Gopher it
Friday May 04th 2007, 12:09 pm
Filed under: My Garden

A number of years ago, I planted a garden and had gopher holes appear in my yard; one day I went out there, and a new hole had appeared right at the stem of my zucchini plant and the zucchini was gone. This was war.

I asked the neighbor’s advice, and then stuck the water hose down the hole and turned the water on for two days to discourage the thing from thinking my yard was a hospitable place. My water bill jumped thirty dollars, but the gopher just laughed and moseyed on over a bit to a new spot. So at someone else’s advice, I went to Common Ground in Palo Alto, bought some Gopher Plant seeds, and tried that.

It’s supposed to be an old Native American tactic; the roots supposedly give the gophers poison ivy, and they stay away. And it worked! We went from lots of mounds to no further signs of any activity. Those plants multiplied like crazy, and it was a bit of work to get rid of them after they no longer seemed needed, but both plants and gophers have been gone about ten years now.

This year mounds started popping up again, not in the same area around the perimeter of the yard this time, but dead center of the back. About an hour ago I saw a beautiful jay outside my window here and decided to try to get a picture of it. The jay didn’t seem to mind, so I got closer–and what I’d first thought were leaves near its feet suddenly moved.

I have never watched a gopher going about its day before. When I got close, it held still for the camera. When it walked, its first steps were a tumble to one side till it got its bearings; I looked at it and thought, poor little gopher, did a speeder smash into your car, too? It totally charmed me. It walked like me. It had lousy balance like me. And it was a total ham for the camera.

I kept going back out there and looking at it again, and it kept holding still every time I went near. It even let me stroke its back with my foot (very gently, and with my shoe on; I ain’t quite so dumb as all that.) So now what do I do? Put a basket over it so it can’t escape? (It’s a GOPHER, like that’s going to work!) It’s like the Alice in Wonderland scene, where Alice is introduced to the food, which curtsies to her, and then she can’t eat it. You can’t off an animal you’ve made friends with.

Clay soil, good soil aeration. My own personal rototiller, right?

I never liked zucchinis that much anyway.

6 Comments so far
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So cute…

Comment by Amanda1 05.04.07 @ 2:06 pm

Don’t do anything drastic. If you have seen Caddyshack, you know what drastic measures Bill Murry went to.

Comment by Sonya 05.04.07 @ 2:55 pm

I’m the same way about racoons.
Alison in MN

Comment by Anonymous 05.04.07 @ 3:30 pm

Never did see that movie yet. And I grew up with raccoons, including one pregnant one that pressed its nose against the window watching while we ate dinner once. I opened the front door, and it tried to scoot right past us on inside. Um, no, momma…

Comment by AlisonH 05.04.07 @ 8:43 pm

Ok I just kept thinking of Caddyshack during this whole posting!!! LOL

Comment by Lynn 05.06.07 @ 11:44 am

[…] have a fondness for gophers.  And on the other side of the street and down a bit from where I pulled over to snap the […]

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