Monday, August 13, 2012

Monday Moments with Mimi--Beware of Tomato Caterpillars!

Hi!  Welcome back for another installment of Monday Moments with Mimi!  Hope you are blessed by today's reminder of Proverbs 4:23...guard your hearts!  Thanks for stopping by! 
Shannon :-)

The Tomato Caterpillar
What a name!   Upon hearing the term tomato caterpillar, you might expect to behold the beauty of a reddish/green butterfly revealing itself as the result of God’s awesome process of metamorphosis.  In due time, you might anticipate this special, long-awaited miracle of God’s creation to be a delight?  Well, I am here to tell you that it isn’t!!!   Instead, it is a ravenous, destructive, eating-machine who decimated the leaves of my precious vegetable garden.  Heretofore I will refer to the tomato caterpillar as my unseen enemy!

This year I carefully planted 10-12 vegetable varieties in pots on my porches.  My grandchildren have enjoyed picking them, and I have equally enjoyed eating them.  I’ve had many fresh salads this summer with a “home grown” assortment of my harvest.   

This summer I have learned lots about gardening!  For example, cucumbers should be properly planted in the ground, not in pots – vines are climbing all over my front porch.  Peppers should be properly marked mild or hot – can you relate? 

Oh, but my greatest lesson was indeed about the tomato caterpillar that I mentioned previously.   I surprisingly entered a battle with this unseen enemy that caught me totally off guard, unequipped to save my precious potted plants.  Truly, I have fought the good fight with these large, green caterpillars for weeks.  How disappointing it was for me to water my plants each night, only to discover partially eaten leaves or leaves with huge, gaping holes—and yet I had no visual on the enemy. So I waited each day, helplessly doing nothing but wondering what to do.   Every day the leaves looked worse and worse, and yet there was no solution in sight!

Four days in to the battle, I repositioned myself, came up with a strategy and delivered my “attack plan.”  Sevin Dust, do your thing!  Finally I captured one and took his picture.  I was truly shocked at his large size!!!  I had finally come face to face with my adversary, and I placed him beside a large car key for the photo shoot, just to emphasize his impressive size.  All the while my green camouflaged enemy had been hiding from me, feasting happily, and growing rapidly!!!!!

He was big and relentless, and I was not doing anything to stop him.  I was sad and frustrated, and he was happy and content.  Ten days into this adventure, I was confident the battle was over, and  I finally relaxed—only to find that my enemy was back, and I was at war again.    Sadly enough, over all of these days of investigation and discovery, too much time had passed and irreversible damage from this unseen enemy had cost a loss of several of my plants.  So, off to Lowe’s I went!!!!  Again, and again, and again…

I smile now, at the thought of those first few weeks and how many vegetable plants I bought as “do-overs.”  In spite of my ongoing frustration, I truly learned valuable gardening lessons for next year:
1)    Don’t be surprised at how craftily the enemy hides, rapidly destroying all the while.
2)   Don’t relax because you think that the enemy is gone, when all the while he’s planning to make a vicious second attack.   

As summer wanes and my small garden’s life is ending, the battle has also ended, and I do claim to be the victor.  My broccoli and cabbage may not have survived, but I managed to have a summer with plenty of tomatoes and peppers. 
I am even excited about my new endeavor for fall.   The life in my garden will go on forward, because I have been given two bags of pumpkin seeds!!!!   This time, though, I am better prepared because I have knowledge about the care of pumpkins, and I’ve purposed to quickly recognize the enemies of my precious bag of pumpkin seeds.  I guess, in actuality, I have actually learned a 3rd lesson:

3)   Don’t wait until the attacker has come in order to be knowledgeable and prepared to respond.

How much more precious is the care of our children and the ones we love, than a bag of pumpkin seeds or a fledgling cabbage plant?  This summer experience reminded me to watch for the hidden dangers and pitfalls out there that can lead to pain and even destruction for those whom we love.  Unlike my plants, we cannot always run to the local Lowe’s for a do-over!!!  Let’s guard our hearts and be vigilant for those we love!  Blessings, Anne (Mimi)

Proverbs 4:23, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”

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