So, this happened yesterday morning. Three tomatoes, ravaged by tree rats while I slept. Infuriating. I went through the five stages of grief in five minutes, settled on anger, then stormed inside to Google a remedy. What I found on the interwebs is exactly what's wrong with America...
This thing showed real promise. It's called the tomatoe accelerator, and promises to create a miniature greenhouse around each plant while protecting them from nature. Only problem was that you can't buy one of these in a store, it's an online purchase and ships in 4-5 days. Plus, they run $16 per and I've got 4 plants to protect. For that much money I could buy three bushels of tomatoes from Martins and be done with it! Besides, I don't have 4-5 days!!
Then Google sent me to a host of natural remedies, you know, from the same sort of people who are always telling the rest of us to ditch the Windex in favor of spaying vinegar all over the Windows? From this hippie contingent, I discovered that the perfect repellant for squirrels is...fox urine. Apparently, they hate the stuff. So, where do you get the fox pee? I imagine from the same sort of place that sells eye of newt and crow's feet, but I have no desire to hunt down a witchcraft supply warehouse. Of course, I could go directly to the source, but that's problematic. First, I'd have to track down a fox, then get him to pee in a cup...not happening.
At this point I wandered into the PETA section of my search. I'll call them the "can't we all just get along" crowd. A proud vegan grandmother offered this suggestion..."I've found that the best way to guide squirrels and chipmunks away from my vegetables is to provide them with more desirable treats elsewhere in our yard." Ahh yes, let's guide the little darlings! This poor women actually sets out a basket of more squirrel-friendly fare to satisfy their appetite for destruction, in the vain hope that once filled, her tomatoe plants will be spared. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Neville Chamberlain-style appeasement that rewards squirrel thievery. Instead of confronting their destructive behavior, let's encourage more of it!!! This woman surely has a place in a Hillary Clinton administration.
Discouraged, I set out to find a solution closer to home. I visited three stores...Strange's, Southern States, and finally Lowe's. Finding no workable remedy, I decided to build my own...
It's sturdy and green. As soon as I finished building it I had a sinking feeling that I am about to be punked. What's to stop felonious squirrels from climbing over the top of this thing? Nothing, actually. But maybe it will discourage the lazier of their species. I could electrify it, which would be sooo cool...but that could have unintended consequences too horrible to imagine.
Oh, back to that first picture. Have you ever noticed that squirrels never ever finish eating a tomatoe? It's always a few nibbles. It's like the guy who takes a small bite out of six treats in the Russell Stover box and puts them back until he finally finds the chocolate nougat one. Well, it turns out that the reason they do this is...squirrels don't like tomatoes. But their little pea brains are so empty, they can't remember that they hate tomatoes. They're always thinking, "Hey!! These look awesome!!", then they take a bite, spit it out and move on. Worthless.