Until a few days ago, four huge green tomatoes hung from one lovely plant on my patio. I have been babying this plant since May. That's when my neighbors launched their third annual tomato growing contest and distributed seedlings to eager participants.
But then two tomatoes disappeared entirely. I suspected a woodchuck, which I've seen in the yard occasionally. At breakfast one morning, my son spotted the culprit in the act. A squirrel.
I rigged up a chicken wire cage, sprayed the plant with deer spray, and hoped for the best. But the squirrel was determined to eat the remaining tomatoes.
Yes, we have a lot of squirrels in the yard. But green tomatoes? I had no idea. Apparently, word on the internet is that squirrels will eat tomatoes, especially during droughts. [right this second, I see a squirrel digging in my veggie bed, which I just reseeded with mustard greens.]
I grow food for "fun." But caterpillars munch on grape leaves. Aphids attack a dwarf cherry tree. Slugs eat Asian greens. The woodchuck gets what it can, when it breaks in. And now the squirrels.
The brainy side of me thinks:
Now this is the kind of experience that reminds me that we share our earth with other living things.
My primal instinct says:
My yard is already protected by a 6-foot fence to keep the deer out. And chicken wire along the bottom for rabbits. What's next? Squirrel repellent? Ultrasonic noisemaker? Powerwasher? Rat traps? BB gun? How can I blast the #$%#^ squirrel nest from my sugar maple?
Huh. That must be the same line of thinking that got us to putting bounties on animal pests and poisoning our land, water, air -- and our own bodies -- with pesticides.
For now, I'm throwing pinecones.