The tomato harvest has begun! But I’m not the only one who has been a’harvesting. Something has been eating my tomatoes. Big chunks out of my tomatoes. My suspect list had two names on it: birds and possums. Surely possums would eat the whole fruit, but the amount of munching was more extensive than I would expect from birds. Then a third suspect jumped onto my list. The neighbour’s chickens. It occurred to me while chasing them out of my vege garden the other morning. Usually I’m just chasing them out of the side garden but they have discovered my bounty. I have sinful thoughts towards those chickens. Thoughts that involve a pot. It is the two brown ones that are the problem: Drumstick and Deadmeat. We really need to chicken-wire that fence.

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Tomato ‘Amish Paste’

I have set a few of the old wood-framed window flyscreens that were sitting in the garage up against some of the tomato plants, in hopes that it might deter the thieves if they are birds. That worked for my strawberries. I only have part of the strawberries covered but the birds have left the whole big planter alone since I put them there. They must look scary or something.

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Screens against the ripening tomatoes to deter possible bird thieves
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This great feat of screen workmanship somehow deters the birds from eating any strawberries from the planter.

Due to the tomato thievery I have been harvesting the tomatoes a little before they’re fully ripe so that I get them before they get attacked. So far we have ripe Amish Pastes and Black Krims.

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Tomatoes – Amish Paste and Black Krim

Since writing the above I caught one of the tomato thieves red-handed, or should I say red-feathered. I yelled at the neighbour’s blasted chickens as I chased them through the fence, then I stopped suddenly. Frodo was looking at me from the other side of the fence: in the neighbour’s paddock. Here I was having a fit at the neighbour’s trespassing chickens while my chicken was trespassing. Oops! The planks I had laid against the bottom of the fence along the orchard had fallen over and Frodo thought the grass was greener on the other side. It actually was. I called her back in and put the planks back up but I really have to put the chicken-wiring job at the top of my to-do list. Or at least one of my lists.

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I caught ‘Deadmeat’ standing atop the raised bed, pecking at my Black Krims.
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Frodo and Strider in the orchard, with the paddock fence that needs to be chicken-wired in the background. Where is Sam? I’ll give you one guess (not the neighbour’s paddock).

Boy, these chickens have really trespassed into my tomato post, haven’t they? In summary, we have tomatoes! Now the salads are really something and we can start planning how to preserve some tomatoes. If I can do something about those chickens that is…

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