Looking out into the garden when I spied my tomato plant looking a little bare. Stems stripped. Tomatoes half eaten. This is my Mighty 'Mato broken at the knees, bald, and definitely worse for wear.
Who would do such a thing? The displaced raccoon that Bart barks at every morning? Or could it be something else. Perhaps slower. Perhaps hungrier. Maybe something that is so clever that it is exactly the same colour as its dinner. Do you see what I see?
There it was - and almost the exact size of Bart when he was a puppy.
While you might guess that this is a tomato hornworm because that's where I found him at the buffet. You'd be wrong - he's a tobacco hornworm. Fortunately their likes are similar, adoring plants from the solanaceae family. The difference is the tobacco hornworm has a red horn and seven stripes - the tomato hornworm has 8 triangle markings and a black horn. Hornworms are among the largest caterpillars found in North America (Garden Insects of North America) and this one I'm certain weighed about the same as a small basket of tomatoes - the tomatoes I was hoping to enjoy later this summer.
Considering they're almost as big as a chipmunk, you really have to admire they way they blend in. Green is the new black obviously.
So around the front of the house we went, looking for the compost bag....
And then a quick drop into the compost and fold over of the bag - enough dinner to keep him going - and hopefully enough heat where he's going so we won't see him ever again.