July 1, 2013

Points East: Say hello to my little friend

By Ike Adams

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Some readers of this ongoing drivel that I call a newspaper column that I keep writing because you keep reading because the paper would stop my paycheck in a heartbeat if you didn’t read it, may recall that a year ago I was having big-time problems with rabbits.  

More precisely, the damnable, white-tailed rodents   were eating up the baby bean plants. Right down to the ground, in my veggie garden, as fast as I could plant seed.  I tried dozens of rabbit deterrents you guys sent in and none worked.

For instance, I held it in as long as I could and peed around the perimeter of my garden but I was never able to get Loretta in on the act.  My barber saved up a sack load of human hair and I spread it around my beans but the rabbits ate on and never even thanked me for the carpet. I pulled off poison ivy leaves and spread them around the beans  and Loretta broke out all over when she washed my gloves.  As far as I could tell the rabbits ate the ivy with the beans.

I went to a major department store and spent over $50 on a gallon bottle of liquid “deer and rabbit repellent” guaranteed to work. The rabbits thought it was salad dressing.  I’m still trying to get my money back.

Finally, right at the end of the planting season, a lady from London told me to use plain old bug dust and to get the cheapest stuff I could find.  It worked!  We had a nice crop of late fall beans and Babe beans.

This year I watched my beans after planting like I was waiting for water to boil. When they came up, I dusted. Fifteen minutes later, it rained. I dusted again.  More rain. This went on for three days and two full bags of bug dust before I finally decided that growing beans simply wasn’t in the cards for me.

A few days later, I went back to the garden and my beans were thriving.  Not a single plant had been so much as nibbled. I knew it wasn’t because there are no rabbits around because they run the roads here morning, noon and night. But it occurred to me that I hadn’t seen a single one in the garden.

Then one day we were sitting on the front porch when neighbor, Joe Brown, drove by. He stopped, backed up and he was staring intently at the rock wall that fronts my garden.  He hollered and told us that he’d “seen our friend here.”  I hollered back and told him that rabbits were no friend of mine.  Joe said “nope, not a rabbit unless rabbits are long as ropes and have forked tongues,” then he drove on down the road.  

Loretta had already told me she had seen a big snake in the rock wall but I had dismissed it as a little garter snake because I’ve see it too.   And any snake that Loretta sees is going to be described as big and probably as a double headed rattlesnake.

But actually, garter snakes are great to have in your garden because they eat bean bugs; that is, if you have any beans.  I’ve seen one do it over and over again.  They’ll eat potato bugs too.  

But still, after Joe drove off, I walked down the road to a place where the wall is falling down and where it would be easy for rabbits to hop into the garden and there lay a black snake at least 6 feet long and big around as my forearm.  It had a huge bulge in its middle that I’d bet any amount of money was a rabbit.

I never said a word to Loretta and I don’t intend to.  I’ve seen ole Blackie several  times since then, in pretty much the same place and I figure he is as happy with his hasenpfeffer diet as I am with the notion that he is keeping the rabbits out of my bean patch.