Fighting the System…AKA To Kill A Mockingbird

I’ve told you previously that there is a pest for any fruit/veggie that you wish to grow.  They’re relentlessly trying to eat the plant before you do.  For a gardener, it’s just a case of winning the battle, but never the war.

Last night, I thought it would be a good time to check for tomato hornworms.  If you’ve never heard of them, they grow to an enormously freaky size and can eat half of your tomato plant in about as much time as it would take you to slurp a spaghetti noodle.  I ended up finding 4, which was surprising, since I hadn’t seen ANY earlier that day, but that’s kind of the hornworm’s M.O.: You won’t notice anything amiss one minute, and the next, half of your plant is eaten.  Using my own “CSI: Tomato” methods, I deduced that the eaten parts of the plant had been done extremely recently and located fresh worm ‘frass’ (aka: POOP).  Sure enough, there was a nice, 4.5″ worm clinging to my plant. Actually, 3 of them (one was small).  Grrr….The sentence handed down was ‘Death by Chicken’.

So today, I was looking out into the garden and a family of mockingbirds decided to build another nest in my blackberry bush.  One of the babies from the first nest was picking my berries off,  one by one.  Mind you, I haven’t even had ONE berry myself this year!  I screamed, “Hey, (insert synonym for male donkey)!”, and ran at the bird with a stick in my hand.  He fluttered off, looking at me with disgust and a sly look that said, “I’ll be back as soon as the front door closes”.  Which I’m sure that he was.  So, I got out in the 90+ degree heat and started attempting to put a net over what was left of the berries.  Not a good idea to try by yourself.  I ended up popping off about 5 nice looking berries when the netting stuck to them, then the netting got stuck to every thorn on the berry vine, not to mention every stick, rock and piece of grass in the way.  Sweating profusely and tired of fighting the stupid net, I went back inside.  I’m sure that the mockingbird was back before I had stepped 2 feet into the house.  Sometimes you have to admit a certain level of defeat.  However, they don’t know about my next move, which is plastic snakes.  I put a fake snake in my plum tree to ward off the birds.  SO FAR, it is working.  Hell, I almost peed myself one night when I was walking by the tree, looked up, and thought I was eye to eye with a snake. And I’m not even remotely afraid of snakes!  So, I hope the birds feel the same way.  I just hope that they can’t read the “Made In China” stamp  on the snake.  Then the cat’s way out of the bag.

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