It is a land of thousands of acres of shade cloth covered Ginseng, grown as a cultivated crop. This plant grows in the wild mountain areas back home, and is harvested by locals with sacks to sell to the lucrative Asian markets. It is so different from the organized production of these farms.
In this small agricultural based community, on the north shore of Lake Erie, they call it the Banana Belt due to the moderation of climate from the large expanse of water. Century old homes on stately grounds adorn the city streets.
While the men played golf, the ladies, hard core gardeners both, braked for plant sale signs along the country roads. We were lucky with this one, for not only were there choice specimens for sale, all dug from the property, but the homeowner was more than happy to give two interested customers the private tour. His potager was dotted with metal trelliage, the plants were happy and the whole garden was extremely well designed. We surmised that this home had been showcased on garden tours in the past and will be in the future. The United States does not allow plants to return with travelers out of country without extensive paperwork, so nothing could be brought home. Some plants were bought as hostess gifts for my friend, and there was planting and pruning done to earn our keep.
In a sad twist of weather fate, a large spruce tree was downed in a recent storm with hurricane force winds on their acreage. In the boughs of the tree was a nest with two baby black squirrels in it. The young ones survived the crash, and have been nurtured by the humans with puppy formula served in fine china dishes in the barn. They are today moving to solid food, being taught to hold it in their paws, apples cubes, and eat while sitting on their haunches, a crucial survival skill. They will be trapped in the cat carrier and taken to a wilder place, to fend for themselves soon.
They are brothers, named Ben (Affleck) and Matt (Damon). Ben, or it might be Matt is a smart fellow and quite shy around the people person types. Matt, or it might be Ben lacks that bit of insight and is fearless when perhaps he should be leery. He boldly went where no squirrel should go, sniffing the paw of the reclining Siamese cat who shares the farmhouse with the humans with occasional forays outdoors. Luck was on his side, for the cat is very well fed and only mildly interested in the antics of the boys. Hey, don’t go up my pantleg, Ben or Matt!
I have never been so close to a wild squirrel before. The ones back home are public enemy number one, red squirrels who do major destruction to the Fairegarden with digging, burying and then looking for the black walnuts here. The camera gets closer and closer, nearly touching his whiskers. Not captured on pixels is what happens next. As he finished the piece of apple, he decided to eat the camera. Seriously. He began with the woven fabric strap, then put his mouth on the lens. Hey you! Stop that! No! No! No!
Yes, dear and gentle readers, he got me. Like a needle drawing blood, type A negative. Cleaned, sterilized and bandaged, the visit continued happily for a few more days. The trip home was long and tiring, but the garden and our own cats were glad to see our return. Until the next time, our dear, dear friends.