A Creature in the Garden

Over a 4th of July weekend I went to visit my sister Lisa in Virginia Beach. It was the first time I had been to her home. She proudly gave me the fifty-cent tour of the premise, decorated in what could only be described as “Distinctly Lisa." A hot chili pepper theme ran rampant throughout. According to her she's "The Chili Pepper Queen."

Lisa is an energetic individual and loves cooking. Especially anything having chili peppers. And she must be good at it, because her kitchen is crammed so full of trophies and awards, there’s barely enough room to do any actual cooking.

Since she grows most of her own peppers, our conversation naturally turned to Gardening and that’s when I learned about “the creature in the garden." Her garden is only about 6’ X 12’ but more than adequate to supply her pepper needs plus a few other vegetables like tomatoes. Or at least it had been up until last year when some weird, mysterious and unexplainable occurrences began taking place during the hours of darkness.

I believe even “Sherlock Holmes” may have had difficulty solving this caper. Of course, a few more experienced gardeners may have had similar experiences and know who or what the culprit is.

Apparently, it can come and go at will leaving no trace. And the strangest thing of all is how the crime is committed. It started with the tomatoes. To look at the garden it would appear nothing had been touched. However, upon closer inspection, you would find only the shell of the fruit remained. Everything else inside had been devoured. The only other evidence were its’ teeth marks.

Lisa explained she had gone to pick a few, and lo and behold, a surgically decimated empty tomato shell fell to the ground. This continued until she finally got fed up with the tenacious thief.

It wasn’t as if Lisa hadn’t tried to identify the perpetrator. She had done everything she could think of to identify the adept veggie vandal. As a last resort, she set humane traps in and around the bed using vegetables from the garden as bait. Lisa loves animals and would do nothing to intentionally harm one…even this scheming little character.

The following day Lisa was left dumbfounded as she discovered the bait missing, but traps seemingly untouched. There was no doubt about it, the impossible had been done. So last year’s crop was a disaster.

This year Lisa has faithfully planted another garden. But it appears the diminutive bandit has returned with a vengeance. So now her patience has come to an end. War has been declared! Short of a preemptive nuclear strike she has resolved to put a humane, compassionate halt to the troublesome thievery.

Strategic preparations are in the works to secure implements needed to accomplish her objective. But first the enemy has to be classified. Fences, lights, flares, video recording devices, motion detectors with all the bells and whistles and environmentally friendly traps are on the list of proposed purchases.

It’s very possible the little crook has met its’ match this time.

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