Just When I Thought I Was Out of the Woods

I set a goal this year, that if I were still living in the same house as I have for the past fifteen years that I would plant an award winning garden, I neglected the Monet Vision for two years and have been paying the price in tired muscles, weary joints and the latest, cellulitis. What I forgot over those twenty four months was that the same plot is loaded with sleeper cells that get angry when I don’t provide them with luscious annuals to feed on.

This year’s trip to the nursery to buy flowers was a joy, but very short. The instant I walked through the door into the green house I spotted a flash of color at the furthest point away from where I stood. It was the color I wanted in the Monet Vision. Before I knew what the flower was I saw the theme for a picture outside my kitchen window. The two colors were a flashy bright golden orange and a very deep bright sunny yellow, and they were marigolds. I will suffer looking at yellow just to deter the rabbits, I thought to myself. There is nothing I hate more than declaring war on rabbits. Rabbits look upon my annual plantings like I do looking at a box of Fannie May chocolate cremes.

To add spice to our lives, my beautiful wife planted a large pot with a spike, encircled by yellow marigolds encircled by moss roses. It sits boldly on our front porch next to our front door. A couple of nights ago, she called me out to see something. “Look,” she said, “what is digging in my pot?” I wanted to laugh, but knew better. What I saw was a trail of rich black dirt scattered all about the porch leading to a very round and pronounced hole at the base of our spike. “This not a rabbit,” I said, “it looks more like the work of a ground squirrel.”

“We have to put something around it,” we meaning me, she said. I took the watering can from her hand and poured the entire two gallons down the hole. Nothing came out. I expected to see a drowning stripped squirrel come out gasping for air. Nothing happened.

A couple of days have passed during which time I spotted a rabbit in the middle of the Monet Vision. I jumped out of my easy chair and chased him out of the yard. Upon returning from the chase I saw what he was coming for. I planted a single Black Eyed Susan almost ready to bloom next to our new rose bush. I had pictured this one plant seeding into a large mass of yellow with dark brown centers backing up my Stella Dora lilly patch. This is not to be because the mature plant had become a stub poking out of the ground. Now I am mad, I said to myself. I have two different adversaries to fight at the same time, as well as a very unhappy wife.

In past years I posted a series of garden stories titled “Wabbit Wars.” In these stories I picture myself as Elmer Fudd of long ago cartoon days. Elmer constantly battled with Bugs Bunny who raided his carrot patch often. Elmer had a lisp and couldn’t say “rabbit”, he said “wabbit.” Therein the title “Wabbit Wars”. I try to use my wits to outsmart the rabbits, while Elmer used his shotgun, but he always missed the mark.

My mind will go crazy in the next few weeks as I begin the battle on two fronts. One against Osama Bin Wabbit, and the other against Mohammad Squirelsalam. Two sleeper cells who have been awakened to the odor of newly planted fresh delicious cuisine that I have named squirrel-rabbit food.

It is not fair that I should finally open my wallet to a rush of moths flying out to pay for plant materials that are the dashes of color on my garden palette to form the “2021 Monet Vision- Durango Gold,” only to find rabbit scat in place of my beautiful Black Eyed Susan. Perhaps if I catch and kill these terrorists and place their heads on a spike at the entrance to my yard they will hop around the perimeter and not invade the heart of the scene.

New Cartoonist Joins GJP

Budding young artist Cub Scout Ben has joined the staff at Grumpa Joe’s Place as a contributing artist. CS Ben has natural talent and wit that comes from living on a farm in Michigan. Ben regularly shovels horse manure as he helps his mom clean stalls  No doubt he will want to join the Wabbit Wars series as an embedded reporter chronicling the escapades of the terror network of Wabbits, cats, and squirrels infiltrating Grumpa Joe’s Monet Vision.

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