Well, it’s three weeks late, but Tlaloc finally smiled on North Texas, and we got 60 millimeters of rain and a drop in the heat at the Triffid Ranch on Sunday. Considering that this was the first appreciable rainfall in nearly a month, nobody was complaining. (As it is, between Tlaloc and Huitzilopochitli influences this year, I feel like I’m a peripheral character in an Ernest Hogan story. Not that this isn’t the first time it’s happened, either.)
With the rain came the return of one of my gardening nemeses: the treerat. Don’t go all goopy on me about cute and cuddly widdle squirrels. You can come out here and make kissyfaces with the vile little vermin while you clean up their messes. All summer long, not a sign of the pests. A bit of cooler weather, and I discover on Saturday morning that one had uprooted three hanging dragonfruit cactus pots in the hour between sunrise and my stepping out to take greenhouse temperature and humidity readings. Then I find the extras, such as their digging into the Sarracenia planters. (I didn’t worry about their uprooting the Venus flytraps, the way they did last spring, but that’s only because none of my flytraps survived the late August inferno.) There was also the pestilence-carrying mutant who dragged pecans over to the front porch of the house, shelled them all, and dumped glass-sharp pecan hull shards all over the place. And should I mention the future recipient of a double-serving of slow and painful death that cracked the bedroom window while trying to harangue the cats?
As you can tell, I am no fan of treerats. The secondmost-asked question I receive when I bring out the plants is “Yuh gonna raise any man-eating plants?” I argue that all of my plants are man-eating, if you grind up the person into small enough bits. However, I’m working very hard at developing a pitcher plant that can dispose of treerats, alive or dead. A friend of mine has been teaching the local crows to act as guard-birds by popping her resident treerats with a BB gun and tossing the corpses onto her roof: the birds then respond to the regular buffet by yelling loudly at anyone they don’t recognize who comes too close to the house. I’m wondering if I can do the same thing with the Nepenthes.
But no. I wasn’t going to go that far, at least until Elizabeth Bathory over at Google+ showed me this Photoshopped horror:
Oh, NO. These treerats are superior in only one respect. They are better at dying.