I'm trying to work from home today (as a freelancer), and meanwhile there's a construction crew in our backyard here in Oakland creating a new yard and garden. That sounds lovely, of course, but for some inexplicable reason this future "garden" has required them to chop down a giant (and healthy and beautiful) avocado tree from the backyard (exposing a very ugly backdrop of bland fences and grey walls), dig several large holes and trenches, build an ugly cinderblock wall, and construct an equally clunky-looking wooden fence that has effectively turned the backyard into a corral for invisible, miniature cattle. In the process, the workers managed to crush the sewage system pipe, thereby allowing sewage to spill into the yard until they realized what had happened. In addition to all of this, they tore up every scrap of vegetation in the front, back and side yards, including many beautiful flowers, several large boxwood (I think) bushes, and also a lot of weeds and overgrown grasses. I asked one worker when they were actually going to plant something in this new garden and he laughed, saying, "That won't be until the very end of the project, in the last couple of days." The total project time will be well over a month.
Meanwhile, pulling out all of the plant life exposed a large family of little field mice to the elements. What was their solution? The little critters hustled inside the house to keep warm. The lawyer who lives in our basement has a cat, so the mice avoided her place. Instead, they focused their attention on my roommate Alan and me. Alan would occasionally feel tiny mice feet dashing over his arm while he slept in his bed. I saw a mouse run along a ledge near my bed in broad daylight and disappear behind some boxes. My fearless dog Pop-Eye pretended not to notice. The mice also raided my cupboard and munched on some nuts I had left in a plastic bag. One day I opened my cupboard to get something, and a bold little mouse literally jumped out at me and scurried quickly away behind the refrigerator. We debated what to do, but quickly decided the only real solution was to get some mouse traps. To date, we have now killed eleven of these cute little mice. I feel bad about it (though Alan doesn't, I don't think), but frankly, those damn construction workers, er, "landscapers" forced us to commit these small animal murders. And now they are using a tool that sounds like a jackhammer to tamp down the earth over one of their filled in trenches. This is the ultimate anti-garden so far if you ask me.