VACATION ODYSSEY, PART III: chipmunks, weasels, goats and pee.

This is how a weasel eats a chicken: IT BITES OFF THE HEAD AND SUCKS OUT THE GUTS. I am not making this up.

I know such cool nature facts because while on Cape  Cod, we are staying with our friends, one of whom is an actual Farmer. A weasel ate two of her chickens, and damaged little Rooster Boy. So Rooster Boy has been living in the house at night, where he sleeps soundly in a crate right next to the Diva.

The other varmint problem, according to the Farmer: chipmunks have been chowing on her lettuce and arugula. She put up fencing, which they chewed through. She electrified the fence, so now they dig under it. She has resorted to peeing around the perimeter just hoping to ward them off with her scent. But she doesn’t really think that will work. She just does that out of spite.

I spent yesterday helping the Farmer tend to her crops. She grows all kinds of vegetables, but her main crops are lettuce, arugula, basil, and flowers. She sells the basil and her chicken eggs to local restaurants and the salad greens and flower arrangements to markets.

I ended up gardening because Hot Firefighter Husband’s extended family trekked down to the National Seashore for the annual day on the ocean, which means it’s time for my annual rant against the National Seashore. I may be the only person on Cape Cod who prefers to ignore its siren call. That’s because in order to get there, you have to:

1. Drive for either 45 minutes or two hours, depending on traffic.

2. Park in a crowded concrete lot about a 1/2 mile away from the shore.

3. Descend a death-defying wooden set of stairs that lowers you down the dune, to the beach, while carrying an ice chest, beach chairs, towels, boogie boards, and whichever children have leached onto your back in fear.

4. Swim in frigid water that’s cold enough to accommodate the nearby seals.

5. Hope those seals don’t attract the Great White Sharks lurking nearby.

6. Leave the beach exactly 11 minutes after getting settled because the children are freezing and you forgot to pack snacks.

WHEEEEE! Bring on the weeds. Of course, I’m spoiled because I live in Florida where the water is warm and I can order a gin and tonic as I amble through the sand.

So: I sent Hot Firefighter Husband to the shore with the kids – it’s his family, anyway – and spent the morning gardening. And let me tell you, I was SO FUCKING HAPPY. I spent hours pulling weeds, laying down straw, and drinking water from a hose. I ate an apple from a tree. The Farmer’s plot of land is inside a wildlife sanctuary adjacent to a marine estuary, and we could smell the tides as we worked. I GOT ACTUAL DIRT UNDERNEATH MY NAILS. I could totally be a farmer. Except, you know, for the working-your-fingers-to-the-bone-while-barely-subsisting part.

After four hours of work, happily exhausted, I returned home and was eating some lunch when I started feeling strange heart palpitations and my breathing turned weird. For a moment I thought I had worked too hard, or that anxiety was flooding through my body. But then I realized I had been so excited about gardening that I forgot to take my Cymbalta and my hormones. MY BAD. I fixed that immediately. Still, it occurred to me that if I worked outside all day, maybe I wouldn’t even need Cymbalta.

And for the second year in a row, I went to bed thinking of ways to redirect our lives – live more simply, extend our relationship with nature, and maybe even grow a tomato or two. It’s not enough, I realize, to enjoy this lifestyle for one week a year. I need to incorporate it into our suburban existence; how else can we benefit from its spiritual, physical, and psychological gifts?

As I finish this piece, the clucking chickens are pecking at their corn and a cardinal sits atop a fence post in front of a wildflower patch. The crickets hum their morning chorus, and the Farmer tromps about watering this and cutting back that. The Tyrant’s awake but she’s not wearing any pants, so I’m going to sign off before a mosquito bites her butt and I have to hear about it all day. Also, I have to get dressed. I have a date with some baby goats. Some kids, you know, are better than others. Get it? HAHAHAHA! I love this place.

4 responses to VACATION ODYSSEY, PART III: chipmunks, weasels, goats and pee.

  1. Mile Poynton says:

    “To have a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” — Audrey Hepburn

    Nice post, Trish. I didn’t know anything even grew in Mass., what with the Pilgrims almost starving to death and all that. Your Farmer friend should give thanks she’s not dealing with insects. Then, she should get a cat and a dog. End of weasel and chipmunk problem. Electric fence? WTF!? Only in the USA!

    Come on down and do some real gardening with me, and enjoy a real beach with your family. Ever heard of jaboticaba? Just planted one!

    Stay dirty. But bathe often. Luv ya, babe!

    • tricia says:

      I approved your comment very quickly so I could rush to google “jaboticaba.” Can’t wait to come visit! Husband and I JUST talked about squeezing it into the budget! Love you back.

      • Mile Poynton says:

        You know, another thing you wrote about taking Cymbalta… I used to suffer from acid reflux for years and took Prevacid to keep it in check. When I moved here in 2005 I ran out of pills one day and waited. I’m still waiting. No acid reflux.

        • tricia says:

          Okay, dude, if you’re trying to get us to relocate to Costa Rica, that’s probably a stretch. But a girl can dream….

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