Monday, September 03, 2007

I've started a killer restaurant review, and was going to post it here, but I keep thinking up new places to add to it. So for the time being, it's still in progress.


Maybe it's because I live up in the Northwest area of Las Vegas, the part closest to the Nevada Nuclear Test Site, but my cherry tomato plants are out of control. Radiation? Who knows?

I stopped trying to control the way these two plants grow a few months ago, when their height approached 8' tall, and they both burst the metal tomato cages I naively put up, trying to harness their growth. After splitting the metal frames, they cascades down and around the yucca, over the dwarf citrus trees, and spilled out of the bed, into the gravel. I've honestly never seen anything like it, these tomato vines are now approaching giant squid territory.

And lo and behold, the peskiest of garden pests have started to invade- the dreaded horn worm.

When I was a child, my grandparents visited us one summer in Los Angeles. We had a small garden in our mostly concrete back yard, with a few herbs and a couple of tomato plants. My grandfather Dominic was sitting outside, probably smoking a cigar, as he loved to do, and noticed some hornworms on the tomato plants. He offered a challenge- a dollar for every worm I could find.

After 10 or 15, he started to sit up and notice that this challenge might be a costly one. After 40, he started to backtrack, explaining that he meant a dime for each one. And after about 75, I was certain I had them all. He never did pay, and I still remember that incident, some 40 years later. Maybe that has something to with my "trust" issues....

Where do these ungodly things come from, anyway?

I've started finding them in my tomatoes here, and unfortunately, destroying them. In fact, every morning, when I take the dogs outside, I walk over to the plants, coffee mug in hand, and search for them. They're somewhat easy to locate; they leave a visible trail that you can't miss, even with only a half-a-cup of coffee to prop open my eyes.

In some ways, I suppose they're beautiful, in a freaky kind of way. An elegance of nature, or something like that. But they sure wreak havoc on my garden.

Stay tuned for my dining in Vegas post, coming in just a few days.

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