The Compassionate Gardener

Those who know me (and if you are one of the five people reading this, I'm sure you do) know that I want to be a farmer when I grow up. Okay, maybe not a farmer, but I have spent the last 18 months daydreaming about selling our East Memphis home and moving to the country... not the boondocks, but a good chunk of land within a 15-20 minute drive from downtown. Limiting, I know.

The only thing more limiting than my parameters is the snail's pace at which I am prepping our current home for the market. I was off to a steady start, but as momentum faded my farmer dreams got a little more realistic. So, I'm an urban farmer... some might say gardener, but whatever.

This year, I took my growing goals to a new level (and if I ever get around to chronicling the process, I will post it here). I was so proud of my winter seedlings and early spring transplants. The list of planted garden veggies kept growing and eventually I added flowers in the mix. Two raised beds expanded to containers and then more raised beds. Before this year, I'd only grown a handful of things and had relatively easy success. Now, I was managing a veritable farmer's market in my backyard (and front porch) and everything started off so well!

...until the bugs invaded.

I tried a few natural remedies to rid my beautiful plants before a concluded that the only thing that works better than a homemade neem oil spray is hand-picking the little stupid jerks and feeding them to my chickens! Problem solved!

...until the chipmunks invaded.

I tried every natural chipmunk deterrent the internet has to offer. I filled in their holes and spread red pepper flakes, but that didn't work. Then, I sprinkled a mixture of cornstarch and cayenne in their favorite spots and they burrowed right through it. So, I resorted to placing bricks and large rocks on holes and around delicate plants to protect their roots. It worked, but come on! It's called a cabbage patch, not a rock garden! I'm growing vegetables and flowers here... or at least I was before the cutest little assholes pests in the animal kingdom took over!

I really didn't want to harm them, but the tension was mounting. So, I reached for the trusty Havahart live trap before resorting to more drastic measures. Thank goodness for Havahart! Actually, those little buggers should be thanking their lucky stars that I have a heart and for Havahart! 

I trapped a chipmunk on the second day of trying. Yassssss! Annnnd because I'm such a compassionate person, I set him up in temporary quarters, in hopes of catching his family before relocating one lonely little asshole chipmunk. I decided to place the enclosure next to the live trap to see if I could draw in more of his posse. And ya know what? It worked. I trapped a total of THREE before I could even complete this post! While I might not be moving out to the country any time soon, I know another family of three that is going there straight away!

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