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“Did you harvest the rest of the beets?” I asked my husband. With most of the carrots and parsnips and a few beets remaining in the garden, root crops were next on my chore list.

“I didn’t,” was Tim’s response. “I noticed they were gone when I composted the squash and pumpkin vines.”

“Maybe Dave pulled them,” I suggested, referring to America’s finest neighbor.  I hadn’t seen him, but he was welcome to help himself to whatever he wanted.

It was unexpectedly warm after several days of cold and rain, a good day for a harvest. The carrots came out of the ground easily, and soon a wheelbarrow was mounded. But when I neared the other end of the garden, the evidence was clear. Something had been eating my carrots! Where there should have been lush, green tops, intruders had feasted their way down the row. With mulched soil as soft as a loaf of good bread, the uninvited didn’t have to work very hard to tug up a lovely meal. Here and there was a chewed stub of carrot. That’s when I noticed the partially eaten beet. 

I’m grateful for an exceptional harvest this year. Certainly there have been challenges, like the night the raccoons raided the corn. All the corn. Every ear. Every single ear. But there has been plenty to eat, plenty to put by for the winter and plenty to give away. Certainly, I’d prefer not to share with the deer or skunks (or both) that enjoyed my beets and carrots, but as wildlife invasions go, it’s been a tolerable season. Not so for my friend, Shirley, whose garden, well-known in the animal kingdom, suffered a moose family take-out dinner party, among other adventures.

To all my four-legged and winged friends and foes, whatever you find in my winter compost pile is yours, and I promise, you’ll eat well.

The first wheelbarrow of carrots