Each spring, our neighbor on the farm south of us drove his tractor up to plow a patch for us to plant a garden. It would be about 100 feet long beyond the back yard from the chicken coop to the field by the old orchard. I always enjoyed working with Mom and Daddy in the garden because I felt like I was really contributing to the project.
First, we had to rake the dirt to flatten the humps left by the plow. Then we staked out rows with strings. I would punch holes in the ground under the strings with a stick, then rake the dirt over the holes after Mom put the seeds in.
It was fascinating to watch the green leaves pop up out of the ground, almost overnight, and that those tiny seeds would soon be bright red radishes or lettuce. I would hoe the dirt between rows to keep the ground from getting hard. We had lettuce, carrots, green onions, tomatoes, string beans, and flowers. Mom loved the flowers.
We planted rows of corn at the south end of the garden. At the other end by the chicken coop, Daddy always made a mound of dirt and compost to plant a vine crop of cucumbers, watermelons, or pumpkins. Daddy loved the cucumbers, and I would take a big one and make a cucumber boat to float in the lily pool.
It was a challenge to have an open garden plot where wild animals could come. Occasionally, deer would eat the corn before it was big enough to pick. The rabbits were the biggest problem. There was no way to keep them out, and they would nibble on the lettuce and carrot tops. One summer, I found a picture of a rabbit trap in an old Boy Scout manual, and made a trap out of an apple basket in an attempt to catch them.
BUNNIES IN THE GARDEN
There are bunnies in the garden.
Oh my, what shall we do?
They’ve nibbled on the lettuce,
And on the carrots too.
I’ll get my trusty popgun,
And shoot them all on sight!
But they come way past my bedtime,
In the middle of the night.
The bunnies in the garden,
Are so cuddly and so cute.
With twitchy nose and wiggly ears,
I guess I couldn’t shoot.
I think I’ve got a better plan,
That will surely save the day.
I’ll trap the little bunnies,
And take them far away.
I propped a basket up,
With a carrot set for bait.
I put my trap in the garden,
Then I went to bed to wait.
I dashed out to the garden,
In the morning’s early light.
The trap was sprung, the carrot gone,
But no bunny was in sight.
I set the trap again, and again,
The results were still the same.
All summer long, they ate my bait,
And we played our little game.
The garden was a big success!
That summer was the best.
The bunnies ate their carrots,
And we enjoyed the rest.
Did the bunnies understand the game?
I guess I’ll never know.
But I’m glad I didn’t catch them.
I love tracks across the snow.