Myron The Menace

A war has been raging at our house, and I’m afraid I’m going to end up on the losing side. Hubby Bryan has been keeping score and by his estimation, it’s Squirrel 58, Beth O.

Yes, my nemesis is a furry creature with beady eyes and a long tail.  I’ve grumbled many names for him under my breath and maybe even shouted one or two, but none of them are fit for print, so for the purpose of this blog, I’ll call him Myron.

Myron and I have been adversaries for a number of years now, assuming that he’s the same squirrel that used to sit in the tree, chattering, while dropping items on my head as I worked in my garden. That garden no longer exists, thanks to the big new garage we built a few years back, so most of my gardening has been relegated to containers.

Therein lies the recent controversy. Myron likes to dig in my carefully tended pots. I know that it’s instinct that compels him to disturb the dirt in those pots —  the instinct to bury nuts for later consumption  — but there’s a part of me that also believes he does it out of spite.

A few weeks ago, in order to give my basil a bit more room, I moved a few plants around. That left some open space in one of my planter boxes, perfect for a fall crop of greens. So I dug out a packet of wasabi arugula that I’d forgotten to plant in the spring, sprinkled the seeds over the earth and waited for them to sprout.

A few days later, tiny tufts of green were pushing up through the soil, which I diligently kept moist as the instructions on the packet suggested.

Then Myron struck, digging three holes in the planter box dirt and destroying the seedlings in the process. I replaced the soil, spread a few more seeds and even sprinkled a liberal amount of cayenne pepper over the top, hoping that would deter the squirrel from digging there again.

Evidently cayenne doesn’t have much effect on squirrels. He struck again.

So I moved the planter to higher ground, on top of a couple of chairs on the deck. Next day —  more holes.

I’m beginning to lament that wasabi arugula will ever make it into a salad at our house. But I know there are plenty of other garden goodies awaiting me at the farmers market.

Here are a couple more recipes gleaned from our local market producers, both from Renee Peters.

Kentucky Fried Cole Slaw

Grate 1 head cabbage, 1 carrot and 1 onion.

Add ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, ½ cup Miracle Whip, 2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar, 2 tablespoons oil and ¾ teaspoon salt. Add 1 tablespoon orange juice concentrate, if desired.

Cucumber Salad

Slice 4 to 5 cucumbers and ½ of a large sweet onion. Sprinkle ½ to 1 tablespoon salt over cukes and onion. Mix thoroughly and let set on counter for three to four hours. Drain.

Starting with ½ cup sugar, add enough vinegar to make ¾ cup. Add half & half cream to make 2 cups. Pour mixture over cucumbers. Add black pepper to taste.