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Poodles for justice

July 8, 2010
tags: ,

Albert (the anti-squirrel poodle) has been exonerated of any implication in the tomato thievery scandal.

The story:
A couple of nights back, I discovered that the birds had discovered my ripened Romas:

Needless to say, I got immediately motivated to pick anything within 24 hours of resembling a ripe tomato. As I picked, I tossed the 20+ pecked and gnawed fruits to the end of the beds next to the composting manure pile. As sad as this picture makes me, I’ll post it for the sake of tarnished poodle reputations both here and anywhere else they may stand falsely accused.

Last night I protected the plants with a sufficient coverage of the godawful but effective bird netting (invisible to the middle aged human eye, it snags on everything including belt buckles, watches, sunglasses, hats, cell phone carriers, Ipods, shoelaces, wood chips, ……. seriously, you get the picture.)
In the process I found that some cardinals were loitering, waiting for me to turn my back so they could return their illicit red smorgasbord. About that time I saw Albert snatch one of the damaged Romas and run to the grass to play with it. (Yes, apparently Romas are a decent stand-in for a ball in most individual poodle sports.) He was trying to bring the game indoors when I snapped the picture.
To show his forgiveness, he treed a squirrel a few minutes ago. Well done.


The birds got almost 30 Romas Tuesday, but that evening I did manage to harvest 306. I’ll count the 30 as my 10% tithe back to nature, but the netting stays up for the rest of the season.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. SIS permalink
    July 10, 2010 8:03 am

    Perhaps your winter project can be building a tomato pergola just like Martha’s new blueberry pergola!

  2. July 13, 2010 4:44 pm

    I know I was the one who pointed out the use of bird netting, but I heard about another product the other day that sounded cool. They mentioned it on NPR’s “why you bet your garden” (which is an awesome podcast btw). Anyway, it is called bird scare flash tape. It is basically colored mylar. You attach streamers to your posts. So, when the wind hits it it rattles and flashes colors and apparently it freaks them out.

    They also suggested painting a big eye on a beachball and suspending it near your plants.

    Here is a pre-made one (pretty weird looking, personally the flash tape looks a better option)

    Maybe this will help you out since I know how big a PITA snagging those nets are.

  3. July 13, 2010 6:46 pm

    Thanks for the reminder- I hadn’t thought of the Mylar tape even though I had seen it over gardens before.

    I did string a piece of crime scene tape from the top of one of the bamboo stakes (actually heavy duty yellow work site tape from home depot, but it looks just like the murder scene tape that opens every other newscast from Atlanta). I haven’t had a problem on that plant but I haven’t had a ripe tomato on that plant since the issue started.

    I actually consider aluminum pie pans to be more suited for my tacky plot, or maybe even old CDs. I wonder if I can find an Elvis Mylar party balloon?

    (The netting seems to be working in the meantime.)

  4. July 13, 2010 7:03 pm

    Forgot to mention also on that same podcast he discussed his recipe for tomato sauce. The thing I thought was neat though was his idea of what to do with the excess water, use it as a base for vegetable soup. Basically after you have all the ingredients together boiling in a pot the water from the sauce collects in the middle and starts to fountain. You then use a ladle to scoop out that water into quart jars. Then you can seal them in a pressure cooker for later or use right then.

    So, basically you not only thicken the sauce, but also have a delicious base for veggie soup. Waste not, want not and all that.

    • July 14, 2010 6:27 am

      I listen to Mike’s podcast as well- “You Bet Your Garden” off of NPR’s WHYY in Philadelphia.

      Mike McGrath is a goof ball but very knowledgeable; I do think some of what he tells people is more his opinion than research confirmed fact and biased to his own ecological agenda leftover from his days at Organic Gardening magazine.
      He is who convinced me to use ALL the tomato when making sauce, skin, seeds and all. I also found a Martha Stewart quick recipe that followed the same basic idea. His sauce methodology is here:

      The “water” skimmed off never made it to soup base. After being refrigerated overnight in nalgene bottles, it was the most refreshing & delicious tomato flavored drink we’ve ever tasted. It made me think I might use some Brandywines in the next batch just to have more of this as a reward for a day in the kitchen.

  5. July 14, 2010 8:42 am

    That’s a good idea too. Like homemade V8.

    BTW, I think your summation of Mike McGrath is spot on. Knowledgeable goofball is right on. LOL. I have seen the eco bias as well, but for the most part I can dig it.

  6. LvsChant permalink
    July 14, 2010 5:05 pm

    Looking forward to hearing about your tomato sauce canning… I have heard that canning seems to make herb flavors get stronger, so a recipe for canning might use smaller quantities than a batch you would use immediately… but I have no experience on it whatsoever and hope to learn by watching you 🙂 I do have the canning book by Jackie Clay and hope to use it once I get a harvest worthy of canning (won’t be this year).

    • July 14, 2010 6:18 pm

      We have been cooking then freezing the sauce so far- 3 batches, all very basic.

      With this last one we got the consistency just right but it has a little more bite (fresh ground black pepper? Garlic?) to it than the others due to the reduction.

      I picked up some ball jars a couple nights ago but haven’t canned anything yet- was thinking whole or crushed.

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