Last year, I dug out a nifty little bed for my specially-ordered, organic, super-duper, non-hybrid peanut seeds, George Washington Carver’s happy dream. I added some real soil to the gray sand and raked in the compost. Well, sort of compost. That would be another story. I fertilized, planted and watered and sat back to wait. And wait. Then I had four seedlings and a lot of little holes. Squirrels, adorable, furry balls of malicious evil, had made my sweat-earned plot their own smorgasbord. I called them rude names and ran for my roll of bird netting to cover the remainders. Their little stems unfolded happily, riffling leaves out like playing cards. They got about three inches tall, but not for long. In the next day or two, something snapped the stems of every one of them. I envisioned cackling rodents at midnight, saying “Ha, we’ll show her.” But maybe it was snails.
So this year I bought a package of raw peanuts at the grocery store for a lot less money, let them dry out, and shelled them for seed. I gave the same dig-deep and compost treatment to a new bed. I just couldn’t use the old one again. The memories… Acting on trusty Internet guidance, I sprinkled the soil with cayenne pepper, and not just a few teaspoons either, nosirree. Every time it rained, I added another stratum from the enormous warehouse-club jar, emptied one and started another. Rejoicing in the news that oil of peppermint makes tree-climbing vermin feel like they can’t breathe (Really, people, how did anyone find this out? “Here, little squirrel, sniff this cotton ball and tell me how you feel.”), I dripped the stuff around the edges of the patch. Well, two and a half cheers for the advice of Web denizens, because at this point I have a couple dozen energetic-looking peanut plants. My rejoicing is muted, given that this old world is still “subject to futility,” but my hope is rekindled.
|The most splendid of the peanut plants.|
|I think I see purple, but it may be wishful thinking.|
|Grape tendril, or charismatic preacher?|
|New leaves of the grapevine are purplish-pink before they unfold.|