Friday, June 13, 2008

Rude Awakening

2Blowhards led me to this New York times article on people learning the hard way that Nature gives no quarter.

City people tend to take up gardening in their yards or at their summer houses with a generous attitude toward summer’s bounty, ready to live and let live. The woodchucks want a few zucchini? No problem, there are enough to go around. The rabbits are decimating the lettuce? Get a humane trap and move them elsewhere.

Soon enough, though, they realize it’s not that simple. The animals do not take one or two tomatoes as if they’re in a greenmarket in the Hamptons; they go down the row sampling, so that everything is ruined. Or they uproot and destroy a crop, without eating a thing, in their search for insects and grubs.

Eventually some people snap, like this lady who encountered a porcupine in her garden.

And when she saw it, “strolling along, munching away,” she could stand no more.
“He was after my carrot crop,” she explains. “I said, I just cannot handle this anymore. He sees me and tries to wander off, but they can’t run very fast. I got him with the sledgehammer. He tried to dodge me, but I got him on the head.”

Others try to be humane and fail, looking silly in the process.

Jessica DuLong, a Brooklyn writer and marine engineer, managed to grow a fruit-bearing cherry tree on her roof, but even in the wake of what she calls the Great Cherry Massacre of 2007 she was not interested in punishing the squirrels who preyed on it. She trapped one in a live animal trap and set out to Prospect Park with good intentions.

Unfortunately, the squirrel had no way of knowing this. It threw itself against the walls of the cage with such ferocity it cut itself; it defecated; it ran back and forth inside the long cage in a frenzy so that the cage flipped up and down like a manic miniature seesaw. New Yorkers, seeing a fluffy tail in distress, yelled at the human involved.

“This entire class of preschool kids was out in one of their little preschool wagons, and the squirrel is looking rabid and bleeding at the mouth,” she says. “It was not what I had in mind when I started this humanitarian project.”

As someone who grew up on the edge of a very small town with badgers and gophers living in our yard (flushing out and killing gophers was a fine activity; just don't accidentally flush a badger), and who recently watched a deer eat out of a neighbor's bird feeder, I found most of this story hilarious, especially the naive tone with which it was written. Some of these people need to watch more Animal Planet and less Disney Channel. Wild animals are trying to survive, and are capable of great ingenuity, relentlessness and violence in fully exploiting any opportunity for easy food.

This probably made a lot of readers queasy......

Oskian Yaziciyan lives in Homestead, Fla., about a 20-minute drive north of Key Largo, where he runs Goldfish & Koi U.S.A., a two-and-a-half-acre ornamental fish and water lily farm.

Herons, which are a protected species, are a problem, as are crows, Mr. Yaziciyan wrote in an e-mail message, because they eat the eyes out of fish and snatch surface swimmers.

“I got a lot of blind fish,” Mr. Yaziciyan says.

This says it all..... The food chain is a brutal business.

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