Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Something's Gonna Pay For This

I was minding my own business tonight after work.  I wasn't looking for a fight.  I was just taking a bag of garbage out when I saw something unusual.  Back by the compost bin I noticed something dark brown on the ground where it was usually light brown.  That light brown is what we drought-stricken Californians call "the new green".  

The picture below is almost too embarrassing for me to share.  It looks so splotchy and gross.  But this is what happens when you can't water your lawn.  The little bit of green you do see is probably just from the veggie garden's drip irrigation.  

At any rate, the dirt you see on the ground just to the right of the fence shouldn't be there.  A closer inspection was necessary.

And this is what I found.  Around the base of my active compost bin, something had been digging.  I have been composting for years and all this time I've been adding kitchen scraps, rotten fruit, and even the occasional dead bug and I've never had anything go after my compost bin other than worms.  

The back side of the compost bin

The front side

A somewhat closer view of the front.

I tried to get a picture of the claw marks I saw.  They looked fairly large but because they were up inside
I couldn't get a clear picture.  
Now I've been having issues with squirrels lately (more on that in the near future) but this doesn't seem like the work of the evil nuisance and bane of my gardening life.  While scratching my head (literally) I happened to notice a hole by the fence line not three or four feet away from the scene of the crime.

Gophers?  Moles?  Voles?  Squirrels?  What do you think this is?  I didn't see any telltale mounds or tunnels because this opening is right at my fence so it's possible that their are mounds or tunnels on the other side.

Add caption
Maybe I'm overreacting but I'm suddenly worried that two mysterious plant deaths in my garden weren't just unfortunate and untimely demises.  Perhaps they were sped along their way by some underground spawn of evil?


  1. Skunk? ...they go hunting for grubs and bugs....

    1. Lauren, that was my first thought, actually. When I peeked in at the claw marks they looked pretty big so I thought skunk or even a raccoon. Maybe the hole I found under the fence was just a coincidence.

      Also, I did see a grub in the compost bin recently. I think you might be onto something!

  2. where I live that would be rats.

  3. I would consider skunks far preferable to raccoons. Skunks may smell up the place occasionally, and they can do some damage while foraging for grubs -- but, on balance, they do more good than harm in the garden. Raccoons are another story. I can only quote Michael Pollan's description from Second Nature of raccoon damage in his garden: "Compared to the cat burglaries of the deer and the woodchuck, this looked like the work of the Manson gang." -Jean

  4. Surely this is a site well worth seeing.

  5. I've no experience with what may be invading your garden but I can definitely relate to your brown grass. We've been in drought so long that the brown grass is our normal too. Fortunately we had some rain lately but I'm leaning more and more to adding more seating areas to take out more grass...even drought tolerant perennials suffer eventually. Thankful fall is easing up on the temps, only low 90's today! SMH