Saturday, August 1, 2009

evil green sausages with beady yellow eyes...

and big teeth!
While I have conceded the fact that there is wildlife, and it will continue to try to use my yard as its territory, I didn't figure on caterpillars on the roof! After all, how would they get up there?! Bees may not even be able to find my garden oasis and pollinate the lovely little yellow tomato flowers.
However, this year I had the distinct pleasure of meeting a tomato worm, or more precisely, 5 tomato worms.
I remember when I first saw one. A harmless looking little green caterpillar, hanging amongst the leaves on one of the tomato plants. I thought to myself, 'how bad could it be? how much could such a little thing eat? its the only one and maybe it will turn into a beautiful butterfly' Wow was I wrong! The book is called "Hungry Hungry Caterpillar" for a reason!
A few nights later I was on the phone to Amy, sitting on the roof, enjoying the setting sun reflecting against the city, watching all the tomato plants grow, when I noticed that one of them seemed to be missing a lot of leaves. I peered around, trying to figure out what could be causing such a strange phenomenon. Then I saw it. The seemingly innocent caterpillar I had seen a few day previously, only now it was 10 times larger, and munching its way through my tomato plants!
My shock and surprise had to sound through the phone as I described this strange creature using my tomato plant as its dinner. Amy said, 'oh, that's a tomato worm, I haven't seen one of those in ages, they look like big green sausages' Sausages with teeth! I'm glad I found the things when I did, apparently they go from breakfast links to bratwursts quickly, taking your tomato crop with them.
I pried them 3 of them off one by one and threw them in a bucket. I figured, I can put them out in the grass down the block. As I surveyed the damage though, my resolve not to kill things lessened, and by the time I got down the ladder, the evil tomato worms ended up in a bag in the trash. Nothing gets between me and my fresh tomatoes!
The next evening I went up to see if the tomatoes had made any progress in recovering from the evil green sausages with teeth and to show Amy what needed done up there while I was away, only to find more leaves missing. We poked around amongst the leaves, and found 2 more gnawing their way through my salad. This time I didn't carefully pry them away, I reached in and yanked them off the tomato stems. Its amazing how they can cling! And wow do they feel funny, kind of like the texture of a partially ripe peach. I kind of wanted to squeeze to see what would happen, but then realized that I really didn't want to know if they are filled with green goo like I think they are. This time they didn't even get put in the trash can with a few pieces of greens to munch their way through while waiting to perish, these two got flung across the roof tops, from where they either had a long journey to other tomato plants, or they ended up being dinner for a hungry bird....
ah the circle of life.

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