Skunks and Tubers and Earthworms… Oh My!

It’s been a pretty full week…  LLM’s sanctuary is no more – he spent the past several days at my place before picking up and heading east to White Sulphur Springs.  He bought a little house over there to fix up and flip.  Something to do, I guess.  I feel kind of bad for him – he’s totally lost without the homestead.  I sure hope he finds his peace soon.  Breaks my heart to see him so lost.

In the five days I had him here, we managed to get a lot done in the garden.  Two more tillings, more rock pulling and we even planted a couple of things that will take the cooler nights.

The first thing we needed to do was draw out a plan.  The plot’s so much smaller than the garden we’ve had the past couple years. Honestly, it’s about 10% of the size.  About 286 square feet (22 x 13) versus the 2,400 feet at the homestead (80 x 30).  And the garden at the homestead didn’t even include the orchard!   So the plan, we decided, needed to be pretty intensive so I could get the most out of it as possible.

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We got the potatoes and onions planted, and started gathering the needed items for an electric fence.  I had to come to grips with the fact that I live in a rental house, so putting up a six-foot fortress around the plot to keep out the critters was probably not going to happen.  The landlord had some posts and some wire tape, so we just had to go get a power source and some insulators at the ranch supply store.  But by the time we got back the rain was steadily coming down so we didn’t get the fence put up.  But it’s supposed to be nice on Wednesday, so I’ll give it a go without LLM.  If I can pull it off, I know he’ll be proud.  🙂  (Heck, I’ll be proud!)

We also started some zebra tomato seeds, squash seeds and marigold seeds in a little greenhouse set-up.  Probably a little late to be starting them – but we’ll see what happens.  Picked up some other seeds while we were at the nursery on Saturday getting the onion sets and the seed potatoes.  I think (I hope) it’s going to be a good little garden this year.  I’ll do my best to weigh in the produce I take out of my paltry little 286 square feet.

This morning as we were getting ready to leave the house, we noticed an outrageous number of earthworms and night crawlers all over the drive.  It had rained all night long – quite heavily at times – and it was enough to wake those little guys up and bring them out to soak up the spring rain.   I think it’s supposed to rain again tonight – if it does, my plan is to head out to the drive super early and pick up as many worms as possible and transplant them to the garden.  I love worms!  They make both me and my garden happy!  Over the weekend we watched at the kitchen door as a magpie hopped across the lawn, pulling worms out of the ground at every hop.  I knew I had a lot of worms here – but I didn’t realize I had this many!  Let’s hear it for healthy soil!!!

And the skunk…

Well, the good news is that no one got sprayed.  Thank goodness.  After stopping at the ranch supply store yesterday we headed down to LLM’s sister’s place in the Bitterroot to say hi and see what they were up to.  While I was in the greenhouse with his sister, catching up and talking plants and chickens, LLM was out in the field with his brother-in-law and nephews working on getting some irrigation pipe laid across the pasture and pulled through a culvert under the drive to feed directly into their garden plot.  Well, when they got to the point of pushing the pipe through the culvert, Gary thought he was hitting something that was hanging up the pipe.  It quickly “became apparent” that what the hang up was, was a skunk that had taken up residence in the culvert.  So this started a 45-minute adventure of man versus skunk.  They figured if they turned the irrigation pump on and stopped up the downhill side of the culvert, that it would flood and the skunk would come out the other end where they could shoot it.  If you can believe it, what ended up happening was that the poor thing was so terrified that it refused to exit the culvert and preferred, instead, to drown in the pipe.  It was really quite sad, and totally astonished us.  Poor little guy – his only crime was being smelly.  It would be so much easier to hate a skunk if they weren’t so darn cute.  They have the most adorable faces, but gosh they just smell so bad.  😦  Poor little guys – what a lot in life, huh?

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