The first year I planted my garden here at the barn, everything grew. Maybe it was a slow year for gophers and bunnies. Maybe this whole gardening idea came as a complete surprise and they didn't notice the tender corn stalks, the spindly sunflower seedlings, the newly sprouted pumpkins, watermelons, cantaloupes and tomatoes and peppers until it was too late. Whatever the reason, we had plenty of fresh produce that year. Sweet corn to boil and roast, ripe red and golden tomatoes for salads and sandwiches, peppers for salads, and vases full of gorgeous flowers. (The melons were a dud, too finicky for the soil, which has so much clay you can literally hand-build pottery with it.)
Anyway, years two and three of the garden were failures. The minute a spear of green became visible, the wild animals who share this canyon mowed it down. A few sunflowers survived, as did a single watermelon plant. (It produced lovely melons, green and round, but they never quite ripened) So this year, armed with chicken wire, some stakes and a scary-looking air compressor-powered staple gun, I put up a fence. It sits three feet above the ground and reaches six inches below it. It leans a little. (In one spot, it leans a lot.) I'm almost afraid to say anything - and you certainly can't see it in this photo - but everything sprouted. Grew a few inches. And a week later, it's all still there.