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Southern France
Lynn Deasy is a freelance writer, author, foodie, and garden tinkerer. She lives in a 600 year old house in southern France with her husband, Christophe. Currently, she is looking for a literary agent for her memoir CA VA? STORIES FROM RURAL LIFE IN SOUTHERN FRANCE which examines the oddities of French provincial living from an outsider’s point of view through a series of adventures that provide more than a fair share of frustration, education, admiration, and blisters…. yes, lots and lots of blisters. Lynn blogs every Monday, Wednesday, and sometimes Friday.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Night Watch

The garden at night.

The drought has taken its toll on quite a few things: trees are suffering, there are water restrictions, and even the animals are acting a bit odd.  The blue jays that attacked our fig tree have now striped it bare and we have discovered a new problem: foxes, or at least we think they are foxes.

For the last few weeks we have found an animal has dug up part of the garden.  It’s not attacking the vegetables, but it’s digging in the dirt leaving giant holes and unearthing the plants.  We think it’s burrowing for worms or any other form of nutrition.  At first we thought it was cat, but the damage was far too extensive.  Then the idea of a boar developed, but it couldn’t have been one both since the damage was not nearly enough and the potatoes have been left untouched (boars like potatoes).  It’s most likely not a dog, so all fingers started pointing towards a fox.  We’ve already lost a few plants to the digging, and unearthing the plants each morning that have been buried is time consuming, so we’ve had to act defensively.  Each night around midnight we go out to the garden and wait.  It sits at the edge of the property next to small cliff that plunges into a forest below which harbors anything from deer to boars to foxes.  We wait for any sound from the darkness and when it happens, we go on the attack, hurling rocks into the tree tops above so the sound amplifies and frightens the animal.  After a small barrage, we stop and hear it scurrying away.  It works, but it’s not a permanent fix; if we don’t go out to defend the garden each night the animal comes back.  It’s changing our night rituals and stretching out long days even longer.

I admit venturing into the garden so late at night with an active imagination is not always fun.  Sometimes, I’ve darted back to the house after the barrage in fears of the animal taking advantage of my turned back and wanting revenge.  I lock the door after me, happy to be in a well light kitchen and knowing that animals, without opposable thumbs, can’t turn knobs, rendering me safe from their grasps.

Gardening has taken a very odd turn.  I’m losing sleep over a pumpkin and dream about animals that can unlock doors.  The growing season can be quite long, so I’m impatiently waiting for its end when everything can be gathered from the garden and my nights can spent indoors where they are supposed to be.  For now, all I can think is, “That pumpkin better be damn good.”

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