You mess with my tomatoes, I mess with you …


There is still some Midwestern gardener in me (sadly minus the good black soil). I covet even a small plot to obsess over. Alas, the best I can do is tend to a couple container pots. It’s not the same as tilling the earth, but it’s an any-port-in-a-storm deal.

Yet I watch over those pots religiously; so do ground squirrels who have taken a liking to my meager produce. But the rodents have a crossed a fine line and must be dealt with – harshly. At stake is my annual tomato crop. There is a silver lining: at least the Garden Nazis aren’t coming after me this year.


June 20, 2016

Ellen/Reid: Okay, for all the supposed naturalist in me, there comes a time when enough is enough. A ground squirrel has been munching on my tomatoes and now is the time for all-out war. He/she ruined three nearly ripened tomatoes in the past two days. As I pulled out of the garage this morning to head to the Y, I told the beast out the car window ‘I’m gonna go Lee Harvey Oswald on your ass’ from the strategic vantage point of the upper kitchen window. My pellet gun is locked-and-loaded. The thing can eat whatever it wants as long as it’s not the fucking tomatoes. Not after all these years of trying to grow the things.

So it’s settled; one or two nights in Chicago, a couple two or three in St. Paul, then down to Des Moines for several days, on to Grand Island for one, then up through the Sand Hills on Hwy. 2 to Sundance, Wyoming then traverse on west to Jackson. What a road trip it should be. I know it’s kind of odd to head out in the car but there is a sense of adventure to it. I’m looking forward to a strong cup of coffee as I hit the road in the early morning. Avoided, too, will be two expensive weeks of rental cars not to mention the nearly $800 airfare.

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This is what the Week One lunch looks like for Liz, Reid and me. Not high cuisine, but good enough for the high country. I’d better get used to peanut butter and tostada shells; it’s the same lunch fare I’ll endure the second week in the Bridger Wilderness.

Plus, I get to see the girls and you guys on the way (and I’ll see you and Liz on the way back, Reid). The prospect of two-plus weeks in the high country is beyond exciting. The gear is being assembled on the guest room bed. If I get out toward Pinedale early, I may camp by the Hoback to see what might be foolish enough to take my iffily presented flies. It’s a stretch of big water that flows out of the Gros Ventre range just to the north of the Northern half of the Bridger. Ellen, ask Tim what sort of flies/sinking line I might need because it’s a lot more water than I’m used to fishing.

Since my golf game is in the tank and because it cannot possibly be the fault of the Indian rather than the arrow, I splurged on some new irons for the first time in 10 years. We’ll see what impact it has on my game although the impact on the bank account is already noticeable. My clubs won’t make the trip to Wyoming although there is that temptation.

A can of ceiling paint awaiting use is sitting in the corner of the living room. It’s just a matter of mustering the organization to get going on things. There’s a bit of drywall to patch behind the tub faucet in the new bathroom plus some painting here and there. Hopefully it sees more activity than the Harley; the price has been dropped another $1,600 to $13,900 but still no inquiries. I took it out the other night and it just solidified that it is time for the bike to have a new owner. If I get a jag to ride I can always rent. For some reason I thought Craigs List was the hot way to sell things quickly but that hasn’t turned out to be the case. But I keep telling myself ‘All it takes is one buyer.’ I’m not torn at all about selling the bike.

Saw a big eight to 10 point buck Saturday morning when I headed out for my pre-dawn walk. He ambled in front of me only about 15 feet away. He wasn’t in any particular hurry as he clip clopped across the pavement. He was by far the largest deer I’ve seen in these parts. His rack was covered in velvet and my assumption was deer didn’t have horns in the summer. It’s just something else for me to be wrong about. See you soon – in two weeks I’m among you.

Love, Dad

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