tomato flavored water is for the rat(s)

It’s been a weird summer. I don’t feel like I lived through it. I’m sure I did. I’m here (I am here right?). Maybe it was just the heat that fried my brain. Or the humidity molded it over to the point where I can’t be sure anymore. Now I am sick again. (Wasn’t I just sick? The answer is yes. In April I was sick. April was yesterday. Today is August. I am still sick. I am sick again. Summer is weird.)

It was so dry in April that I never thought we’d see rain. The poor onions. Dry as a bone when they needed it most. So it was a bad onion year. But it was our first bad onion year in over 10 years so I’ll take it. It makes me sad, but I didn’t really feel like braiding onions anyway. There is always a bright side.

In June (or was it July?) the skies opened up. Making up for lost time. We got so much rain that my something something got moldy (lots of things got moldy. So many some-things got moldy). Now all of the fruits taste like water. Peaches taste like peach flavored water. Tomatoes taste like tomato flavored water. Pears taste like pear flavored water. Blueberries? You get the idea.

This year I grew half as many tomato plants as usual because 1.) I am tired 2.) Sometime last year I realized it was the tomatoes that were giving me nutcracker esophagus [I know. NUTCRACKER ESOPHAGUS. Also known as Jackhammer Esophagus]. It was the tomatoes and the stress [not the stress of growing the tomatoes, but the stress of life uncontrollable]. Either way, I grew half as many tomato plants which means I grew 2 dozen tomato plants, which I understand is still a lot of tomato plants. REGARDLESS. Then it started raining and it didn’t stop and SO many tomatoes grew and the plants couldn’t hold them up [those weak muscled plants] and neither could the stakes I spent so much of my summer hammering into the ground and winding with twine so we wouldn’t have this problem and yet we had it still [such is life]. The ground got soggy and loose. One morning I woke up and the plants were horizontal. Giant softball sized heirloom tomatoes lay in the dirt. Flashing neon signs and arrows calling to the chipmunks and slugs. It’s been such a late season because of that never ending cold yesterday [April]. We’ve barely had a red tomato and it’s almost December.

Yesterday morning I did what I had to do. I harvested every tomato [green or not green] that was lying on the ground because if I didn’t there would be nothing left for me, only partly chewed partly ripened tomatoes for the compost rat who we just discovered this weekend. [We have been here for 12 years and we have never had a single compost rat. Also, Jack the cat is getting very old. This we know. Friday we thought he died. He did not die. But he may as well be dead, because: RATS. Or should I say: rat. I have only seen one rat (at a time)]. This makes me sad. The rat(s), and Jack’s imminent death, but also the tomatoes. BUT: tomatoes give me jackhammer esophagus. And this year they taste like water. [Remember: there is always a bright side].

Also, Jack is not my cat, so this helps. He is my neighbor’s cat, which is the best kind of farm cat because he kills your rats and your mice and you don’t have to take him to the vet for the worms he gets when he eats them. And you don’t have to pick the ticks off him at night. But he refuses to acknowledge our existence even though we have cohabited this land together for a dozen years. That’s ok. I will still miss him when he’s gone. He’s been so good to us.

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