2015—Something Wicked This Way Came
To paraphrase Shakespeare (or Ray Bradbury, for that matter) something wicked came my way over the past few days. I don’t know if it involved witches (or alternatively, a sinister traveling carnival) but something wicked visited my yard and decimated my small, but greatly anticipated, tomato crop. The BLT I was planning to enjoy when the Brandy Boy I featured a week or so ago fully ripened, disappeared with hardly a trace. I couldn’t believe what I was (or wasn’t) seeing. Only a tiny shard of reddish skin clung to the stem, splatters of red tomato juice and a few seeds stained the backs of the large leaves beneath it, and a few more shreds of skin lay scattered on the dirt. An identical twin remained; it is barely visible in the upper right corner behind the “now gone” tomato in the “Future BLT” post. That was Friday. On Saturday afternoon, I went out to survey the tomato vines again and, the other tomato? gone! I fretted over what wicked creature was decimating my farming efforts. On Sunday I grilled the remaining eggplants for fear they would be next. My gym buddies have suggested that it was a skunk, an opossum, or a raccoon. I’ve had skunks and possums in my yard but I’ve never seen a raccoon. One friend offered me a humane trap. I declined, having so few tomatoes that it probably wouldn’t be worth the effort.
With the hot weather preventing the tomato vines from setting new fruit, there are no more tomatoes on the Brandy Boy plant and there was only a single tomato on the Brandywine plant. Sadly, the Brandywine was next on the wicked something’s menu. I went out Wednesday morning and it was half eaten. Thursday morning, the rest of it was gone without a trace.
The four ripening tomatoes on a Patio tomato plant were all that was left of the crop. I first thought they were not quite as convenient or easily reachable as the other tomatoes. Was I wrong! I didn’t act quickly enough to save those. A cluster of three disappeared without a trace on Thursday night. Finally, on Friday, I took action. I encased the single remaining ripening tomato, just a few days from perfection, in a mesh bag and zip tied it to the tomato cage in two places. Too little, too late. On Saturday morning, the bag hung limply and empty from the tomato cage.
As I said, something wicked this way came. Here is the half-eaten Brandywine and what was left of my protective netting.