First Casualty of the Season

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

… a ‘Black Brandywine’ tomato taken before its time was up by an unknown mammalian critter. This kind of thing is like a right-of-passage for food gardeners. Unless you’re gardening in a sterile bubble, you have probably experienced the blow of crushed anticipation when a ripening tomato, eggplant, or pepper is snatched in the night. It’s a drag but the reality is that our tasty food plants are attractive to all kinds of creatures. I’m so used to it by now, I barely flinched this time. I just shrugged my shoulders and went inside to grab my camera without missing a beat. I suppose what might be lessening the blow is the realization that I got off pretty easy this year. I don’t think I have ever made it as far as August 8 without experiencing some critter theft on the roof.

See this. And this. And this time. Oh yeah, and that other time. Sometimes I blame the wrong critter. Oops.

Now if they would just eat the whole thing instead of leaving half or more we might be able to come to some sort of cooperative arrangement that everyone can feel good about. Taking a bite and leaving the rest is just wasteful. And cruel.

Thanks jerks.

And yet I still prefer a little nibbling on my prized tomatoes (Ummmm… not a euphemism) to the kinds of stuff humans have been pulling in recent years. They still win the prize for “Most Annoying Garden Pest” and seem to be in some sort of competition to outdo each other in the category of WTF?.

Where do I begin with this years’ Festival of Weirdness? I’ll save some of that for another day but will leave you with this delightful gem: What appears to be a pile of fresh human feces was recently discovered on our doorstep. And its not the first time this summer either. At least they didn’t go in the garden? Several witnesses have “examined” the pile and all agree it has to be of human origin. What was even more surprising was the woman sitting on our doorstep enjoying a beer like there wasn’t a pile of festering, possibly human feces only inches away. I do not enjoy the taste of beer but if I did I can tell you I would prefer to savor the horrible flavor that many of you think is wonderfully refreshing amidst an ambiance more appealing then the sounds and smells associated with ripe humanure.

Enjoy your weekend!

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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20 thoughts on “First Casualty of the Season

  1. Someone crapped on your porch? EW. I’m sorry. Why are there such ingrates in your neighbourhood? Sheesh. You should be the most popular with your lovely garden. I don’t get it.

  2. One of my neighbors has a line he “grows” by … one third for the critters, one third to disease/weeds, one third for me. When I first heard that I thought to myself, I can get more than one third of my garden bounty. But maybe there is something to be said for going into it with the attitude that nature will only give you a third.

  3. What appears to be a pile of fresh human feces was recently discovered on our doorstep.

    How WEIRD!!! And the lady sitting next to it…even weirder! All this time I thought *I* lived in an interesting neighborhood.

  4. humanure

    Okay, I keep on laughing about this word. Sorry. I am sure it is not nearly as funny when you’re the one with the pooped-on porch…

  5. OMG… can’t stop laughing… sorry. Not laughing AT you… it’s just that we thought we lived in the the weirdest neighborhood ever. You just won… eeeewwww…

  6. The worst we’ve had so far are random tooth marks in our tomatoes. Not actual bites, just perfect tooth marks. Looks like the “chocolate box” technique.

    I’m thinking maybe the humanure belonged to Beer Woman and she was hanging out because she was proud of it. Kind of like a kid with their prize pig at a 4H fair ;)

  7. … or like kids when they are potty training, maybe she just learned and was waiting for her applause.

  8. My grandmother used to say it was a good sign if something was eating your crops, because it means there’s tasty! We’d be shucking Jersey corn, and get all grossed out when we found a worm. She would say “that’s good. It means it’s sweet.”

  9. wouldn’t someone be afraid of being caught in the act? how do you explain why you’re pooping on someone’s stoop? maybe it’s a homeless crazy person. my high school boyfriend went to Germany and saw a crazy person pooping on the street there. so… I guess it’s possible? I don’t know why I’m trying to rationalize it for you. Oh! maybe they wanted to leave some fertilizer for your garden!

  10. Melanie: Possible but maybe unfair to assume crazy homeless person. My neighbor caught a man urinating on our step and the guy had a limo waiting for him.

  11. Gayla: AAhhh… I didn’t realize your place had such a reputation!

    Here in the U.S., our people in need of mental health care don’t often get the treatment b/c it’s so expensive; therefore, we end up with quite a lot of mentally unstable people on the streets. Here, it’s really not so far-out to think a person could be pooping on stoops/stairs.

  12. I guess its like training cats not to wee in a spot they’ve already used… those people can obviously smell lingering traces of previous urinations/defecations and so now your step has become the neighbourhood dumping ground – you’ll have to get one of those Spotbot Cleaners to break the cycle!

  13. Ack- horrible weekend- something nibbled at both of the only two butternut squash we have so far- not sure if they’ll survive. And here at home something knocked over a bunch of my pots and crushed several peepers just starting to flower- dug up two containers of flowers and trampled another. Now I am entirely forgiving when the raccoons and the odd possum sneak into my house and eat the cats’ food, and I laughed hysterically when they dumped a can of chocolate milk powder on the floor and walked chocolate footprints all over my kitchen ( should have taken a photo!) I don’t even mind dealing with the odd mess they drag from the compost. But killing my plants is a whole different game- this means war! Cayenne on everything!

  14. Sort of related, but Gayla, are you as worried about what all that rain on the weekend did to your tomatoes as I am?

    I nurtured a bunch of mixed heirlooms from seed, and I know heirlooms already have a propensity to split, and after all that water… Oh, it’s worrying. I planted them late too, so as nice as this cool weather has been, I’m really hoping it gets a little sunnier so they actually ripen. At the moment they are huge, but green. Very, very green.

    Damnit. Gardening is new for me, but my dad always got early girls from the hardware store, ignored them, and had a bountiful harvest every year. I’m maybe re-thinking my dedication to the finickier (though much more beautiful) heirloom varieties.

  15. Beth: The rain has been a problem for some varieties but others have done well with it. It’s not necessarily an heirloom versus hybrid thing. I am only growing heirlooms and only a few are pooping out from the rain. It’s tricky because most heirlooms are promoted based on flavor and less on whether or not they split or are disease-resistant. I’ve got some heirlooms that self-seed in my garden and produce without any effort on my part. Don’t give up on them!!

  16. I get so mad when the little critters just take a “bite” and then leave the rest. I mean…come on!!

  17. it happened to our brandywine tomatoes earlier in the year in houston, texas, the little critters ate alot of our crop, very annoying!

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