I hope you are enjoying these lazy, hazy days of summer.
You may recall that a couple of years ago we had a real problem here at the CowChows with tomato snakes. Basically, the tomato worms were growing to such an enormous size that they thought they were snakes. When you pulled one off the plant they would wriggle around and try to bite you. Some would even spit at you. They were scary. The whole ordeal was so traumatic that we didn’t even have tomatoes last year. I think they upset the entire CowChows eco-system.
Well, I’m proud to announce that this year we have a solution to this menace and are once again enjoying our very own delicious homegrown tomatoes. After years of research, upon which no expense was spared, I have devised the Tomato Snake Early Warning System. What, you may ask, is this ingenious solution? It’s simple really. I have learned to recognize their droppings.
What makes the tomato worm such a formidable foe is his camouflage. He is of the same color, shape and markings as the plant. When you get close to the plant he stops moving and virtually disappears. But, his poop is dark brown, in the shape of a tiny little barrel, and it stands out against the bright green of the plant leaf. So, all you have to do is search the plant for these tiny barrel shaped gifts and when you find one you know there is a tomato worm lurking somewhere below. Of course, you still have to find him but at least you’re not wasting time searching for something that may not be there.
The one danger with this system is that you incur the risk of your neighbors thinking you have gone mad. So please, if you’re out around the CowChows and you see a grizzled old man in a floppy hat bent over at the waist and staring at a plant, don’t call the Sheriff. He made off with half my crop the last time.
I wish you could’ve been here. What with the summer heat we’ve been having lately BG and I have taken to doing the yard work around the CowChows either early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Mostly late afternoon because early morning is kind of an alien concept to me. I know it exists but I really don’t speak the language or understand the customs. But, this morning she managed to rouse me pretty early and we went out to do some chores.
We’d been out for a while and it was beginning to warm up so we were heading back into the house. As we neared the back porch I looked down and right against the wall lay the cutest little garter snake you ever saw. BG doesn’t like snakes, any snakes. She no longer believes the only good snake is a dead one, but she still believes the only good snake is one that is far from her house. So, while I went to get my Ozarks Snake Wrangling equipment she watched the little varmint to make sure it stayed put.
I returned with my stick and glove, and was easing in to make my move. BG had been standing in the same place for several minutes without moving, and just as I was sneaking up on the snake a giant earthworm wriggled up between her toes. This was no ordinary worm by any measurement. This was the Godzilla of earthworms. It was nearly as big as the snake, and when BG jumped it startled the worm and he began to thrash about like a snake, which did nothing to calm BG. She began to dance and shriek. This in turn startled the snake. He decided to make a run for it, but with me behind him and a concrete wall beside him there was nowhere to go but toward BG. The worm was thrashing about at her feet; the snake was coming straight for her, and she cut loose with a dance that really brought down the rain.
The snake got away. The worm, amazingly, did not get trampled. And I, apparently, wasn’t supposed to find any of this funny. On the bonus side though, I think I’m going to get to sleep in tomorrow morning.