Lynna Clark: Living off the land

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 12, 2018

Did you miss the holiday? No, not Mother’s Day. You can’t miss that if you watch television at all. Every jewelry store on the planet makes sure to remind us. Last Saturday was not only Cinco de Mayo, the day for which we stock up on limes and avocados and don’t know why.

It was also Naked Gardening Day… according to our cousin Michael. The event seems to be an important one to him as he always reminds us of it on Facebook. Thankfully we don’t live near the man, as we choose not to observe the holiday. Our garden is not that big. We did however get our binoculars out and keep them handy in case our neighbors decided to celebrate.

Though we didn’t observe any tiptoeing through the tulips, we did discover a family of groundhogs. The daddy is huge and looks like a bear when he stands on his hind legs. Not like a Kodiak but more like a miniature brown bear with a long tail. His fur was reddish and fluffy but I was not fooled by his cuteness. A few summers ago either he or one of his cohorts stripped the leaves off my mom-in-law’s tomato plants leaving only a naked stalk.

The daddy groundhog’s wife is gray and smaller. She tends to make her way over to our yard when she notices the truck is not in the carport. The ground there is soft and dusty and she enjoys rooting around in it for some reason. I nearly soiled my undies the other morning when I stepped outside unaware of her presence. She stood on hind legs as if questioning my being in her space. So I did what any normal person would do. I barked like a dog until she waddled home on her short chubby legs.

Sorry. I have no right to make fun of anyone’s short chubby legs. [Yet another reason to refrain from observing Naked Gardening Day.] I must add she was surprisingly fast for such a plump creature. She scooted her fluffy body under the neighbor’s shed and peeked out at me. Even with binoculars I couldn’t see through the lattice where she hid. I envisioned her gathering her one pup near her side and warning that if a person acts that strange, especially in broad daylight, they probably have rabies.

Hopefully she will not be back. This is the first time David has tried having a little garden in a long time. All he wants is a good tomato sandwich, a few cucumbers for pickling, and a couple zucchinis to make bread. Is that too much to ask? It only cost us $537 to build a raised bed, haul in good dirt, pay the kid next door to help us unload it, and buy the few plants.

Oh and cages for the tomatoes. It makes me laugh at how tall they are compared to the tiny plants inside. David looked at them the other day and spoke with his dry humor. “Somebody has high hopes.”

Yep. We are determined to eat something from our backyard this season… living off the land and all. I just hope it’s not groundhog.

Lynna Clark lives in Salisbury.

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