Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Squirrels and salad?

In a optimistic mood, I sowed Treviso radicchio in the spring, thinking that I'd have nice small red leaves, in spite of the approaching summer heat. Unfortunately, Treviso radicchio turns red in cool weather, so I've had a lovely robust green patch all summer long; it's trouble-free but too bitter to eat without leaching out the bitter compounds before cooking, and then it's tough. I've left it in the garden as an experiment. I'm hoping that cool fall weather will mellow the taste, and encourage the leaves to actually look like radicchio. I had some lovely round heads a couple of seasons ago that were beautiful in the winter garden. So imagine my surprise when something started nibbling on a few leaves. We first thought maybe squirrels were using the flexible leaves in their summer nests, but I thought that the bitterness would deter them from too much activity. Yesterday evening, however, we had quite a surprise. The culprit (a cute female squirrel who's actually nursing according to a wildlife biologist friend of ours) was in full view of the kitchen window munching away. Who knew that squirrels like salad!

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