Monday, June 19, 2006

Midnight in the Garden - It's Good and It's "Evil"

Okay, so it wasn't midnight actually. It was 2:30 a.m., then 3:50 a.m., and then 4:40 a.m. We came, we saw, we tried to conquer.

The good news is that it's only a single armadillo. The bad news is that he has his main burrow under the shed...and he is extremely persistent.

Waking up at 2:24 a.m. due to normal insomnia (I just quit taking my nightly allergy pills, assuming - corrrectly - that my body would help me in this endeavor without having to set an alarm), I grabbed a flashlight, stuck on my gardening Birks and ventured by myself into the jungle of the garden at night. I couldn't hear the snuffling that the armadillos are reputed to make as they forage, so I simply walked slowly towards the back, listening carefully as I went. About halfway to the back I thought I heard some movement and turned on the flashlight. With very little trouble, my culprit, a full grown armadillo, was caught in the spotlight, which he made no real effort to avoid.

I followed him cautiously for a while, then decided to call out the troops. Back in the house, Becker was alert and ready for action; Prairiewolf took a little more time, but he was game too. In short order, all three of us were back to the chase. Again, it was easy to spotlight Mr. Armadillo; this time we encouraged Becker to go investigate.

As soon as he realized what we wanted him to do, Becker enthusiastically bounded over to take a look...and Mr. Armadillo went running for safety, with Becker in immediate, hot pursuit. Which is how we discovered the burrow under the shed.

I couldn't get back to sleep, so Becker and I went back out 2 more times last night. Both times Mr. Armadillo was busy foraging in my garden beds. Both times Becker enthusiastically gave chase. Since the chase led inevitably through the middle of my ferns and butterfly gingers the second time, and through a thickly planted perennial bed the third time, the cure is potentially as bad or worse than the "disease," but I'm hoping that Mr. Armadillo will get tired of being chased and move on to quieter feeding grounds.

At least we learned that there's only one, and where he has his main burrow. One way or the other, we are going to make this garden a less hospitable environment for him...I don't use a mechanical roto-tiller; I'm darned if I want an out-of-control natural one working in my garden every night either!

By the way, the first cardinal started singing at 5:08 a.m. this morning. It was pitch dark and beautiful.

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