Sunday, June 19, 2005


It's impossible to express the delight with which the caterpillars are devouring my spinach. They lick the green plate clean. Experience has taught me to plant a few random spinach seeds here and there among the lettuce, the spinach growing higher and faster, so all the caterpillars go straight to the easy pickings for their first Spring course, leaving tall naked green stems where once there were rich green leaves, and we get the early lettuce. Later lettuce is another matter.

The caterpillars are no slouches, and they have bigger jaws now. The spinach ran out a few days ago, so the caterpillagers quickly moved on to the lettuce course, where they're working overtime. Now it’s a lettuce-eating race between us and the enlarging larvae. So we're all eating a lot of lettuce these days, the caterpillars - who are in a natural hurry - preferring theirs in situ and au naturel, whereas we who have no metamorphosis pending have the time to prefer vinaigrette and the like on our lettuce, in a bowl also containing tomatoes, not to mention slices of lush purple onions bestowed upon us by the onion philanthropists Ken and Yuri who live over the mountain in the unmonkeyed regions of northern Kyoto, whence they took pity on our abject onionlessness.

So for the next week or so, at three mealtimes a day before lettuce-bolting time you'll find me out in the garden rapidly plucking lettuce leaves amid the hearty sounds of tiny mass crunching, as I and the caterpillars race to a crisp green finish.

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