Somehow it’s hard to imagine a time in the future when there won’t be enough water again with this onslaught of wetness! Our water barrels were full after the first storm. Our remaining ornamental perennials have relaxed after ekeing through the dry months with a less than generous water ration.

Thinking about water reminds me of some interesting comments and questions we had at the farmers’ markets as the fall season wound down. Each week we had folks concerned about extensive damage to their greens and lettuce plants. It was clear to us that the pattern of damage was not the usual type caused by aphids, caterpillars, slugs, snails etc. Large chunks of the leaves gone overnight or plants pulled up and chewed. It sounded like mammals or birds were going after the plants.

In 2014, we had such a hassle with squirrels taking a bite of a tomato and then discarding it. Even though we are cat people, a terrier seemed like the only solution as our cats are indifferent to squirrels. Last spring we read this amazing book called Epic Tomatoes by Craig LeHoullier. It’s a great read and we recommend it enthusiastically! In the Troubleshooting chapter he takes on the problem of squirrels and birds eating tomatoes. He thinks that they are looking for water as tomatoes are not a usual part of their diet.

To see if it would work for us, last spring I put a bowl of water on the shady live oak side of the garden that’s away from the vegetable beds. The squirrels damaged only one tomato the whole season. If the water bowl was empty, however, I’d get an earful when I came out the back door!

This experience brought it home to me that we are saving water only for our own use. While I let some of my ornamental garden die so I could use my water ration for the food plants I deem important, I’m forgetting all the beings that rely on the other non-edible plants in the eco-system that is my yard. Again, I’m taken to task by nature that is quick to remind me that we all need to move forward together. We won’t be successful if we see ourselves as the only species that needs nurturing.