The first time it happened, I was disappointed. The second time, I thought I could still find a solution … but after the ten or twelfth time, I’m ready for all out battle!
It took WEEKS for the first tomato to start to ripen (finally). When it began turning red, I felt giddy. In just a few short days, I would be eating my first, sweet, vine-ripened tomato. I was excited.
The day finally came … I knew when I got up in the morning that I would be eating fresh tomato for lunch that day. Went out to the garden, whistling all the way, only to take one glance, drop everything in my hands and come to the horrific realization that the tomato … my precious … was completely gone – stripped off the vine!
At first I immediately blamed my neighbors. Those worthless tomato-rustling neighbors! How dare they be bold enough to waltz into my yard and take the fruit of my labor. (I tend to blame my neighbors for just about everything that’s wrong with the world anyway.)
Then I caught the flash of red out of the corner of my eye, and spied the half-eaten tomato half buried in the grass east of the house.
As the weeks went by, I realized this case was not isolated, and that time and again I would have to deal with losing my harvest to these dang critters. What do they want from me? I have an enormous black walnut tree in my yard that feeds them and their broods for months during the summer and into the winter, as they return to dig up their buried bounty all over my yard. For some reason, the squirrels feel like I’m going to all this hard work just for them.
Anyway, it happened time and again. And last week the proverbial last straw was drawn when I woke up, went out to see a beautiful tomato just waiting for me … came back literally two hours later, only to find it stripped from the plant and laying half destroyed on the ground.
So I surrounded the plants in netting and fencing, hoping to fend them off (pulling the nets off my grape vines and getting a case of poison oak in the process). I wrapped it TWICE, so much so that I could no longer even get to the tomatoes any more, knowing it would take the jaws of life for me to finally release them to my possession.
Ahh, finally … the victory is mine!
Or so I thought.
The tomatoes turned red, I went out to check on them, and every last tomato was taken from the lead plant. They had weasled their way through the perimeter, past the inner defenses, through the shields and right into a feast fit for kings.
So now I’m reduced to picking the tomatoes green and letting them ripen inside. Sigh. I might as well go buy them in the store.
Next year … oh oh oh … next year. They will be shocked to discover the electric fencing I’ve installed. And I won’t be satisfied to give them a mild zap. I’m going to wind that thing up until it rivals the Texas penal system. I want to go out there only to find a smoldering tail on the ground. LOL … nah, I’m not that mean. They’ll survive.
But I’m going to eat my ripe tomatoes.
I have not yet begun to fight! (But I am going to go get some calamine lotion.)