Gardening for Renters



The Monitor Lizard Who Wasn’t

I’m posting this a little late. I guess you could consider it a “Throwback Thursday” kind of post. I wrote it over a year ago, in the spring of 2013. I was recovering from an almost fatal battle with the flu. That battle gave me a chance to look at things from a different perspective. Life has changed more than just a little for us since I wrote it, but I think the message is still relevant. Here it goes:

Today I managed to get five mounds of cucumbers planted. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I’m still planting. Still planting? That’s misleading. I’m not still planting; I’m really just getting started.

Not that it is entirely my fault. A mouse problem kept us from starting seeds early inside. A late spring didn’t help any, either. Rocky soil, terrain, and shady trees also contributed to the lateness of my planting. And I needed a fence up before planting to keep Boomer from running through the beds.

Add to all of that the normal day to day activity that it takes just to survive on the homestead. Even if there were 5 of me, I would still be planting.

After the cucumber seeds were in the ground, I had to work on getting more poles up for the green beans. Our garden is about as unconventional as we are. We have beds spread out in different places instead of just one big garden. This lets us work around issues caused by rocks, shade and soil. We are also better able to make use of the natural lay of the land to help naturally irrigate the plants.

When I made it to the green bean bed, I found a monitor lizard observing my approach. Well, it was a regular lizard, not his larger cousin, but he had appointed himself monitor of the green bean bed. Doesn’t that make him a monitor lizard? I mean, he was monitoring, after all.

It was a chore to go get my cell phone, which doubles as my camera. But when I returned, the lizard really hammed it up for me. He seemed as interested in me as I was in him.

This is quite the opposite of the green snake I walked up on yesterday. I almost stepped on him because he looked just like a green stick. He wanted nothing to do with me. He couldn’t move very fast due to the coolness of the morning, so he was stuck with me much longer than I assume he wanted to be. I helped him out by putting him on a sunny rock. He quickly warmed up and was off.

Little lizards are easily overlooked or ignored, probably at least as much or maybe more so than green snakes. However, both play important roles in keeping the insect population under control in a natural way. We like natural on our homestead.

I assume that this type of lizard eats insects. I can’t imagine them eating anything else. Judging from the number of lizards I see in a day, I have an army of reptilian warriors ready to help repel the insect army that is surely coming before harvest.

The little green bean monitor lizard was just one of many that I saw sunning themselves – and occasionally scurrying about – in today’s warm sun. There is no doubt that there were birds on the hunt for those same lizards. Maybe even some snakes would have made a meal of lizard had the opportunity presented itself. Not to mention Boomer, who will swallow anything he can get into his mouth. But the lizards didn’t make excuses. They had things to do and they did them when they needed to be done.

Today, the monitor lizard who wasn’t really a Monitor lizard did more for me than devour some insects – he schooled me in the subject of personal responsibility. He helped me realize that I am the only one to blame for not having my garden planted. No excuses. Just get it done. We admire personal responsibility on our homestead.

For all of the philosophical wisdom imparted by the little lizard, he didn’t make a sound.

On The Gray Homestead, we apparently have lizards who teach personal responsibility. We can’t wait to find out what the frogs have to teach us. There are at least 22,487 tadpoles in the pond; surely we can learn something from at least one of them when they crawl out of the water. We’ll keep you posted.