EARTH EDUCATION: Larceny

McClatchy InteractiveJune 30, 2008 

I have been robbed.

All of my tomatoes are gone. Initially I only noticed that the plants kept breaking, and I figured they were getting too big for the weather. Yesterday I got home and saw that all my cherry tomatoes were missing, and they hadn't merely fallen off; they were nowhere to be seen. Today I went out to see which plants needed re-staking, and all the green tomatoes on my big plants have disappeared.

I'd been thinking wind and water was to blame for my snapping vines. Now I think it's squirrels or something similar climbing up and stealing my produce.

And I am TICKED OFF. All these weeks I've been watching my little tomatoes develop and get bigger, and propping up their parent plants to make sure they get fed. One of my cherry tomatoes had turned red and was almost ready to pick. Now not only are they gone, the poor plant is broken in HALF so there aren't even any blossoms left. The tops have been snapped off of most of my other vines. The plant that was my pride and joy looks stripped and defeated.

I don't know what to do. It seems like animals must be to blame, since there are no tomatoes on the ground around the plants; they're just gone. I'd been getting excited about them. I've really never grown my own food before, and they looked like they were getting close to ripening after more than two months of waiting and watching. I am disappointed, and I am severely peeved.

So I guess it's back to Lowe's to look for animal repellent, in the hope of saving the few buds that are left. I am having such a hard time writing this without swearing. My usual vocabulary resembles a Merchant Marine's, and I can feel all those choice words percolating in my brain as I try to describe the events of the day. It's all I can do to keep them from stampeding down through my arms and out of my fingers and into the delicate sensibilities of my three readers. ARGH.

This sucks. I'm not sure where I'll go from here.

Send all jeers, condolences and schadenfreude to khalverson@mcclatchyinteractive.com.

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