Saturday, July 16, 2011

My Ditch

I have decided to tell you a bit more about my ditch and in a way, offer a eulogy to the raccoon that met his death there.
   I bought this property in 1978 for $8,375 dollars.  Even then people wanted flat land, flat properties, nicely cut grass, well manicured lawns, plastic.  One house looking like the next, an assurance in sameness.
   There is a ditch that runs through this town, part of the storm drainage system dating back well over one hundred years.  Before they built the damns it contained year around water and could be fished.
   Mine was not a particularly pretty property.  The ditch ran almost exactly diagonally through it putting a very little house on one side and an open field on the other.  The field and the ditch were dry and barren, suffering years of neglect as an unattended dumping ground.  The soil was horrible and could barely grow grass.  Not a single tree was on this property, nothing alive.
   One of the first things I did was to dig a well, a miraculous process I still do not understand.  Free water from the earth.  That changed everything.  Over the years I have added tons of organic materials, leaves, grass clippings, chipped up bark, cow manures and sand in an effort to build up this soil and allow it to sustain life.
 A bench on the edge of the ditch
   Today it is a green, green, green paradise.  Millions of flowers, lots of trees, my organic vegetable plot and the ditch which is now a veritable jungle of growth.
   Both ends of this ditch are fenced with the intention of keeping my dog in and both sections contain escapements, holes big enough for the possums and raccoons to pass through with ease.

 My ditch, trees, bridge
    My ditch has become a paradise for wildlife and is home to lots of animals.  I have created safe areas where they can raise their families, secure where my dog has no entry.  I have seen raccoons drink from my garden pool and steal an occasional strawberry.  There is lots for everyone.
    I am thinking the raccoon had a good life and I am sorry that its end was violent.  I am thinking he might have been old.  He was very big, a little too slow for sure.  Nature is violent with earthquakes and tsunamis,
fires and sudden deaths.  Maybe my paradise ditch contained too many creatures?  I don't know.
   I know there will be others, lots more.  They like it here.

4 comments:

Clipped Wings said...

Your gardens are like Eden, so lush. Things come and go. We really have so little control over it all. Sad about the raccoon, but death is a huge part of life. You're one of my most favorite gardeners, even though you are not so much native. You have good methods that love the environment, and that's very important to me.

rama said...

Sad about the racoon, but I must say you have done wonders with your barren land, with colors popping out from everywhere.

SooZeQue said...

I think a steel sculptural garden memorial for Mr. Racoon is only fitting. I'm sad he met such a tragic end. Hopefully he had many years in the garden of eden.

freebird said...

It looks beautiful and the racoon must have loved being here. Making a safer spot for the animals, heck, just making a spot for them is great. We have 40 acres of desert and our well doesn't produce scads of water so we fenced off two acres to keep our dogs safe and let the animals have the rest. The rabbits like to take out our bushes and trees so I've learned to put chicken wire around the young ones - this is in the secured 2 acres. I hope more people will let the animals have some safer spaces. None of it will be totally safe as some of the animals are predators but at least nature gets to do her thing in these areas.