Saturday, May 20, 2006

"Over the Hedge" in Blacksburg

[Preface: I was thinking about the pretend news we've been getting and the feel-good fluff that passes as news. I just wrote about the RT and its contribution to such silliness. And I thought it would be fun to write a parody of what that paper (and many other news outlets)deem newsworthy these days. Here goes.]

I thought about going to see "Over the Hedge." But it would be too painful to watch. We live "Over the Hedge" every day. Our backyard lives go something like this recent day. "You know it's a bad day when you're getting the 'finger' from a squirrel as it tears up your garden," said my husband. (I can't stop laughing. Even he laughs.)

"You put the spinach in too soon," I advised. This is not the best thing to say when your guy has just sewn the seed. "Nah, it's not too soon," says the boss. "Early spinach can go in much sooner." (I know I'm wrong here. And I truly know little to nothing about growing vegetables.) "Besides," I say, "we --I admit this is the 'imperial we'--forgot to get the marigolds for the garden perimeter." That usually discourages smaller wildlife somewhat.

"I planted green onion seeds instead," he replied. But the onions are only seeds, not large bedding plants, I thought. And when we use them, they seem to work. At this point I don't really want to be right. The poor guy loves his garden and lovingly tends to it year after year. It makes me smile to see how much he loves caring for the yard. You really have to love it.

With these varmints, you have to either laugh or cry. Who could forget his previous battles with critters? The neighbors' cats do their search-and-destroy, year after year tearing up flower beds, and even some years the vegetable patch. We hope they like the chili pepper we sprinkled in the garden, just for them (Mmmmmmm); but, unfortunately, the squirrels aren't buying it.

The bold and prolific squirrels must know George W. Bush because they've called their initiative: Leave No Flower Bed or Flower Pot Behind. (The cats' initiative is called: Leave No Turd Behind.") And sure enough the squirrels had already started to mess with our resident gardner. "That squirrel was just lying there on his back among the seeds I planted, taunting me, he said." "It was wiggling around having a great time, uprooting all my work."

One year (and this is a true story), bunnies (or rather cottontails) were the scourge. They holed up under a neighbors deck. And every time they thought someone wasn't looking they scrambled over to exfoliate the lettuce, and even the peas. They taunted the hubby so badly that I thought my resident crop tender would give up suburban gardening once and for all. Eventually, the "bunnies" got so used to seeing him standing in the window and going "shoo" (how I now regret making him sit through "Out of Africa" that last time), they came to expect him. The little booger noses would eat and eat, and he would say "shoo."

One day a "bunny" did his strip-the-garden thing. Then it turned toward the house and scampered up two the window, where it just sat staring at the house until my husband appeared in the window to shoo him away. You've got to wonder, just who is "conditioning" whom here?

But I digress. Squirrels are still frolicking in our yard. And we've been bested this season. Maybe next year. The hubby is now making me a chocolate cake (what a guy!). And I think this is pretty terrific...far better than spinach.