Friday, July 30, 2010

Ay! Desnudos!

"Ay! Desnudos!" These words slipped out of my mouth in a whisper this morning as I was checking my garden and noticed this tomato plant with hardly a leaf on the vine.

Back story: My husband and I enjoy listening to a wide variety of music, and one of our favorites is an album of Cuban music. We always giggle over the lyrics on this album, rife with the descriptive term, "desnudos" referring to a couple on a beach, a couple hiding in a back room, etc. My husband can poke fun at the brazen cultural difference here, since he, himself, is born of a latin culture, and Spanish was his first language.  He and I together worked out a translation of "desnudos", since having immigrated at the age of 6, he had not heard much in the Spanish language about nudity.  We decided that desnudos means "denuded", or "naked". This may be one of those "had to be there" background stories, but it is part of the fabric of our relationship.

So back to the tomatoes: after reeling from the initial shock of what can happen in one day to a tomato plant, I quickly found the culprit.

A Tomato Worm! I'm sure this is not the real name of this creature, it's just what I've always called them. He reminds me of Heimlich from "A Bug's Life" only not as cute. In addition to denuding this portion of the plant, look at the number Heimlich is doing on this would-be heirloom black tomato! Watching Heimlich's steady progress, I recalled a wonderful documentary on Buddha we were watching the other day. I think it was on PBS. Siddhartha Gautama, who would later be known as Buddha, was a young prince, cloistered and sheltered from the cares of the world. Attending a planting festival, he became very sad as he witnessed a line of ants crawling across the earth, and realized the organized colony underground would soon be destroyed by the action of planting crops for human beings. It was in that moment that Siddhartha recognized the value of all life. So, in the spirit of Siddhartha, I resolved to try to find a peaceful resolution to my dilemma.

I don't know if you can see the curved, sharp, red stinger at the wrong end of this critter, but it made his removal a bit daunting. However, since these guys are very slow-moving,  I was able to clip the whole branch from  the plant without being stung.  "Now what?" I thought.  If I toss the whole thing in the woods, how long will it take Heimlich to find my garden again? Speculating on this was futile, I realized, since my Buddhist sensibilities would not allow me to consider killing him, and besides, squashing something that juicy would be nasty. So I walked as far away from the garden as I could and tossed Heimlich and his brunch into the woods. I'll let you know if I see his little face again.

To end on a good note, I want to share with you a new photo of the Chinese Long Beans. Heretofore the pre-bean blossoms have been white or yellowish, but now, for whatever reason, they are such a pretty lavender. The sun was bright, so the color in the photo is a bit washed out, but it is still a pretty picture. I am so enjoying my wonderful garden.


  1. Good read Cheryl! Loved it! Gotta be honest, worms do make me squirm a little!