As you know, I love tomatoes as much as I love Apple Pie. When I was a boy, there was no greater adventure for me than to cut two slices of my mother’s fresh home-made bread, go to our tomato patch, find a large red ripe tomato, cut slabs for my bread, add a small amount of salt, and make a glorious tomato sandwich.
When they are in season, there is nothing I admire as much as a good tomato sandwich with home-made bread. Each year, to have a good supply of that wonderful vegetable, I plant a garden, and I specialize in tomatoes. This year I picked a species called Celebrity, a large, meaty type of tomato.
I was told by my friendly Mendo Mill Nursery Adviser to wait until Mother’s Day before planting my tomato plants. I couldn’t wait. So, a few days before Mother’s Day, I stuck my eight young plants into the ground. The bed was prepared ahead of time with plenty of compost and such to give the youngsters a good chance to grow up and supply my friend and me with lots and lots of big ripe tomatoes. If my tomatoes look anything like the picture on the box, a brand called Celebrity, they will be grand.
This year I have a helper. More and more, as Cleo grows up, she insists on being a part of whatever I am doing. When I write, she lays on the table beside my keyboard and watches the screen. Supervising and guiding me, I suppose. If she gets bored and wants to have her ears scratched, she lays her tail on my keys. She makes it look like an accident so that I must stop to pay her some attention. It is the same for whatever I am doing. When I go down to the cistern to check my well water level, there she is right behind me all the way to make sure I know my way back to the house.
When I carried the box of eight tomato plants to the garden, my friend and feline associate, Cleo, followed right behind me. She was curious to see what I was about to do, and she wanted to help. I had already placed six-foot poles in the ground next to where each of the eight plants would be.
When I tamped the poles into the dirt, Cleo couldn’t help me with that part, but she was right there supervising the job. When I shoveled the first shovelful of dirt out of the garden at each place where a plant would go, Cleo did her best to guide my shovel in the right place by jumping on the handle. When I put the plants in the ground and tamped the dirt around each of the plants, Cleo was on hand, walking so close by that once I covered her paw with some dirt.
A string had to be tied around each of the tomato stalks to the poles to start them growing straight. Cleo not only tried to help me tie the string, one time, I nearly tied her to the stalk and to the pole.
When the job was finished, I added some more water to the ground from my garden hose. Cleo does not like to get wet and sat on the sidelines, watching the operation.
I don’t think cats eat tomatoes…. unless Cleo has inherited my love for that fine vegetable. If she does, there will be plenty for her, for me, and all of my friends.