Various Vicarious

13 Aug

Pounce has been accompanying Hawthorne and me on the walk in the 50 degree mornings. He makes it to the last rise of the lane way and then heads into the corn.  If he does not make it that far, he waits in the hedgerow.  On the last leg, when he either sees or hears me (if he is in the corn) he emits plaintive cries.  Today it was a questioning mew followed by the short rising brrt a kitten uses to request something of its mother.  Yesterday, though, he sent out loud grunting, yowling roars.  The cat equivalent of what you see lions doing in nature films. It was astonishing.  He could not see or hear me and thought we had abandoned him.  Once in sight he reverted to the kittenish calls.

After reading a 1910 Dupont pamphlet on Farming with Dynamite, I made plans.  I woke up hoping there was a way we could get our hand on enough to try turning over the soil in our vegetable garden.  Two rows of four holes each 3-4 foot deep dug with a hand auger would be enough.  But Jay thinks we would have to call specialists in. And get someone’s permission.  And then we would end up on some sort of list.  What freedom we have lost in the last 100 years!

My husband would know about the rules and regs.  He is a licensed, card-carrying agrochemical applicator.  He can buy and use herbicides and pesticides you and I can only dream about if one does not have a license.  Back in 1910 it was different.

He also knows about and participates in IPM.  IPM stands for Integrated Pest Management.  On the radio, oddly, I have been hearing daily ads for IPM. I keep wondering why. Perhaps because it is still available to the ordinary individual without a license.  IPM is an ecological equivalent for those who are too old for lead soldiers on counterpanes or GI Joes in sandboxes.  It is warfare by proxy.  Oh, IPM is really useful, don’t doubt it.  But surely there is some elemental frisson of excitement releasing your army of cannibalistic parasitic wasps on the unsuspecting hoards of aphids consuming the irreplaceable research plants.

Me?  I prefer to do some of the dirty work myself, up close and personal.  For Japanese  beetles,  a fingernail through the joint between the head and thorax, or a quick snap that completely removes the head partially makes up for those ruined rose petals and holey leaves on all the hollyhocks.  Potato and squash beetle larvae squish satisfyingly.

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One Response to “Various Vicarious”

  1. garden2day 13 August 2011 at 8:21 AM #

    50 degrees—I’m so jealous! Good luck with the garden. Too bad about the dynamite. My g-pa would use it on the farm 50+ years ago, but he was also a building contractor with connections, too.

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