Packrat, weird weather, some successes and failures this year

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been living out here full-time for the best part of a year. Time flies by so fast.

We have a packrat again. If you’ve never experienced this, you can’t appreciate it. Several years ago, one moved into our woodshed. Ben came in and told me about it. He said, “I was just going to shoot it, but it peeked out and wiggled its ears at me. They are really cute, and I just couldn’t do it.”

Then it moved into the engine compartment of his Ford truck, chewing up the electrical harnesses and creating chaos. His attitude changed after he spent one whole winter without a heater even after “persuading” the packrat to move.

Packrats are incredibly destructive. This one has decided to move into my truck. So we’ve placed a live trap, so we can release any chipmunks or squirrles that trip it. But the packrat will eventually get caught and probably get a swimming lesson. Sounds cruel, doesn’t it.  But it has 100 acres of forest to nest in, and it can’t chew up my wiring harness, too.

The weather has been very weird this summer. Here it is the end of August and we haven’t had a day over about 75 degrees. The corn and tomatoes are so slow to come on without the heat, but they’re making it. I have a Beefsteak tomato the size of my fist that I’ll pick tomorrow. There are about 20 more a few days behind. The Beefsteaks have been difficult in years past, but this year they’re my stars. And my favorites, always.

Our garden has been wildly successful this year, even if things are a bit slow. Some of the things I’ve learned:

  • Fresh herbs in abundance are a great blessing
  • Pet your plants
  • Talk to them when your watering
  • Spread bullshit liberally, all talking aside

I have 5-6 watermelons that will probably make it this year, and 3-4 canteloupes. Since one of my life goals is to actually grow a ripe melon, I may have to be developing a new one soon (life goal, not melon).

Poultry (chicken or turkey, we’ve done both this summer) doesn’t get any better than when it’s stuffed with a clump of cilantro or basil and shallots or onions and a few lemon slices. An hour or two on the barbecue, and you have a meal fit for gods.

I was going to write about failures, too, but we don’t seem to have had any. My garden has been a poem in progress all year.

Now I must go cook dinner so I can read the Sunday Times without feeling guilty.

7 Responses to “Packrat, weird weather, some successes and failures this year”

  1. Nathan Zeldes Says:

    Hi Marianne,

    Just showing my Mom what blogs are all about, using your pleasant one as an example.

    Be well!


  2. ClapSo Says:

    I’m a plum tomato guy myself. I just love em. I like to stuff me turkey with raw rice that’s been tossed in olive oil, chopped garlic with some chopped onion and a couple of branches of fresh rosemary thrown in. Need to oven roast it dressed that way though. I’ve done it on a wood fore with a dutch oven and it worked fine.

    I wonder if a pack rat would make a good stew…

    The scientifically impossible I do right away
    The spiritually miraculous takes a bit longer

  3. Marianne Says:

    Nathan, how nice to hear from you! I think about you fairly often, actually, considering we’ve never really met outside of cyberspace, and it’s always with the hope that you and the ones you love are well almost halfway around the world from here. You be well, too. I ask for peace on a daily basis.

  4. Marianne Says:

    ClapSo, our yellow plum tomatoes are one of the glories of the garden this year. My tastebuds just like the tang of a really high-acid tomato like the Beefsteak.

    Your tukey sounds wonderful. If you want to try packrat stew, let me know where to FedEx it. . .You have to clean and dress it yourself, though. ;^}

  5. jackiesgarden Says:

    Ewwwww – packrat stew! We don’t have them here, but when we’re in Arizona in the winter, people worry about them getting into the RVs and chewing things. Guess they are really a problem. I’m not sure I’d know what one looked like – and don’t want to.

    That chicken sounds wonderful, I may try that tonight. Thanks.

  6. Patricia L.Lucas Says:

    … as I was saying before I so rudely interrupted myself …
    Packrats are bothersome here. Those lights mechanics use to hang from their hood lids (don’t have a word for them.) are used by those who have no garages. I am priviledged to have a garage that seals tightly even now after I once tried to get out of it BEFORE I raised the door !!! Arghh!

  7. Marianne Says:


    Those things are called “drop lights.” Ben’s truck now lives with its hood permanently raised.

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