Who’s In The Garden: You’re Never Really Alone When Gardening

By Laura Miller | April 10, 2020
by Laura Miller
April 10, 2020

My garden sits at the very back of our long and narrow property. It’s far from the road, my neighbor’s houses, the kids, the phone…you get the picture. It’s my quiet little sanctuary where I can turn dirt and seeds into food for my family and temporarily forget about the problems of the real world. At least, I’d like to think my garden is a quiet, private place. The truth is, it’s a hot spot for wildlife. And I’ve experienced some very unforgettable moments in the garden.

It Seems Eyes are Everywhere”¦

So who’s in the garden when you’re not looking? It seems eyes are everywhere. I’ve looked up to find a coyote, fox and skunks in close proximity. For years, I’ve shared my compost bin with an opossum and groundhogs. And the rattling up in the trees is sometimes a pair of raccoon babies, watching me as I pull weeds. Yet, it’s the littlest of creatures which unnerve me. While I’m busy watching the garden grow, these critters are watching me.

Every time a toad or a mouse hops out from under a tall plant, I scream. I know I shouldn’t let these seemingly harmless creatures startle me, but it’s a knee-jerk reaction. And in my defense, one time it wasn’t a toad or mouse. It was a snake. And it slithered against my legs as I knelt on the ground picking green beans.

Talk about an embarrassing garden moment! I jumped up and ran faster than a sprinter leaving the starting block. Oh, how that must have looked to my neighbors (are they watching me too)! But that’s not, by far, my most embarrassing garden moment.

Project Runway Gardening Fashion – Fail!

You see, I grew up in the suburbs where driveways and walks provided plenty of dry travel. I never realized how much dew the morning grass could hold. Upon purchasing rural property, I quickly realized my desire to don shorts and sneakers on a hot, summer morning left my shoes wringing wet.

So instead, I opted for a shorts and boots combo. Now this was long before sexy country singers made wearing boots with shorts fashionable. I may have been ahead of my time, but it was still a major fashion faux pas. Nonetheless, I figured my garden provided plenty of privacy. I mean, who’s in the garden other than me (and the critters), right?

I couldn’t have been more wrong. You see, I live along a former state route where every house is connected to properties which range in size from a couple acres to large farms. At first, we only knew our close neighbors – those who lived in the houses on either side of us or directly across the street. Over time, we eventually met neighbors who lived farther down the road.

One day, I had the opportunity to meet one of these neighbors. As I introduced myself, this old farmer smiled and said “Oh, so that’s your name. We’ve all been calling you the “Boot Lady.”

“The Boot Lady,” I repeated quizzically.

“Yeah,” he chuckled. “Because you wear boots with shorts.”

As my face turned red, I realized my private little corner of the world wasn’t so private. My fashion faux pas had not gone unnoticed by my neighbors. I guess that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It made me realize that whether it be a toad, a pair of raccoon babies or the local farming community – whenever we garden, we’re never really alone.

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