Yes, it’s the name of book for children that I am currently writing – just need to find out how it ends…
When we last left our story, the possum(s) had breached my clever Parsley Defence System (TM) and helped themselves to many bunches of bright green goodness.
Last night, after consultation with my parents – fellow parsley farmers in the Hills – I decided to mess with the possum’s tiny head and bring the parsley inside for the night. (I was also going to leave a note saying GIVE UP NOW, OR ELSE…, alongside a single possum fur glove, but decided to keep that as an option if tensions escalate.)
Anyways, I had left the base/tray from under the pot (not sure of the technical farming name for this equipment) outside and when I looked out this morning, it appears that the possums had a little tantrum and kicked the base away.
Now I am worried that this is their way of warning me. As in, PUT OUR PARSLEY BACK OR NEXT TIME, WE’LL THROW THE BASE OVER THE EDGE. Can possums pick locks? Will they learn to like spinach or lettuce instead? I’ll keep you posted…
Please don’t get me wrong – I really do love Nature. Flora and fauna and all that good stuff. However, lately a couple of things have happened that make me question whether Nature really loves me. To be honest, I probably started wondering about that back on the Camino last year, during the festival of insect bites.
This week has seen two main conflicts between Nature and me. The battleground is my own home. And the local fauna has been the winner.
Let’s start with birds. We have a lot of very pretty, colourful and interesting birds around here. Delightful creatures. Except when it’s, say, 3.55am on a Tuesday and a gang of kookaburras are preparing for a talent show with repeated (very loud, very long-lasting) laughing sessions.
NOT SO FUNNY, FELLAS.
Then there’s my small veggie and herb garden (where ‘garden’ means a few small pots on my balcony). I find it pretty exciting to plant things and watch them grow, and this farmer’s crop has been thriving with all of the rain that we’ve been having in Sydney lately. Lettuce, chives, spinach and parsley are on the grow.
The problem is with the parsley. Apparently, possums love parsley. The naked stalks in this pot seem to suggest that they’ve been helping themselves to quite the feast. It’s hard to see in the picture, but these possums meant business. Clearly not interested in any of the other crops, the bandits snuck in during the night and chomped away.
Problem is, I like parsley too. And I was actually growing it for me, not for the local possums. So I came up with a Macgyver-style solution: a strainer thingy from the kitchen fit perfectly over the pot.
HAHAHAHAHAHA, POSSUMS. That’s what I thought as I laughed (like a kookaburra) at my cleverness. Until I looked out this morning and saw that the strainer has been moved and more parsley has been stripped away. They’ve also found the other secret parsley stash next to the lettuce.
The other day, I was driving behind a truck featuring a business name that caught my eye. Then I pulled up a little closer and saw the logo. Genius.
A classic Australian problem – our kiwi cousins do have possums, of course, but seemingly they are not obliged to treat them like small furry gods, they can turn them into mittens and scarves and winter coats without any social (or legal) stigma. Still, I guess the sounds of possums in the trees and the roof are part of living in an Australian house – pests they may be, but they’re our pests.
Anyways, the Possum Busters website does not disappoint. They are clearly very passionate about the work that they do – offering humane possum removal and even a free possum advice hotline. I bet they get some hilarious calls. There’s a page of FAQs, which are all very interesting, starting with the following warning as an answer to what I’m tipping is the most Frequently Asked Question by residents who haven’t slept for weeks due to their possum terrorist:
Q. Do you / can you / can I kill the possum? A. No, it is against the law. They are a protected species.
And then there’s this fun fact about possums, which is why the Busters also offer a roof repair service and a 12 month guarantee once they remove a possum from your home:
Q. Can you take the possum away? A. No, we can only remove it 25m from where we catch it. It is a territorial animal and will die if taken out side of its territory.
25 metres isn’t actually that far, is it? In most suburban areas, it’s probably only a couple of houses down the street, which presumably means that the Busters will get a call from Bill & Betty at number 15 a couple of weeks after the possum problem has shifted from your place to theirs.
Anyways, the website is worth a look if you’re interested in finding out more about this unique service – they also have a gallery of pics of possums they’ve discovered in cupboards, baths (imagine!) and roof cavities. The website is here.
Last year I was part of a group of bloggers who posted about Hope and what it meant to them. Amongst the pictures that I included in my post was a picture of my herb garden in its infancy – I had hope that the teeny tiny basil, parsley and coriander plants would grow into impressive market gardens. Well, the coriander got knocked over and eaten by a possum or bush rat or some other weasel-type character in a daring night-time raid on my balcony and that was the end of that.
But I am pleased to report that, largely due to the herb-sitting efforts of my lovely folks and sister-in-law Jo, I now have a basil tree and a parsley patch. I have even become the herb providore to my ancient neighbours – I may soon open a roadside stall, EverydayHerbs. Life on the land is very satisfying, so I wanted to share it with you – hopes and dreams can come true, my friends!
And I don’t actually really like coriander anyway, so HA HA HA to that thieving possum / bush rat / weasel.