a peek inside the fishbowl

09 Apr, 2017

A “no trespassing” message from Piper

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Home/reno|Misc. life

Now that the snow is finally receding our gardens are once again revealing themselves. Mind you, everything is still frozen, but you can spot some green here and there amid all the brown.

A couple of summers ago I buried a few locally grown strawberries in a small patch of garden that gets some afternoon sunshine. I had found them shriveled up in the back of the crisper and thought maybe something would come of it, well, surprise surprise, the following year I had a very nice little strawberry plant. It grew from one of the seeds! There are no berries yet, but I was pretty excited about it. Last summer I watered it and pulled away encroaching weeds, basically doing whatever I could to protect its fragile future in our garden.

Later that year I was making my rounds outside with the watering can when I noticed a small pile of dirt near my lovely strawberry plant. I looked closer and noticed someone had dug a LITTLE HOLE, right at the foot of the strawberry plant. Here’s a photo from that time that shows what I’m talking about:

Chipmunk burrow

I knew exactly who the culprit was, too. A chipmunk had taken up residence in the stone wall that was supporting this particular flower bed and he must have spent some time excavating other entrances and exits. One was between the stones in the wall itself and another was near our A/C unit. I wasn’t too annoyed with him though. I thought that having a strawberry plant as the roof of your home was pretty nice. It was positively Smurfy! So even though I was a little worried about my plant’s survival and any potential harvest that may come of it, I just left it. (Also, it was around that time that I was dealing with a different garden-related situation in the same general area: the case of the missing marbles.)

Fast forward to this year. The strawberry plant, along with everything else, got buried under a pile of snow. As the weather warmed and the pile melted I started poking around the garden. (Mostly I was just looking for signs of life out there, as eager summer lovers are wont to do.) As my eye scanned the flower bed it fell upon my strawberry plant. The top of it was dead, of course, but I knew that it was just waiting to become warm enough to send forth its shoots of green again. I looked a little closer, remembering the little doorway to the chipmunk burrow. Oh no! There was something blocking the entrance! I reached over with my hand to brush it away when I suddenly realized IT WAS DOG POOP. It must have been there since before the first snow fell! I couldn’t believe Piper had chosen that exact place to, er, let one go.

Thankfully, I hadn’t touched it, yet. I grabbed a baggie and scooped it up. Can you imagine? Living the ENTIRE WINTER with poop on your doorstep that is almost the same size as you are? Poor chipmunks.

I went back yesterday to see if anything had changed. The chipmunk doorway was partially caved in and clearly abandoned. It seems that they have jumped ship. Or maybe they moved to a better neighbourhood. I can’t say I’m too surprised.


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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our two daughters Emma (17) and Sarah (15). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger, and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999... which makes me either a total dinosaur or a veteran, I'm not sure which! The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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