Sunday, March 31, 2013

Fred is Dead

One of the things I miss most about the UK at this time of year (apart from chocolate. OMG chocolate) - is daffodils. I love the fact that vast swathes of countryside, particularly bland and boring roadsides are suddenly covered in yellow. Everything just looks so cheerful, so hopeful.

This is my poor attempt at a California recreation:

A planter from Trader Joes. When these lovely daffodils finally succumb to old age and sporadic watering, I replant them at the base of our sycamore tree.

Not exactly a riotious springtime display - but these daffodils must be pretty hardy, because by God, they come up year after year through this concrete-hard California 'soil'. Nutrient-parched earth that is a constant reminder I need to start a compost bin. The real problem though is to do with that metal contraption in the middle. That's what we're really dealing with. We have a problem, and his name is Fred. Our backyard is gopher nirvana. A steeply sloping, beautifully drained rodent idyll and Fred, so-named by the girls, has made himself quite at home. I'll be damned if he gets my daffs.

He's a bit cocky is our Fred, and LK decided to teach him a lesson. Fred was too sharp for our metal traps, but was more than happy to poke his head out of his hole inches away from the playing girls, so LK arms Lucy with a mini baseball bat and instructs her to play whack-a-mole. Five seconds later and he turns round to find Lucy delicately hand-feeding 'Fwed' with clumps of clover. Apparently Fwed can be quite persuasive. He became a fwend. I could see LK thinking 'this would have been so different if I'd have had boys'.

Anna even made a pop-up drawing with Fred able to appear and disappear out of his hole:

This is Fred - compete with mouthful of clover.
Yes, we do own a hairbrush, but no-one can ever find it.

So far Fred has left my daffodils alone. We are arming ourselves with smoke-bombs, more traps, and the thought of raised beds, or even these cool pallet gardens:

Meanwhile, there I am thinking you know, gophers really aren't such a problem in the North of England, what have I signed myself up for....and then my brother sends me this photo:

Daffodils and snowdrops - allegedly.

and suddenly springtime in Southern California's not looking too shabby.


Expat mum said...

I gave up on my daffs. The winters here in Chicago make gardening a nightmare and you never know quite what's going to make it through to Spring. So, my front patch is literally desolate and we are advised not to plant till May because we can easily get a frost before then.
Mind you, at least we don't have the UK snow, as you say!

Laura said...

Love the pic of the pop-up Fred, and we can't seem to keep our hair brushed, either! Tell LK that with daughters, it's true that you will have gopher fwends, but it's more likely that daughters will help you out when you're old and feeble! Everything in life is a trade-off.

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