Nature is a grand thing. I grew up probably closer to it than lots of you - not a neighbor in sight, lots of fields and woods, and trees to climb. If my father didn't hunt, we didn't eat. I can still skin a rabbit pretty darned fast.
While feeding my koi a few days ago it came to my attention that nature had taken its course: apparently my fish have fornicated. We now have at least 4 baby fish, 2 orange, 2 black (how very politically correct), about 1 1/2 inches long. We are not yet sure if these fish are koi or comets, as we have both. Our biggest koi, Koizilla, refuses to take a paternity test. Our shubunkin, Koi George, is not inclined to the fairer fish. Not that there's anything wrong with that. The babies look nothing like our blue koi, or the spotted tricolor one. The mystery continues.
There is no mystery about what happened to my roma tomatoes. I had been patiently waiting for days for three of those lovely tomatoes to ripen - it was my intention to make smoked tomato soup, of which my beloved husband is quite fond. When I ventured into the garden for a color check yesterday, I discovered that the striped pox (aka chipmunks) had eaten 2 of the 3 romas, and didn't even have the simple decency to finish them! The eviscerated carcasses of my lovely tomatoes lay on the ground next to the zucchini, mocking my culinary intentions.
My copy of The Joy of Cooking is quite old - I believe it was published in the 1960s. Back then people were more adventurous eaters out of sheer necessity. The book is full of unique and fascinating recipes for things such as bear, woodchuck (groundhog, to native mid-westerners), possum ("catch the possum 10 days in advance, if possible, keep it in the garage or barn and feed it cereal and milk..."), and SQUIRREL. I am fairly certain that a former professional cook who has studied under two Culinary Institute-trained chefs will be able to adapt a squirrel recipe into a CHIPMUNK recipe.
In 2004 I had such a chipmunk infestation that I had to resort to drastic measures. That year I spent a lot of time in my office, writing a very large submission to the FDA. A choir of 13 chipmunks sat under the office window every day and barked out their version of "Dueling Banjos". I assure you that it is quite impossible to work under those conditions. So I hied me to the hardware store and got 3 rat traps. I do not enjoy killing things, but these little spawn of Satan not only barked incessantly, they dug up my lawn, burrowed under some of my rarest plants, killing them from root damage, and desecrated my vegetable garden. A rat trap is a quick, painless way to kill chipmunks - and rats. Over the course of six weeks I caught 56 chipmunks, two mice, a squirrel, and the first two fingers of my left hand. Silence, at last. I was going to skin them and make a coat, as I had almost enough of them. I figured out that it would take roughly 400 chipmunks to make a decent coat. I could also use their tails for the fringe on the sleeves. But I decided against it.
Purls of wisdom: don't believe anything that you hear, only half of what you see, and only two things that you read: Gentlemen, and Wet Paint. Knit happy!