Squashed Dreams

The daylight hours are getting short, and all consumer goods from hot dogs to Honda Accords now come with pumpkin spice flavoring. But not everything this time of year need be tainted by such doom and gloom.

pumpkin patch

For instance, autumn is also the season when plants die. In their stead, they leave behind delicious plant babies for us humans to eat. Unless, as always happens, you have chipmunks.

Quicker than you can throw rocks at them, these pitiless pillagers will devour every one of your crops down to stumps. It is true that, as a modern farmer, your anti-rodent arsenal is formidable. You have opposing thumbs, chemical technology, bird netting, and a three-inch vertical leap. But chipmunks have speed. They have sharp teeth. And they don’t scream and jump on chairs when you sneak up on them.

Tamia rayé -- Eastern chipmunk

You could always have it worse. Instead of a chipmunk problem, you could have a grizzly bear problem.

Will grizzlies threaten the very existence of modern hobby gardening? And how will they, unlike the chipmunks, learn to live with humanity? Check out the piece in its full splendor at the New Mexico Mercury.

(Featured photo, “pumpkin patch,” copyright liz west; chipmunk photo, “Tamia rayé,” copyright Gilles Gonthier; both via a Creative Commons Attribution License.)

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