Tuesday, July 30, 2013
War of the Grapes
Three years ago this past Spring, the daughter called and said that she had purchased some muscadine grape vines, and would I like to have a couple. I said sure, why not, and she brought me two sprigs about a foot long and a quarter inch in diameter. There were a couple of small roots on one end, but they really didn’t look like much. Not wanting to build an arbor for such puny things to run on, I just planted them outside the chain link fence down by the road. Hurricane Katrina had removed all the trees which were once there, so I thought they would at least camouflage the fence. They were pretty much forgotten for the rest of that year as they fought the weeds along the ditch bank for survival.
The next Spring, they began to put on a show. Small vines shooting every direction. I trimmed a few, allowing those that were running the fence to go. By Fall of that year they had grown into two respectable vines. I pruned them back over the winter of 2011 and had a pretty good crop of grapes last Summer. We watched them carefully, waiting for them to turn those beautiful purple and bronze colors. We could taste that first one. Biting through that thick skin. Filling your mouth with juice. The sweet, and at the same time, tart flavor of a muscadine. Muscadine jelly is the best there is.
We planned to pick them on a certain day. Down the hill we went, bucket in hand. There weren’t two cups of grapes to be found. Lots of trash on the ground, along with the remains of partially eaten fruit. It appeared the raccoons, possums, squirrels, and possibly deer, were watching as close as we were.
That brings me to the present. The two vines have continued to grow, now covering nearly eighty feet of fence. The abundant rain we have had this Summer has led to a bumper crop.
But, as I went through the gate yesterday for my walk, I noticed a disturbing site. Lots of green fruit on the ground.
It seems a scouting mission occurred on Sunday night. They are again planning an attack.
But, it isn’t going to be as easy this time. Sally and I spent most of yesterday taking defensive measures. We hung up some string and attached shopping bags to wave in the breeze.
We placed blinking Christmas lights down the length of the vines.
We even built a scarecrow with flashing CD hands; and put a spot light on him.
Set him up with a radio also. Tuned to late night talk.
I’m not sure if any of this will work on our critters. I do know that it scared the crap out of Sally this morning. I guess she forgot all our work yesterday. As she went out at dawn this morning, seeing those flashing lights, along with the scarecrow all highlighted, and hearing that radio; she lost it. She was barking the loudest ever. She wouldn’t go down there, but she also wouldn’t turn her back on it to come in the house. We had to pick her up to get her back in.
We’ll have to see who wins the battle. The critters will probably come up with counter measures. That will mean more work for us. I wouldn’t place any bets, either way…jc