Wednesday, July 16, 2008

My Corn “Harvest”

"How rarely Reason guides the stubborn Choice,
Rules the bold Hand, or prompts the suppliant Voice,
How Nations sink, by darling Schemes oppres'd,
When Vengeance listens to the Fool's Request."
Samuel Johnson, The Vanity of Human Wishes:

What the hell? The corn in the Veggie Garden was almost ripe on Tuesday, July 8. Working nearby on Saturday, July 12, I stopped by the Veggie Garden and found the corn had all been “harvested” by some pest. Yesterday, on July 15, I took these pictures, and salvaged exactly three ears that had remained untouched. We’re working on a design for a decent fence to keep rabbits and possibly gophers out. But this may have been done by birds. Just how far must we go to enjoy the fruits of our labors and prevent other creatures from stealing it from us?

This is shaping up to be a tough year. The rains never came – a fool’s request. Everything outside is burning up like brimstone in hellfire. It’s taken a few years, but I have learned from the Water Conservation Garden about what constitutes a sustainable garden in my climate, as it continues to revert to the ancient deserts and dry sea-beds that were here before us. From my volunteer work, I learned about how living green is more than trendy, it’s survival. I learned that I can live here in harmony with nature if I just keep simplifying, slowing down, and discarding the vanity that I can’t seem to outgrow no matter how old I get. But my corn, dammit! They took my corn!

Because of the contiguous border towns of Tijuana, Baja California on the Mexican side; and San Diego, California on the US side, each year my city is visited by more people from other countries than any other city in the world. I’m outside the City Limits, but within the County of San Diego. There is enough water available within our region to support a population of 10,000, and about 1.5 million people live here. The ecosystem is changing too. As our failed corn harvest illustrates, the other creatures who live among us are trying to figure out how to live sustainably and adapt to the changing times just like I am.

While we spray our kitchen gardens with poison and wait patiently for the fires to ignite in celebration of autumn, we fill our swimming pools and ponds, we use more water on our yards each year than the amount of annual rainfall in Portland, Oregon. We nod in wise concurrence when told to conserve water, with no hint from the Bold hand of our public officials that water will be rationed within the year. Let no darling conservation schemes oppress us! Let no reason cloud our unsustainably stubborn choices! And let Vengeance leave my corn alone!

8 comments:

AJK said...

I'm so sorry about your loss(of corn) but I'm glad to have found a fellow urban gardener. We keep losing our blackberries to the birds, those darn Mocking Birds...they sing so nicely too.

Katie said...

It's a scary time, and water waste is going to be the hotbutton issue VERY quickly. Lawns are so 1800s...

walk2write said...

Did you have something shiny (like a pie tin) hanging near your corn? That's an old-timers' method for keeping the winged critters away, and it usually works. I feel guilty about all the water I waste!

Melinda said...

Bummer! I would guess it would be birds as well. It is so hot that I'm glad you don't blame them too much! Maybe you could set up a bird feeder and a bird bath, and lure them to the other side of the garden.

Btw, I've added you to the Growing Challenge. ; )

kate smudges said...

Ah, vengeance ... your poor corn. It sounds near impossible to keep other creatures out of your garden.

When will people ever learn that they need to practice water conservation not just pay lip service to it.

Lucy said...

I've just put up a post about pictures from other people's blogs which have especially stuck in my memory.

Amongst these, I've mentioned your one of the roots pushing up through the ground.

I can't work out how to make links to photos on blogs in situ so I'm wondering if you would mind if I copied it onto my blog - together with a link to yours.

I'd be grateful if you would let me know.

Lucy

Martha in Michigan said...

I empathize. Bunnies wiped out my beans -- not just the beans themselves, but all the leaves, as well. I doubt the stems can regenerate all by themselves. Before I sow a second crop, closer to fall weather, I'll put up taller fencing.

And then there are the nasty, brutish, unredeemable Japanese beetles laying waste to my roses again! I may as well abandon all but the double knock-outs.

BTW, I got myself a Nut Wizard, and it is the greatest thing since the rototiller! Picks up my fallen walnuts, apples, and pears in a trice. Absolutely worth the $50 I resisted paying for a couple of years.

Weeping Sore said...

Hi Lucy,
Feel free to copy anything from my blog, including pictures. I kinda like people who aren't tech savvy. It means you're more interested in the real world than the virtual world. Fortunately, I'm married to my Tech Support Guy, so I've got the best of both worlds.
BTW, I enjoy your quirky blog!
Weeping