These boots were made for squishing.
The changing of the seasons is determined by the sun. To be precise, the tilt of our earth's axis and its affect on the amount of sunlight that shines down on our little blue marble is what determines the seasons.
That is, if you're talking about those seasons.
We've all got our little seasons—some that we all go in on together and some we celebrate all on our lonesome. There's football season, allergy season, house-buying season, Downton Abbey season, sitting-on-the-porch season and so many others I'd never name them all.
For McFarmer and I, we've officially entered into caterpillar-squishing season.
To be precise, the rather loathsome effect of tobacco hornworms, salt marsh moth larvae and army worms collectively deciding together to avail themselves of rows and rows of our beautiful crops is what determines this season.
It's a season underscored by a soundtrack of "Damn it!" directly followed by a "smoosh" or the sound of plucking suction-cupped feet from a stem and then a much larger, explosive "smoosh."
Of all of these, the hornworms are the most squishable. They start out innocent-looking enough, tiny little bright green multipeds who only want a break in life. Then they find your tomatoes. Your eggplants. Your peppers. They fatten up. Now they appear as what they truly are: damnable aliens, armed and dangerous, plump on malintent and tomato leaves.
I squished 20 of them today alone.
And let me be clear. I have an unspoken rule that, once off the farm, I go out of my way to avoid hurting other creatures. Spiders, beetles, dogs, cats, snakes...yes,even caterpillars. I try not to interfere too much with the ways of nature beyond the Moon Dog Farms fenceline. But I learned long ago that as a tender-of-crops, you'll do just about anything to protect your plants. They represent not just leaves, stem and fruit but hours of labor, days of consideration and untold multitudes of care.
I'm their momma—so step off, hornworms. I will pop you under my shoe.
I will thank you for your part in our garden and on our earth, and then I will quickly squish you and say goodbye to one more pest. In our little one-act play drawn up here between the tomatillos and peppers, I am the predator. And your brain is super small.
And now, I can continue with the tomato harvest. (All that adrenaline from protecting your babies makes them taste even better, I swear.)
There's certain caterpillars that I wouldn't dare squarsh even at the farm, knowing they grow into gorgeous butterflies and moths that do little harm to our crops.
The thing is, these caterpillars never descend upon us like little money-chomping monsters intent on total destruction quite like the aforementioned aliens. Painted ladies, monarchs, fritillaries and other reformed caterpillars don't breed in quite the same way, and their chosen foods are more selective, largely leaving out our vegetables and fruits.
But this bevy of "harmful" insects is just more proof of the changing of the seasons. Although this week has been oddly cool and blessed with over 3 inches of rain, summer is coming.
The summer fruits have just begun to swell and ripen, the lovebugs cover everything, and yes, the hornworms are here. Summer is coming.
So I'm brewing the compost tea and loading the backpack sprayer, because I'm ready.
And I'm wearing boots made for squishing.