This morning I arose early as usual. I went out to the garden to water. It has been a rather dry summer so far. To my horror, my broccoli had been eaten. Only the stalks remained.
Oh no, I thought. A Wascally Wabbit, as Elmer Fudd would say. But I grew up with Sherlock Holmes. We investigated further, and even Dr. Bumbling Watson could spot the culprit: a moose. Either that, or a species hitherto unknown to Science, the moose-footed rabbit. Large hoofprints all over the place. No -- it's a moose. Not only that: the vandal cleaned out all my beets, all my cabbage, all my chard, trampled my snap beans, gnawed on cauliflower (it may yet recover), and I am only fortunate that it seems to abhor leeks. It did put its size 125 hoofprints in my leek bed, however. And in various other places too.
Now moose usually mind their own business. They forage in the forest, and do not come around in the summer eating gardens. I know that in the lower 48 states, deer are a problem for crops. But moose are a moose of another color. I think I have an aberrant moose. In fact, I have seen him (or her) before. He/she was cast loose by mommy prematurely. Why? I cannot say. I even have a picture somewhere in this blog. Since I can't sex moose very well at a distance, let us assume "he" is the applicable pronoun. Very well, I have named him Cassius. This is because he has a "lean and hungry look" according to the Bard of Avon (Julius Caesar). Cassius is a dropout. He never learned to forage. Shame on mommy, except that maybe mommy met with an accident. So he is eating our gardens. I say "our" because today the battalion of Russian kids came by for their daily woodwork lessons, and informed me that Cassius has been around their gardens too, with disastrous results.
Now I would hate to do Cassius in. It is not yet, in spite of our dire economic situation, a matter of life and death. But my garden is devastated. So if I can catch Cassius at it, what I will do is put a load of #7 birdshot in his a..., er, trousers. With my trusty double shotgun. This might teach him a salutary lesson. If not, I am sure the village will break out the Kalashnikovs and that will be the end of Cassius.
I have tried to keep this light. But I am very upset. A family tradition is the end-of harvest Borscht. This requires beets and cabbage. Both are gone. It is impossible now to re-seed and re-grow. I am mulling over various plan B things. But it looks bleak for beets and cabbage. Not to mention chard, broccoli, and beans.