Code to follow soon. In this meantime, this copied from a letter to a friend:
The hamburgers on the fourth were good, but the fireworks were somewhat rained out. Small loss, though, since various neighbors let off fireworks all summer long every year, and there's still a lot of summer left.
This morning I am mourning the loss of five ripening green peppers, which met an untimely end last night at the paws of a raccoon. He ate most of two fancy Italian peppers, but only picked and scattered the three common green peppers (presumably they were beneath his taste). The miscreant in question is well-known in the neighborhood; he cruises through periodically like a biker hoodlum in a 1950’s film, wreaking all sorts of havoc with the innocent townsfolk. To this point, however, he has largely confined his attention to chewing and scattering small plastic objects, etc., and has left the plants alone.
It’s an interesting comment on the universe that one of the first acts of incipient intelligence in the animal kingdom is apparently the desire to pull Halloween-style pranks characteristic of a small-town hood. I’m not certain it bodes well. Perhaps not, but perhaps so, since not a few delinquents do go on to become productive, upstanding members of the community. In any case, as in so many things in the universe, we see the large mirrored in the small, the universal in the particular.
So I am able to recover some of the loss of increase of my garden by reflecting on the idea that I have exchanged five peppers for a good story. Was it worth it? Well, I think I would rather have traded one pepper for not quite as good a story. But life is about extracting meaning from events, and not the converse (which is art).
I hope in the meantime, however, that raccoon doesn't get his hands on fireworks...