reflections from the southeast PA rural underground

Friday, June 10, 2011

Salad Days

I went up to turn the water on at 5:30 am. This had become the usual routine. There hadn't been any rain for about three weeks. To say nothing of the August-like temperatures of high 90's in this first week of June. My vegetables, especially the salad greens, were surviving on a daily (and often nightly) dose of sprinkler and drip tape action. After making sure the potatoes were indeed getting a drink, i kept walking passed the deer fence to the edge of the woods. I stopped suddenly as i heard that familiar rustling of ground cover, not too far from where i stood. My heart beat faster and i tried to stay as still as possible. I knew they were there. One of them at least. As I stood there, filled with an excitement that never tires, waiting to catch a passing glimpse of the wood's most magical of creatures, i saw a white flash. I always seem to catch that first. The white tail of the Pennsylvania doe. Flickering upwards as they shift their bodies spasticaly, deciding if to run. They always run when spotted by a human. The question is how long will they tarry before leaping into action, stealthly and sleekly darting away from the outsider.

I had put the fence up because, like most vegetable growers, i did not want to see my potential profit eaten up by any of the various gourmands of the outdoor world. I even attached a low strand to deter groundhogs and racoons. For months now it had seemed to work. I thought of all this strategy as the does took their leave and i began to cut mesclun mix for the fifth week of the season. I'd be up over 20lbs if the stuff this week. Did they know what was just beyond their realm, waiting to be devoured just beyond two strands of easily passable rope fence? Had they touched their noses to the strands, as i had hoped, and gotten enough shock to create a different path around my acre? I cut and cut and figured i was lucky so far. Lucky to have had Kim to erect this light but sufficient boundary for my lettuces, mustards, and spinach. Lucky so far. But will they realize eventually that the strands are a mere 3 feet apart and only just over 4 feet high?

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