Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Thief in the Nighttime

I woke up in a crappy mood this past Saturday morning (moving day), sore from the mini-moving frenzy Friday night, wherein D & I had thrown things in boxes and gotten a full load in the SuperVan, but still had so much crap left at the apartment that it boggled the mind.  I was grumbly and irritable, because I knew the day that stretched before me would be more of the same, tote that load lift that bale, up and down the stairs. 

I put on the coffee and then went outside to enjoy the deck (because drinking coffee on a deck in the morning in suburbia can be everything you dream and more). 

I didn’t even sit down before I saw that the tomato plant gifted to us by D’s father had been savaged.  Damaged leaves and sheared off stalks were strewn around.  Up until then, I had been eagerly watching the little green fruits on the vine, waiting patiently (not *patiently* exactly) for the day they would turn red.  Of course, all of the little green fruits were gone.  I was speechless.  I took in the rest of the scene to see if we had had any other losses.  The  pot full of stillborn basil was on its side (nothing to damage there, the seeds never came up).  The cilantro that ahd fried to a crisp was … well, it was still crispy, so we were good there.  The jade plant had many leaves around it, looking just terrible compared to a few days ago.  And then I saw the worst of it. 

To give you some background, D and I had given succulents as favors at our wedding.  I had ordered a hundred of them from EBAY, and  they came individually saran wrapped and taped and wrapped with wet (well formerly wet) paper towels.  It was time consuming to unwrap them without disturbing the itty bitty plants, but one by one I unwrapped and potted a hundred succulents.  Half myself, half with the help of very patient friends.  Each one was an adorable little surprise, and every time I opened another I would squeal or coo and gush over how cute it was, and how this is the one I wanted to keep.  But I only kept one for myself.  It seemed to be a sickly looking echevria, but it had since rebounded and turned into, not an echevria, but something called “baby necklace.” 

So there I stood, with my coffee, stockstill on the deck, looking into the pot where the succulent should have been and was not.  (And see the basil?  The basil should not have been there, but it was.  But I had known that before that morning, it's just a funny juxtaposition)  No matter how hard you look at this photo, the succulent is just not there.  And that's how it was that morning.  I looked, and then looked harder.  Squinting in fact.  I actually poked around the dirt where it should have been, seeing if it had been sucked under, like in the movie Tremors.  But it was nowhere. 

I'm the type of person who's slightly an idiot first thing in the morning, so I went and got D, who was also sore and in a bad mood, and showed him the scene on the deck.  He nodded sagely.  I had recently read two blogs dealing with thefts out of people's gardens (@ Apartment Therapy and Life on the Balcony) , and so made the mental leap in logic, asking if someone had stolen our tomatoes and my succulent.  He shook his head (he's used to me being slightly slow in the morning), and said “it looks like we have a racoon,” and he went back inside.  I myself finally sat down on the deck and had a little cry.  The tomato doesn’t look like its going to make it.  The sun’s been really unforgiving, and the heat is just curling the leaves.  The plant was so beautiful, and I feel like an ogre because it’s going to die in our care, but mostly because some effing rodent brutalized my ‘mater, and stole my baby’s necklace! 

Now my garden (my contribution) consists of a pot with no succulent, (but mysteriously it has basil sprouts that I did not plant there; I planted them in the other pot.  Because there used to be a succulent there).   A pot of to-die-for smells-like-heaven sage.  The pot that I actually put the basil seeds in is empty.  The pot with fried-to-a-crisp cilantro.  And the giant pot with the assaulted tomato.  A pot of new, happy astilbe (must plant).  A pot of new, mostly happy parsley. 

And a trap for a dirty rotten thief.

Yesterday I saw the thief himself, having returned to the scene of the crime.  He was strolling off of the deck,  bold as brass, with a saucy little waddle to his walk.  This teenage mutant ninja groundhog had just taken another bit off of the 'mater.  I spread some bloodmeal around, which the internet tells me is supposed to be exceedingly gross to varmint sensabilities.  Put some in poor Mr. 'mater's pot too.  Fingers crossed.  But D & I agree, because there's work to be done this summer that involves ripping up some boards in the deck to remedy a situation underneath it, and because ninja groundhog was last seen waddling under said deck, he's got to go. 

And he's gonna pay for my 'mater.  (and succulent)



fanskad said...

He's not a ninja if you saw him - just a bold pudgy little crook.

It's really a sad situation, him stealing our 'matoes. After all, it's the end of our 'mato plant, and the end of his life. Nobody is happy.

O-Town HD said...

He is bold. Did you see that overgrown rat tore down another stalk yesterday?

Even so, Mr. 'mato looks better today. I wonder if he won't bounce back. I think Mr. 'mato is a fighter. His leaves weren't so droopy today. Here's hopin'.