashed it.)

The above is an example of gardening passion. Working with farmers I’ve had a few occasions where a mouse would go running by and the farmer would yell “Stomp on it! Stomp on it!” I, of course, wanted to do no such thing. Shooting a mouse, trapping a mouse, or poisoning a mouse are all somewhat gentlemanly methods of murder. Stomping always struck me as too vulgar and gross. I have some inhibition against feeling something living going squish under my feet. That is, until such creature eats my corn seed. So I can understand the farmers’ perspective, now.

This story wouldn’t be complete without me admitting that the vole was, in the end, somewhat exonerated. Most of my corn did sprout in the end. There are a few thin spots, but overall it came up well enough. All that passion wasted.

Other good news includes the fact that I seem to have overcome the aphid infestation on my cherry tree. This makes me feel very good. No more aphids. At least I’m good for something . . . aphid killing. Alas, but I’ve gone from one success to another crisis. Some vile and despicable deer has chomped off the ends of my cherry tree branches. Not satisfied with this, the said deer has taken to chomping off some branches from my full grown apple trees. This has me incensed. If the deer chomped off the top of my freshly planted baby–my most recent apple tree–I would probably go into an apoplectic fit, have an aneurysm, and die.

Well, maybe not quite that serious. But it feels like that. The fields are ripe with grass and the stinking deer have to come all the way down from the woods and cross the field, just so they can nibble on my trees!


Gardening is one of those things of such emotional extreme. I thought my corn wasn’t going to sprout and so I was very angry. Then my corn sprouted and I was very happy. None of my winter squash or cucumbers sprouted, so I am very sad again. In fact, I feel like I will be in a bad gardening mood for the rest of the year.

I have no more winter squash seed, so that is out of the question for this year. Nobody really cared for cooking it, so I suppose it isn’t a great loss. I still had some cucumber seeds left so I’ve started them indoors and will replant them outside. Maybe we will actually get some cucumbers for pickles. Maybe not.

About the Author

At age fifteen, Rundy decided he wanted to write for his living. He is currently working on a novel, although it is not the novel he started at fifteen. When not working on the novel, he might be riding his bike, feeding his chickens, helping his neighbors, messing around with web design and computers in general, or writing on his blog, which discusses other topics in addition to gardening. USDA Hardiness Zone: 4 AHS Heat Zone: 3 Location: rural; Southern Tier of NY Geographic type: foothills of Appalachian Mountains Soil Type: acid clay Experience level: advanced beginner Particular interests: fruits, vegetables, major landscaping, chickens and other poultry

When dealing with frost it is always best to be paranoid. In the spring never think it is too late for one more frost to come. And in the fall never think it too early.

~Rundy in Frost

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