Tomato Surprise

I’m not much of a cook.  This comes as no surprise to those who know and love me.  The irony is that I love to feed people. My inner “earth mother” is at odds with my culinary skills.

No matter.  I wisely married an excellent cook and no one in my house goes hungry. Liberated from the food prep portion of kitchen duty, I’m free to put some energy into the growing and cultivating of our tiny back-yard plot.  Growing things you can eat is enormously satisfying, though not without challenges.

We have more failures than successes, and no two years are alike.  Somehow we cobble together some semblance of an edible garden and we are all happier for it.  We delight in our salad, even if we only used three small cherry tomatoes from out back.  The basil was delicious early in the season and made for some beautiful Caprese salads.

Cherry Tomatoes

Garden Treasures

On the other hand, our incredibly promising beef-steak tomatoes introduced us to horn worms, emerald green creatures with voracious appetites.  Squirrels, rats and mice made quick work of most of our pumpkin plants, prompting us to create a mini Fort Knox to keep the four-legged creatures at bay.  Constructed of heavy-duty chicken wire and garbage twist ties it worked.  Access denied!

We aren’t heartless gardeners so we offered peanuts as a sort of peace offering.  What irony: we purchase food for the wildlife so the wildlife leaves our garden untouched.

Part of me wishes I had a hidden camera documenting the late-night food-fest going on beneath my bedroom window.  My more reasoned self convinces me that oblivious slumber is the better way to go.  We’ll see the destruction tomorrow anyway on our daily trip through the garden.

Miraculously a small, yellow, fully formed tomato presents itself on the vine and we cradle it in our palms letting it fall naturally into our grasp.  Is there anything more delicious than a fresh-from-the-vine, warm tomato bursting with delicate sweetness in your mouth at the end of a summer day?

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