Or rather, the wildlife refuge known as my backyard.
Okey’s grandparents grew grapes on their farm in West Virginia. When we moved into our home nearly seven years ago, Okey planted a clipping from one of their vines in our backyard. The first few years of growth were difficult for this young plant. (We had also gotten ourselves a puppy. We discovered that a young grapevine looks like a stick to a puppy, as she had chewed two years of growth down to the ground.)
The grapevine survived, and it grew weakly but diligently, in the shade. It grew better and faster when some of the trees were pruned. Yet, it still did not produce grapes. Two summers ago, as Okey and I were enjoying an evening outside, we recognized that we were giving important space to a plant that did not produce. We decided to give it one more year, and then its fate would be decided.
Did you know that grapevines have ears? Surely, you’ve heard the expression… “I heard it on the grapevine!” Well, this plant decided to get serious because last year we had grapes! So many grapes! We made juices, enjoyed fun salads, even homemade ice cream! We pruned her back (not as severe as her first pruning) and waited with anticipation for this year’s bounty.
We had a few bunches, but not many. It was enough though to know that our grapevine was alive and well. I watched as the grapes formed and grew and disappeared. I would love to say that me and mine ate the grapes, but I have another suspect in mind.
This suspect has four legs and a big tail. No, not our smart mutt. This would be her nemesis, the Squirrel. It ate every grape whether it was ripe or not.
At least I still had my blueberries, I thought before going to bed. (These were from Lowe’s and thus not an heirloom variety.) When I awoke to make blueberry pancakes for my guests (my sister and her new husband), I was shocked to have been foiled again by the Squirrel. Not a single one was left on my bushes.
I am disappointed that my garden hasn’t yielded many fruits this summer as I had hoped, but I will try again next year.