It’s man vs. little furry thief in the backyard garden plot

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Each Monday, the Sun-Gazette asks somebody in the area, “What’s on your mind?” If you have a topic you would like to share, contact us at

Bob McHenry’s thoughts these days are on a trespasser, something causing damage to his property.

He has yet to spot the offender, but like a good crime scene investigator, he knows what’s causing it. The evidence is right there.

A rabbit has been invading his small above-ground garden, where he has planted tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli and cabbage.

“Whatever he isn’t eating, he’s stomping on. I’ve had to re-plant almost two-thirds of my garden,” McHenry said of the rabbit. This is only the Nippenose Valley resident’s second year of planting.

“I like gardening because it is the one time that I can just relax. It’s a hands-on task,” said the husband and father of two.

“While I’m gardening, I’m not thinking about the bills that have to be paid, news events or what schools may be closing. Outside in the garden, you’re not worrying about anything. You got your hands in the soil,” he added,

As a gardener, McHenry is learning the lesson that one always is at the mercy of the weather and creatures.

“I usually start planting in mid-May. I try to wait until I’m pretty sure there isn’t going to be another frost. Of course this year, just one day after I planted, we had a frost. It got really cold overnight,” said McHenry, a native of Mansfield, Ohio.

“It’s been chilly. My cabbage had some frost on it, but it’s still kicking,” he added.

“I do wish the animals would stop getting into my garden,” McHenry said with a hearty laugh.

“Last year I was amazingly successful. I had so many tomatoes that I gave them away, and my broccoli came up really nice, too. Cucumbers started off OK, but in June some kind of fungus got it,” he said.

“I had a problem with animals at the very beginning. However, one day when I opened the door, my cat took off out of the house. He chased a rabbit out of the garden, and I never saw a rabbit again until this year,” McHenry said.

An indoor cat, 7-year-old Cinder, has yet been out this spring.

“He almost caught that rabbit last year,” McHenry said.

Although he has yet to spot the rabbit this spring, “I know he’s there. There are thump prints in the garden. Whatever he’s not eating, he is stepping on. I got the thump prints and I have no vegetables where vegetables used to be.”

Maybe it’s time to put Cinder back on the case.