The large field behind my house is home to many critters including rabbits, field mice and 13-stripe ground squirrels. So when I decided to plant a vegetable garden, I was determined not to use chemical animal deterrents or pesticides, as my goal was a harvest of organic veggies.

I telepathically contacted my herbivorous neighbors and offered the animals one-half of the garden's harvest in exchange for no disturbance of buds, leaves or plant roots.
For what seemed like an eternity, I watched the plants sprout and grow. The tomatoes were transforming from small green balls to yellow, to orange. I could hardly wait; finally the fruits of my labor would be realized!

On the day I felt the first tomato would surely be ripe, I planned a salad for lunch. As I walked toward the garden I anticipated the juicy sweet-tart taste of the tomato I nurtured to ripeness. And there it was - one half of a beautifully ripe red tomato still attached to the vine. It seems the fruit had been sheared in half with my half dangling, waiting to by picked! The tomato was divided evenly from top to bottom, stem intact. Indeed, the wild ones had honored our agreement - literally!

I connected once again with the animals, thanking them for honoring my request and leaving my half still on the vine. This time I suggested we might share our bounty a different way - in whole parts; one for them, one for me. As the vegetables continued to ripen, I always found whole ripe veggies hanging on the plants. None rotted on the ground and none had insect holes or rodent nibbles.

I learned a valuable lesson that summer. Now, I am careful to identify and clearly communicate my desires. What are you willing to share with your animal neighbors?