Throw a tomato at the stage
Monday July 16th 2012, 10:36 pm
Filed under: Wildlife

I never transplanted my three tomato plants from their six inch pots. I just couldn’t make myself do it. Fourteen tomatoes, I had fourteen actual tomatoes, and I could have scads more if I’d just give their roots a little room to spread out in the sun.


I had them right outside the window. Nothing was going to sneak by me this year. Day after day, as the first of the Early Girls gradually turned red, I checked first thing in the morning: still there! Yay! After the last few years’ grief I could hardly believe it and I examined the stem edge of the first repeatedly. Is it ripe enough yet? How about now? Now? Are we almost there? I got a cone of yarn (actually, a merino/cashmere that sold out quickly) from Colourmart that looked like it had been run over by a truck somewhere in transit; it reeked of diesel oil.

Great! Squirrel repellant. I wound the yarn off and the stink washed right out of the wool. I parked the icky cardboard cone where it was standing guard by the first fruit.

I went off to the post office today. No problem. Came home and knit awhile. No problem. Ran off to Whole Foods with Michelle for the dairy-free items she needs. Walked in the door, across the house, straight to the sliding door to check on my plants–

–which is how my first-picked red tomato of the season went straight into the trash. What was left of it. The squirrel had bitten a tiny green one in half and spat it out, then stepped around the cone and the one it was guarding to get to the one in the middle that had been coloring up rapidly as it hung off the other side of the box. It wasn’t the ripest but it would do.

The plants and their now-twelve little fruits are safe inside at last, climbing over an old stereo speaker  instead of the tomato cage supports they really do deserve. But they did get some heat last week so hopefully these will sweeten up nicely. And even if not. Those are MINE.

I walked out of the room. I walked back in two minutes later to find the same obnoxious black squirrel who, when I woke up early this morning found himself suddenly scrambling for cover after reaching the hanging suet cake (have you ever seen a squirrel run hanging upside down clinging eight feet high along a beam? It’s actually quite funny*), the one that breaks all the rules and entices the others to copy him, the one who ran for the hills after I found him standing in my amaryllises this afternoon because yo, that’s squirtgun time and he knew it.

He was at the edge of my amaryllises, perched in their pots, straining forward to see. Right there. Staring about seven feet across the patio at the spot where the tomatoes had been. Not seeing them just inside and moved slightly to the right on the other side of the glass, not distracted away by anything, staring so intently, so fervently, willing them to return, that he didn’t even notice my approach.

His tomatoes! The empty box top! How could his new treat be so, so, just, GONE?!

*ed. to add: I finally figured out why. The herky-jerky motions of the panicky race, when you know the squirrel will always be just fine in the end, reminded me somehow of–I haven’t thought of this in decades!–Penelope Pitstop tied to the train tracks by Snidely Whiplash, with whatsisname riding in that same frantic rhythm to the always-successful rescue.

4 Comments so far
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Dudley Do-right?

It was so windy here that the squirrels were having trouble staying on the overhead wires. Funny to watch as they scurried across to the nearest large tree. One almost fell several times.

Comment by Anne 07.17.12 @ 12:59 am

I wish I could get a student filmmaker to follow you around for a day. The edited short movie full of suspense and action would be a prize winner!

Comment by LynnM 07.17.12 @ 1:23 am

I quite agree with LynnM. Never mind all this animated stuff. In the mean time, with the accent on MEAN, why are you(sob) starving those poor widdwe squirreleys?

Comment by Don Meyer 07.17.12 @ 8:43 am

Why Alison, I believe your squirrels are teenagers.

Comment by Channon 07.17.12 @ 9:06 am

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