Until now I didn't really realize what was eating my tomatoes. I feared it was rats but hoped it was squirrels. The other night, it was official, rats. Smaller ones. I thought mice but Dena said tree rats. There was one in one bush over by the house and 3 in my big Celebrity tomato plant. They scared me, Geppetto and I them. Sons of a bitches!
This sent my mind awhirl. How will I combat this threat? Cut worms are one thing. Rats quite another. Cut worms are not smart, nor are they big! I devised a plan to encase my Celebrity in small chicken wire with a cut out door so I could get the tomatoes out. But time was a factor. I had to go buy the chicken wire, fashion the entire encasement, etc etc. In the meantime I took to cutting my tomatoes off the celebrity before they were ripe, not green, just orange, before the sons a bitches got them.
Thursday night I was innocently picking Lemon Ice cherry tomatoes off, while picking I was stewing about the loss of celebrity big reds, some of these were 10 - 12 ounces. I glanced up and caught something out of the corner of my eye. Dark Grey? Dark grey rat butt? Seriously? Eating my lemon ice cherry tomatoes while I'm picking them???!!! I quietly put down my handfuls and snuck over to the garage and got one of Geppetto's weave poles. These are 1" PVC pipes about 3' long that are used to practice weaves for agility.
I walked over and whacked it. I heard a rustle, Geppetto went ape shit and I suspect the rat was dazed and scurried under the next pot over. That pot is a large 1/2 wine barrel made out of solid oak. I have these pots suspended up on top of bricks to aid in drainage, that's where the son 'a bitch was hiding. I poked and prodded and Geppetto whined and jumped (this is what he does when he "trees" something) and finally I decided to put my back into it and I moved it about a foot from the wall. Geppetto was able to get behind, I poked some more and a big commotion was heard from behind. Geppetto trotted out all proud like with the small rat in his mouth. I screeched and yelled "drop it"! He never obeys that command. He did this time. He dropped it and the rat crawled slowly away and he snagged it again. I yelled "drop it" again. Geppetto dropped it. As the rat crawled away again I thought to myself, "How in the hell am I going to kill this thing?"
I tried yelling for Dena but she didn't come. Geppetto had grabbed the rat again by now, I yelled drop, sit and Leave it. Which he obeyed. Amazing what training will do. He watched that rat patiently while sitting and while I ran and got a long pick up stick thing that my friend gave me. I grabbed the rat, still squirming a little, plopped it into a garbage bag and proceeded to whack it a bunch more times until it lived no more. I admit, I felt bad about it. But it was war.
Round 1 was over. Round 2 was imminent.