Recently in my garden, I've noticed occasional evidence left by large furry rats with white tails. These incursions into sacred territory seem to have increased during the recent dry spells. Although I have seen no more footprints, I have noticed an increasing frequency of tender rose buds nipped off just before they bloom, and always from the same bushes. I am also aware, as an enlightened modern man, that special cameras, called "game cameras," exist for the sole purpose of identifying the nighttime marauders and improving, for hunters, the rate of harvesting them. I put all these facts together a couple of weeks ago and decided that it would be nice to know exactly the who, what and when of the perpetrators visiting my garden at night. Sort of like having a night watchman without all the overtime pay.
Alongside installing such a camera comes a little trepidation. What if I find that some hitherto unknown creature is drawn by the beauty of my roses? Perhaps female Sasquatch are harvesting the roses to brighten up the cave or brush pile they live in? Such pictures could make me rich at the same time as scaring the bejeesus out of me. What if I find evidence of a mountain lion, rumored and occasionally spotted within Kansas and Nebraska, prowling in my backyard? Such knowledge would completely spoil my plans for a nighttime-highlighted "white" garden bed.
I'm going to keep moving the camera until I locate the secret path of invasion. Until then, for those who also think this sounds like a good idea, I can wholeheartedly recommend it. These game cameras are relatively inexpensive now and take good quality pictures, both daytime and nighttime, without flash. They have the added benefit of adding automatic information to the picture; date, time, temperature, and phase of the moon. There's an intense feeling of anticipation every time I remove the flash memory to view the pictures, a hope of surprise and discovery. It might be really neat to focus this on a bird house or nest or something more dependably interesting than a random garden path. And it would be useful to identify which garden tour visitor is taking cuttings from your treasures, or which neighborhood child is using your back yard as a shortcut from school to home. Depending on your garden activities, you'll at least get some nice candid shots of yourself working in the garden, because you quickly forget it is there. The latter lapse of memory could also, if you think about it, be the danger of having it around, again depending on what nongardening activities you enjoy in your garden.