The case of the missing tomatoes

Kip the dog frightened a squirrel who knocked tomatoes off a Minden vine.

Kip the dog frightened a squirrel who knocked tomatoes off a Minden vine.
Robin L. Sarantos | Special to The R-C


La Costa neighborhood, Minden: It’s a typical yard with lovely, thick green grass, brilliant sunflowers and various colors of perennial chrysanthemums in huge, white ceramic pots along the wooden fence. The wonderful, fragrant basil plant is strong and verdant. It is graced with delicate white flowers. Here and there are a few tall slender green onions that have sprouted up from last year’s efforts.

Then there are the two tomato plants that seem so strong and surely to produce a bountiful crop for the family to eventually enjoy. Day after day, they are watched and lovingly watered with a little fertilizer here and there. First come the tiny delicate, yellow flowers so intricately designed as if the work of an artist. Tiny, green fruits appear and there is great anticipation of big, round, red delicious tomatoes. Indeed, they did a fine job of growing until one day they were gone…disappeared…nowhere in sight.

Occasionally, little rabbits squeeze under the fence, but they seem to relish the lush, morning dew-dipped grass. Then early morning on Thursday, September 1, little doggy Kip looks out through the glass door, and his tail wags as if it will fall off. Gaining the attention of his owners, he is very excited. Something is happening in his backyard. As the sun is beginning to peep up, a squirrel is feasting on a fat, juicy red tomato. Dog is not happy and wants in his yard. He races out and declares by de facto, they are his tomatoes. Squirrel instantly ceases his plan.

Surprise attack. The next morning dog and master wake up before the sunrise. They go out back and sit quietly — master with a strong café con leche and dog with a fishy smelling treat from Max’s Pet Supplies & Gifts down from Raley’s. The tiny fluffy-tailed thief appears….turns his little head both ways, sniffs the cool morning air and scurries over to the surviving two green tomatoes. He chomps through the stem, and it falls down on the grass. Just as the critter starts to escape dragging his bounty under the fence, the mighty but small terrier can no longer contain himself and leaps forward … Squirrel drops the stem and bounds for the gate. Doggy is so proud of himself. He saved Papa’s tomatoes and wants a smelly fish treat.


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