Notes to my garden denizens

Feeding birds, planting asparagus – even sleeping at night – are hardly routine.

Mark Humphrey/AP/File
Nonbirds help themselves in Nashville, Tenn.

Memo to chipmunks, May 21: I surrender. Unconditionally. I don’t mind so much that you can leap onto feeders. It’s OK that you can unhook suet feeders, fling them to the ground, undo the latch, and drag off the suet. I don’t even mind that you don’t respect me enough to pretend to run off when I shout at you. But when I saw you today, leaping onto the hummingbird feeder, tipping it just so with your hind paws, and sipping that pink stuff out of the artificial flowers – that’s it. You win. I give up. 

Memo to whippoorwills, May 30:
I hesitate to mention this, especially since I haven’t heard you guys much since my childhood. But this screaming at night, at a rate of 56 cries per minute (I counted), is getting excessive. You, the owls, and the frogs are turning nighttime into quite the racket. 

I get that you’ve got this mating thing going, but 56 piercing cries a minute is a little desperate. If you really think it’s necessary, I suggest that you GET A ROOM. 

Memo to barn swallows, June 3 [­URGENT]: Enough with the divebombing every time we try to get into the house – or try to leave it, for that matter. (Great job on the nest, though. Who would have thought of building a nest stuck to one side of a porch light fixture?) Didn’t you notice that we stopped turning on that light after you began the nest? Now we can’t tell if it’s a neighbor or the local bear at the door at night. 

Notice any baby-bird-eating cats in this house? No. Seen any big snakes lately? No, again. The snakes are all in the basement. 

If you must divebomb someone, bomb the bear. With kind regards from the folks who live in your house.

Memo to deer, June 16: It took you longer than I figured to discover that the old family garden has been revived. By an amateur. Planting the asparagus crown and roots upside down at first was not a promising start. But did you really have to walk through the new bed? I mean, what’s the point? Wait a year or so and there will be good stuff for you to eat. 

For now, it’s just footprints in mulch. Have faith. Give these little plants a chance.

Apology to deer and memo to moose, June 17: I owe all the town deer a sincere apology. You did not trample my newly planted asparagus bed. You deer have delicate little hooves. The forensic evidence in this case shows a span of at least five inches. Our friend Lilian proposed the moose scenario, but Lilian lives in England, where she’s an expert on computers, stars (in the sky), and motorcycles. What could she possibly know about moose? But when Tom, who knows everything about wood, woods, and motorcycles, also mentioned moose, I reexamined the tracks. You deer are off the hook. As for you moose: We don’t mess with moose. Anything you want in that garden, just take it. Anything at all. Just spare the house. P.S. We brake for moose.

Memo to voles, June 18: Until now, I didn’t know you existed. But when I asked neighbors what animal would burrow through a freshly planted asparagus bed, drag all the roots to the surface, not eat a thing, then repeat down the row, voles were the No. 1 suspect. You must know that a great deal of effort went into planting that asparagus. Do you know what it’s like to be stepped on by a moose? Save yourself! If it’s a snack you want, try the feeder. You’d only have chipmunks to worry about.

P.S. I may be wrong. There is another suspect – my husband. When apprised of the havoc in the asparagus bed, a friend in Florida offered this: “I’m guessing Rob doesn’t like asparagus?”

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