Re: [gardeners] Ron, how true the animals know!

George Shirley (
Sun, 25 Jun 2000 09:02:45 -0500

Reminds me of my Dad growing prize watermelons about 50 years ago. Carefully dug
a pit, filled it with aged manure, put a perforated pipe down the side. Filled
with fine loam to  a hill shape and then planted three Black Diamond watermelon
seeds. Had 4 of these hills and cared for them better then the livestock. One
vine had a huge melon on it. Dad had carefully picked off the inferior melons so
the vine could concentrate on his "prize." Checked it one day, about harvest
time, by thumping it and checking the vine end. Announced it was ready for
harvest. He and I gathered around the melon as he solemnly cut the vine away
with his Schrade pocket knife and then rolled the melon away. As the bottom came
up there was a hole about 6 inches across in the melon. Inside was a box
tortoise that had eaten about 80 percent of the melon from the inside. Dad
raised the rest of his melons up on wire frames to keep the turtles out. I took
that one and carved my initials and the year in its shell and turned it loose.
This was in 1952 and in 1968 we had a grass fire and walking the pasture later I
found that tortoise's shell, considerably bigger but with my initials and the
date still on it. My daughter has it now, nicely varnished and displayed. The
best part of the deal was the look on my Dad's face when we found the turtle and
then his howls of laughter at himself. Moral to the story is to look on animal
depradations as a joke on you and food for the varmint. I've even learned not to
hate squirrels and mockingbirds, both of whom eat my tomatoes and peppers.

George, remembering a sorely missed Father on a quiet Sunday.

Craig Watts wrote:
> I had beautiful cantilope just days from rippenning. Next morning they were
> halfed and cleaned.
> Hope they enjoyed it.
> Craig Watts, lurker