Tuesday, September 20, 2016

She Bear Hit The Lettuce

Wild animals owned this land before we arrived here.  They called it home then and continue to own it now.  We have had a woodchuck dig a den under one of the stone square walls.  Many times rabbits have nested among the roots of our Pinxter bushes.  We thought that we had shifted the balance in our favor with the wire cages.  Imagine our horror as we watched baby rabbits run right through the cage sides.  The 2 X 4 inch openings in the wire had absolutely no effect on bunnies.  The solid sided barrier was fashioned from the metal skirting that came with the old beat mobile home we placed nearby.  Large rabbits could easily jump over the side walls but the wire keeps them from eating our lettuce.  We thought that we had a fool proof system to exclude animals from our lettuce patch.

In the past coyote pups have used our shade covers as trampolines or tug of war toys.  This recent incursion was much more serious.  Becky had gone into the garden to harvest fresh lettuce for our lunch.  She attempted to replace the cage while still holding onto the lettuce.  Sensing her loss of balance, she deftly turned around so that she fell on her backside instead of on her arms and hands.  The collapsing wire cage slowed her descent and she found herself on her back in the bed with the lettuce and her feet outside.  Once she discovered she was not injured her mind went to the thought of me finding her reclining there in the lettuce patch.        

She was stuck there for some time unable to extricate herself.  Her feet were still on the stone path but there was no obvious way for the rest of her to join them.  Finally she was able sit up and pull herself up so that she was sitting on the solid metal barrier.  From that position she was able to move her knees onto the path and then stand.  Once again our luck prevented injury.  She gathered up her picked lettuce and headed back into the house.  Lunch was a little late, but it was delicious especially the lettuce!

This is the lettuce that she fell on.  It was watered, protected with a new cage and covered with shade cloth.  There may be a few bent leaves tomorrow but we expect to be able to continue harvesting lettuce here as if nothing had happened.

Our investment in these plants is more than one might expect.  Extreme shifts in our weather prevent lettuce seeds from germinating if simply planted outside for the entire growing season.  All of our lettuce plants are started in pots under florescent lights in the basement.  Soon after germination, the new plants are transplanted so that each pot contains a single plant.  When the time seems right they are transplanted again outside.  This process is repeated several times each summer so that we always have fresh young lettuce.  Becky was certain that her fall had ended these plants.  All that really mattered was that she was uninjured.  She is fine and if she finds this post humorous,  you get to read it.

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