Party out of bounds?

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Chris, as I’ve said often, has a spectacular green thumb, so nearly everything he plants thrives here in the garden at A Butler’s Manor. And we have this pergola over the porch which seemed just perfect for a climbing something. So we planted a grapevine.

The first year, it just settled itself in the soil and began to carve out its path. By year two, we already had a crop to harvest, and I got out Grandma’s recipe for jelly and made my first attempt at grape jelly. (It was…interesting. I didn’t serve it to guests.)

By year three, we had a substantial amount of grapes, and the leaves and vines had formed a pretty extensive canopy over the top of the porch. But we discovered something: The fauna knew better than we did when those grapes were ready to be harvested. The night we said “Yep, they should be ready about tomorrow,” the squirrels and raccoons moved in for a munchfest.

And they’re not even polite about it. They pull the grapes from the bunch, chew the soft inside, and spit seeds and skins all over the porch. Discovering the mess the next day, we hurriedly harvested the remainder of the grapes. (Second attempt at grape jelly? Let’s just say Welch’s needn’t fear any competition from me.)

I’ve been watching this year’s bumper crop of grapes mature, thinking that we really ought to make a pre-emptive strike and cut the grapes before the critters get them. Then, with the hurricane and Labor Day weekend, we got forgot all about it.

Last night, the raccoons broke into the grapes and had themselves a party. From our bedroom, we could hear the grapes plunking down onto the wooden deck. And then, after they’d gotten good and drunk on the grapes, they ran around most of the rest of the night, chasing each other and playing on the roof adjacent to the grapevine…right over the top of our bed. I swear it was like listening to a teenage party, lacking only the loud music.

Today that grapevine came down. All the way down. I don’t make good grape jelly anyway, and as for making wine….well, I KNOW I can’t make wine I’d like better than the stuff I buy!

I expect there is going to be confusion here tonight…a bunch of critters wandering around wondering where the party went. May they go far away in order to find it!

Next year, I’m thinking a clematis…

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