March 21, 2013
Ok, try not to get too weirded out by this. I'm still trying.
But let me start by saying that putting up that wildlife-netting fence around the garden every year is going to be a pain. I can already tell.
Unrolling it and mending the holes, driving the wooden stakes into the ground, burying the netting in the dirt…it's fairly effective, but it's going to be a pain.
So, weeks ago, as I prepared to plant cold season crops, I looked up different ways to keep the rabbits, squirrels and chipmunks from feasting on the veggies.
As you can imagine, there are about a million different opinions and a million different methods to send produce predators packing without use of a fence.
But one particular idea stuck with me. The gardening advice came from Karen, the girl who cuts my hair.
Now, I don't think Karen has a garden or has any special insights into the art of horticulture.
But what she does know is this: Every year about this time people come around the salon asking for bags of hair. And those people happen to be gardeners.
"Rabbits and deer don't like the smell of it," she said. And upon further extensive and scholarly research on — ahem — Google, I determined that this indeed was the best route.
So, upon visiting Karen yesterday I got the bag of hair. She'd been saving it for me.
Along with the clippings of countless others, she swept my hair follicles into a trashbag and handed it over.
Peering into the bag I did a sort of full body shiver.
The satchel of dead hair also had some unexpected weight to it, as if containing not only sideburns and bangs but perhaps an appendage or two.
Tossing it in my trunk I headed home. It felt like I was driving with some dreadful secret in the automobile: a plastic bag carrying the DNA of God knows how many people.
Another full body shiver.
The next morning I got up and headed out to the shed, where I'd left it. I can tell you one thing: neither Joy or I would have got a minute of sleep, knowing it was in the house.
Advice: when dealing with large clumps of hair follicles from multiple strangers, always wear proper work attire.
I got to the task, broadcasting hair (a phrase I never thought I'd use) around the garden's perimeter. Trying my best not to get any of it in the actual garden soil, I shook out clumps of the stuff.
Unfortunately, hair does not disperse as easily as one might think. I was hoping it would scatter, follicle by follicle to the ground, leaving little evidence of its presence. But no.
When viewed from afar, it looks like several dozen small, dead animals.
See the clump of hair to the right? Pretty sure that's mine. The salt-and-pepper color is easy to spot among the blonde, brown and occasionally dyed.
I was thankful, at least, that Karen didn't cut any pink hair that day. Although one might surmise that the wilder the color the more likely to run off the rabbits.
Owlbert — who's become more of a garden mascot than an actual scarecrow — gave me the side-eye as I scattered follicles in the dirt. He didn't seem impressed by this latest attempt to ward off the veggie thieves.
But if it keeps me from having to put up that fence every year, I'm all for it. And if it does work, there's only one possible downside I can imagine.
I leave you with this image: My wife and I sitting down at the dinner table on a beautiful summer evening, enjoying the best of the season's harvest, when all of a sudden she gets a look on her face. She picks up her napkin, spitting something into it.