The Possum Diary: Dawn of the Possums

Day 1: The possums have broken through the bird netting and eaten my spinach, lettuce, and broccoli. I am distraught. I am not sure where they are getting in but I have wired up the possible site of entry. What are my cats doing whilst their territory is being invaded?

Day 2: They got in again last night and ate the strawberry plants, the leaves of the beetroots, and the chilli plants. Oh well. I guess that it no longer matters if they get in; there is nothing else worth eating. Chilli plants? Seriously?

Day 3: They ate the pansies, the petunias, the rose bush, the glory vine, and the new shoots of the Chinese Star Jasmine. They ripped up all the parsley. My garden is no longer. It is a desolate wasteland. My barista says she is having possum issues too: they are eating her cactus.

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Day 4: I have decided to fight back. I investigate some anti-possum solutions. They cost three hundred dollars. I buy some garden trellis fencing stuff for ninety dollars. It is strong and has openings of 5x10cm; too small for a possum to get through. It is hot hard work but I manage to enclose my entire garden area (a small 6×1.5m covered area). I leave out half an apple to test my defences.

Day 5: The apple is gone. I buy some more wire and shore up the weak areas with a complex threading and weaving of wire. This process leaves me looking like someone who self-harms as I have so many cuts on my arms. I leave out half an apple.

Day 6: The apple is gone. They are getting through the 5x10cm holes. I go and buy chicken wire, as I am told that they are unlikely to chew through it straight away—apparently they dislike the taste of galvanised metal. It is 38 degrees. The ends of the chicken wire are sharp. I hammer and thread it all to the existing structure. I leave out a couple of lettuce leaves.

Day 7: The lettuce leaves are still there. I am cautiously triumphant. What if the lettuce leaves weren’t tempting enough to stage a break in? I buy an apple, cut it up, and leave out the whole lot scattered around the garden.

Day 8: The entire apple is still there; tiny ants are crawling over each piece. The possums have not broken in. The sense of victory is mired by a niggling feeling that the possums are just lulling me into a false sense of security. The possibility of them waiting for me to replant my garden before they stage another full-scale invasion is at the back of my mind.

Day 9: I cautiously plant some lettuce, petunias, mint, and some strawberry plants. I put out another apple.

Day 10: The apple is still there, as are the plants. The possums are no longer able to torment me.

Caterpillars have eaten all the mint.

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Words by Emma Sachsse

Artwork by Benjamin Hall