Oh Rats, Foiled Again!

Just look at this mess. Every time I look at this image, I want to take up target practice. Despite weeks of near-obsessive vigilance – mitigated by my willingness to share – the neighborhood “roof rats,” as they are known in these parts, have been helping themselves to my figs and heirloom tomatoes.

This year I’d say we’ve lost nearly half the figs to these marauding critters, and the only reason we’ve gotten to eat even half of them is my reluctant decision to pick the figs before they’ve had a chance to ripen fully on the tree (which means they don’t reach quite the degree of lusciousness that happens then they stay on the tree a few more days) and bring them inside to soften and ripen further. The flavor never quite reaches that divine intensity you get when they are dripping and splitting with juiciness, but they’re still pretty darn good.

The tomatoes, now they’re another story – but no less annoying. The local rats know exactly when to sink their sharp little fangs into them – again ju-u-ust a couple of days before they’re ripe enough to pick. Interestingly enough, they are particular about their tomatoes; they have definite preferences; the green-and-red-mottled and the yellow tomatoes go unmolested, but they have decimated the Black Crims and Abraham Lincolns. Go figure.

And of course, once the rats are through with them, the flies move in for their share. Yuck!

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