But that famous call from Duane Kuiper -- "this isn't good folks" -- keeps circling around my brain.
As bad as Giants pitcher Merkin Valdez must have felt last night after giving up that awful Grand Slam to Ryan Spillborghs in the bottom of the 14th inning -- Giants fans feel even worse. It's like a sucker punch to the gut. This one will be hard to recover from.
This is indeed the famous "Dog Days of Summer" for Major League Baseball teams. It's when the Contenders separate themselves from the Pretenders. It's when the strong teams make a push. It's when the teams that have teased you all season long sort of fall by the wayside.
It's also a time when the summer garden gives that last big push of produce heading into fall. There's no doubt about it. The days are changing. It's getting dark a little earlier each night. Some of those August mornings have been -- dare I say it? A bit "chilly?"
Change is on the way -- whether you like it or not.
This is also the "Dog Days of Summer" for the backyard garden. Or -- in this particular case -- just dogs.
Case in point -- the bowl full of vine-ripened tomatoes to your immediate left. These look a little like Yellow Pear tomatoes -- except they're not yellow. They're red. They are also about three to four times the size of your standard Yellow Pear, which is a much-loved, cherry heirloom from decades past.
What is this then? To be short, sweet and honest -- I really have no idea. It's some kind of tomato from the garden. What kind? Well -- it's supposed to be a Black Krim. That's what the label at the base of the plant says: Black Krim. But -- after one look at these tomatoes -- this is anything but a Black Krim.
This is -- what we call in the tomato world -- a "cross." It's also a "mistake." It's not what it's supposed to be. Is it a tomato? No doubt. But it's no tomato like I've ever seen before. It's quite unique actually. I'll probably never see anything like this again. I did not plant a "Red Pear" variety tomato. I did not intend to plant one.
But I have one just the same.
How did I get this cross? Good question. This is one of many starter plants grown from seed that I provided to Fred Hoffman -- aka -- Farmer Fred Hoffman of KFBK-KSTE fame. Is it his fault? No, I don't think so. Fred started a number of plants for me this year -- including four or five Black Krim plants. I gave all -- but one -- away to other gardeners. They all have normal, productive, Black Krim plants.
So what gives then?
It's highly possible that the seed for this "Red Pear" variety got into the packet of Black Krim seeds at the source. In this case, I ordered my Black Krim seeds from Totally Tomatoes. Now -- before I blame them let me state this: I ordered a number of tomato seed varieties from Totally Tomatoes last fall. In almost every single case -- they have developed into healthy, strong, productive tomato plants.
So -- yes -- I will order from them again.
So -- where did it come from then?
I'm not sure. I'll probably never know. My guess is -- and this is just a guess mind you -- that the seed that resulted in this mistake came from the source -- Totally Tomatoes. If all of the Black Krim plants provided by Fred had turned into this strange Red Cherry variety -- then I might be casting a glance of doubt in his direction. But -- this is the only Black Krim tomato plant that is not producing Black Krim tomatoes.
Therefore -- I blame the source.
Finally -- and most importantly -- how do they taste? Well -- that's the dirty rotten secret. Honestly? It's not very good. In fact -- it's probably the worst vine-ripened tomato I've ever tasted. It's not terrible mind you. But it's nothing like the lip-smacking taste you get from a time-treasured heirloom plant -- or even a standard hybrid sadly enough.
Dog Days of Summer? Meet the Dog from the 2009 Bird Tomato Garden: The Mysterious -- and not really all that tasty -- Red Pear.