Hoquiam Farmer’s Market News – Groundhog Day Edition

Deidra is also ready and waiting to help with your SuperBowl food needs. What says football like a Boss Hawg or Big Donny Sandwich?
Now, don’t forget tomorrow is Groundhog Day. For your local weather forecast, look to the Pacific Northwest Mountain Beaver instead 🙂
Looking out my window, I see deer in the yard. Sometimes they stretch out on their sides and sleep all day, sometimes they curl up like a contented kitty, and at other times I can feel their velvety eyes trained intently on our back door. They are convinced that I should invite them inside the house. I can’t understand where they got this crazy idea, but I feel the weight of it daily. Our vegetable garden is completely surrounded by a barricade of wire, another grudge that the deer hold against us. During our snow week, the pressure began to build. The usual gang of three thugs increased to six. They were there every minute of the day, plotting and strategizing. As the flakes of snow whirled about them, a silvery layer of white began to build on their backs. One of them stretched its’ graceful neck over the garden wire to nibble the leaves off my Lavatera bush. That did it, I broke down. For the first time ever, I brought food out for our deer brethren. I wasn’t very gracious about it- I tossed fruit out to them, thinking that they might be frightened at first. Hah! They fell upon everything , gobbling every morsel, making a pig look like a picky eater. Before I could empty my entire pantry, I remembered that they simply adore English Ivy. Joe had spent several weeks hacking and pulling English Ivy off our trees, and the remains were in a compost heap. Grumbling just a little bit, Joe fetched the ivy for the deer. By morning only bare brown vines remained.
Meanwhile, the birds were feasting on the best meals of their lives- finely ground Nancy’s Cinnamon Rolls mixed with peanut butter. Probably the happiest birds in town! I’d go broke if we had a farm- every chicken and cow would become my best friend. The wild animals who hibernate for the winter are the smart ones. They eat themselves silly before the bad weather comes, then crawl into a cozy hole, take a long yawn, and curl up in blissful slumber. Pity poor Punxstuhawney Phil who gets drug out of a cozy bed every February 2nd by a rowdy bunch of townspeople and expected to make a weather prediction. You have to admire a town that can build an entire industry based upon the wisdom of a furry rodent. We don’t have Ground-hogs here, but we do have their distant cousins, the Mountain Beaver. If you think that a Mole is destructive, you should see what a Mountain Beaver can do! There must be miles and miles of subterranean tunnels on our place. I’ve made feeble attempts to discourage them, but they’ve made it clear, this is their home. Several years ago we noticed a strange phenomena; in front of several large burrow entrances, bouquets of sword ferns had been artfully arranged. One very smart mountain beaver had decided to prepare for winter and have dinner waiting at the door
Back in his bachelor days, my father built a log cabin on a forty acre parcel on the East Hoquiam Road. He spent a year clearing part of it in preparation for planting. He decided to plant artichokes, a pretty exotic vegetable at that time. Deer are known to abhor artichokes, and our climate is good for them. He entertained visions of becoming the Artichoke King of Grays Harbor. Things started out well- the soil was good, the plants grew quickly. In the evenings he took to figuring out how many artichokes he could harvest from each plant, multiplied by the number of plants, and started dreaming of vacations in Tahiti. Then the Mountain Beavers discovered the easy pickings of freshly tilled soil and yummy young plants. The ensuing battle became known as the Last Stand at Red Dog Gulch. Neither traps, water in the tunnels, explosives, prayer or truce were in the slightest bit effective.
The Mountain Beavers raised the flag of victory. They’re still celebrating. And hoping that someone else will plant artichokes. You know what? I’m going to! We have a heavy gardening fabric in our raised garden beds and I’m betting that they can’t burrow through it. The Bennett family honor is at stake!
Barbara Bennett Parsons, manager of the Hoquiam Farmers Market 538-9747and Deidra’s Deli 538-5880
1958 Riverside in Hoquiam. Market Winter hours are Wednesday thru Sunday, but Deidra’s Deli is open 7 days a week! Until 7pm weekdays, from 11-4 sat. & Sun.

Grays Harbor Public Market
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