I had a surprise visitor today. When I went to the kitchen window to see what was happening with the roses on the deck and guess how long the grass will get before I have time to cut it, I surprised a squirrel. He froze, his face expressing not mere startlement but horror and abject astonishment, as if the appearance of a human being at a window were an unprecedented break in the natural order of things. (Though I suppose in the last week, it has been.)
I wasn't completely thrilled to see him, either. Last year the squirrels systematically destroyed much of my cherry tomato crop by biting into each tomato as it began to ripen and then spitting it out uneaten. How many cherry tomatoes does it take for even a rodent of very small brain to figure out that he doesn't like them. ("Yuck! This one's nasty." "Mine, too, Reggie. Try that bright red one over by your left foot." "Yuck! that one's even worse." "Well, never mind, keep trying. Sooner or later we'll hit a tasty one.") You'd think natural selection would eventually weed out the finicky eaters and the ones who waste a lot of time biting off things and then spitting them out.
At least they ignore the roses. Which continue blooming vigorously in spite of the heat and the savage depredations by the Japanese beetles. I've discovered that the soupcon of dish detergent or liquid hand soap is an essential part of beetle drowning. If you forget the soap, they spent a distressing amount of time trying to climb onto each other to escape drowning. The soap knocks them out sooner. More humane. Also less chance any of them will actually succeed in climbing on top of the others and flying away.
In other news, Moose has returned (in time, presumably, for today's scheduled elkhound exchange), and Kathy had to take Philip to an ear, nose, and throat specialist this week to remove a sticker that had gotten lodged in his ear and couldn't be removed by the pediatrician. When questioned, Philip reported that his good friend Michael had put it there. (We're talking a small adhesive smiley sticker, not a thorn, as I assumed when I first heard the tale.) But since he had no time sense, Kathy has no idea when. No idea why, either. Extracting information from three-year-olds is a tricky and ultimately frustrating project.
But I bet it wouldn't take him more than two or three cherry tomatoes to figure out if he liked them or not. Silly squirrels.