Bushbaby Needed – to devour grasshoppers devouring favas. Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Two tepees built today for the cucumbers. Used as stakes what was around – bamboo poles from the days when we had a forest of bamboo, a piece of 2×2 left over from some building project, and rebars.

at the base of one I planted green fingers (shown), a pickling cucumber, and at the base of the other two experimental cucumbers from Row 7 seed company.

I use rebars a lot, they can be moved around and reused, as time passes they rust and merge into the landscape. Sometimes my garden hovers, suspended in time, like a Baja building project, between hope and resigned failure, between past and future. When you drive into Mexico and down the coast you pass endless building projects where flat roofs have rebars sticking up, reaching into the sky. Sometimes this is just a brief pause and soon another story will be added to the building; other times the rebars remain for months or years, waving rustily against the blue of the ocean, like scarlet blooming ocotillo in the desert, against the blue of the sky.

My neighbor the dear late Mrs Tam would build amazing structures every summer and have vines growing vertically and horizontally all over the front yard. How I miss her. Now there is a bare lawn. On the other side: neighbors who hose down the driveway and clip my plants if they grow a few inches on to their property. The horticultural penumbra that separated Mrs Tam and I was porous,

we swapped plants and chatted every day

so that paradoxically we—despite my ignorance of her Chinese and her scant English—like our gardens, were intertwined rather than separated.  

Then I started on cutting down the fava beans. Sadly they have come to their conclusion for this season

partly just run their course, but helped along by some greedy critter.  At first it just started nibbling at the eastern end, as partial to the young shoots and flowers as to the beans themselves. But more recently the critter must either have grown, and its appetite too, or it brought in its extended kin, because the fava plantings began to look like a scene of decimation.

I figured maybe a mouse. It’s still cool enough for Roxy to enjoy snuggling up on our bed at night so she isn’t out there intercepting the marauders. Once I disturbed a beautiful tiny lizard, its coloring rhyming with the rebar, but I doubt it was the culprit.

Some kind of caterpillar perhaps, but I could never find any trace. I had a while ago suspected grasshoppers, but could never see any. Then I saw one! But failed to catch it.

I figured the favas had been bountiful (we ate and ate and ate and still managed to freeze a lot) and so didn’t mind sharing the tail end of the crop. But am not so sure about sharing with grasshoppers, especially since I can rarely see them, I suspect they come out at night. When I was a kid on the farm in Zimbabwe we once had to look after and rear a baby nagapie (the Afrikaans name, meaning small night ape) or Bushbaby. Somehow it got separated from its mother and crawled into my mum’s felt hat. So that became its nesting pouch and we upended an old cot and placed branches in it. Every dusk we had to go out into the vlei and collect grasshoppers for the baby. As we walked though the long grass, almost as tall as we were, grasshoppers would fly up and we would catch them, and when our bags were full we would return to the house and feed the baby who would venture out of its pouch at night, all cuddly looking, fluffy fur and huge huge eyes. Its teeth, however, were vicious and it once bit Mum so hard …she screamed. We had never heard our mother scream. It was a scream to freeze the blood of a small child. Still, we loved that little Night Ape, and were sad when the time came to release her into the wild. 

What I need in the garden, now, is a Bushbaby.

For dinner I made potato gnocchi and cut sage leaves and chives and a few chive flowers to go in the burnt butter sauce.

4 thoughts on “Bushbaby Needed – to devour grasshoppers devouring favas. Tuesday, April 28, 2020

  1. When you find a source for Bushbabies, please order one for me too. Thank you, Lesley, for all the stories and for everything else.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.