The lovely ladies who work in the office beside my garden came and told me late yesterday that they had seen a rat as big as a cat scamper brazenly across the deck in broad daylight. Now I’m hoping this is more of a fishing type story. You know the kind – “you should have seen it –
it was this >……………………………………………………………….< big!”
Having said that, I’ve had my suspicions for a while, but didn’t want to admit it to myself. This year has been hard enough with illness in spring, a festive season at a critical time, rust in the garlic, blight in the tomatoes and now RATS!!! There’s powdery mildew too, but that is the least of my worries and I tend to find it doesn’t kill my plants – just slows them down and when the weather cools down again the plants perk back up. Sometimes it is possible to worry too much about the small things in a garden. If only I just had small things to worry about.
If this was my first season gardening I would be so despondent and would probably throw in the trowel, and head for the nearest produce store for my leafy greens. It doesn’t feel like an enjoyable hobby, it is a full scale battle and every day I go out there and wonder ‘what next?’ But I’m still getting a harvest and at the end of the day there is always next season. Although I haven’t written this one off just yet, there is still fight in me. I worked hard on this garden, I won’t give up easily.
Fortunately my first growing season ever was one of those elusive perfect seasons, where everything grew well, the harvest was spectacular, the weather was ideal and the pests stayed well away. I was smitten and so a little hiccup like this disaster of a season isn’t going to defeat me. I’m a gardener and I’ve gardened in the rain before – that’s how tough I am. I will continue to search for a repeat of that perfect season, I know it is out there. Bring it on!
So now I have to decide what to do about these bloomin rats, because there is sure to be more than one. Hubby the Un-Gardener said he could get a gun. I said no. He is a city slicker at heart, and to be honest him taking pot shots around my garden is more likely to result in exploding pumpkins, pierced irrigation hoses and numerous near misses. But he wants to be the farmer-type person like all our friends and neighbours. I won’t be solving my rat problem with a gun.
I’m not sure the catch and release option is ideal as no one wants someone else’s rats and to be honest the thought of a cage of rats in the back of the car as I travel great distances to relieve my situation makes me feel a little squeamish!
I could set a trap and have the greedy little bug-gers break their necks as they are drawn to the peanut butter disguised device with a false expectation of a gardener endorsed treat, like a house warming gift. Then BOOM! Surprise. “you’re not welcome here.” But then I’d be confronted with the fact I’d actually had a hand in their demise and would have their stiff corpses to deal with in the morning. I’m a peace loving gardener. I bring things into life. I don’t kill things, well except weeds, slugs, snails, caterpillars and aphids…. Ok not so peace loving, but there is a line in the sand somewhere.
I could poison them – like a silent assassin. Offering them delightful treats – then they get a tummy ache and go off and die. I don’t get to see a thing. But then this is rather guilt inspiring. What if something else eats the dying rat and gets sick? We don’t have too many creatures like that around here that eats rats, and the thought of whatever big sharped tooth creature that would be is the stuff of nightmares.
But I need to make a decision, and soon. Last night we had our very first corn cobs for tea and it was so very good. Then I tossed and turned all night with the thought swimming in my head that rats could be out there right now, eating my corn! This fills me full of anger. It is my corn and I will eat it. The rats need to go.
Come again soon – Good things do happen in my garden too.
Sarah the Gardener : o)