Tuesday, June 08, 2010


Traditionally, my gardening opponents have been limited to the full range of insects and their countless friends, plus local deer, wild pigs, monkeys and crows, a bestial crew that has been more than sufficient to make the enterprise an entertaining one. My efforts to fence them out, threaten them with stones, scare them with snakes, shock them with bottle rockets etc. have earned me an extreme reputation among the local beasts, so I'm bothered much less than when I was just a new kid on the mountain. Plus the bugs and beasts themselves have taught me a great deal about their habits, dislikes and weak points, valuable information. So it's been a fixed range of opponents all this time. That's the problem with no strawberries.

This year, in a daring move to go where no me has ever gone before, I put in a couple of strawberry plants, much as NASA aimed for Mars. NASA got to Mars and I grew some strawberries that got redder and redder, which is a strawberry's line of work, so I put a net tent over the plants with the far end closed where it stretches all the way along the row to cover the new beans now sprouting (crows love bean sprouts, as I learned earlier in this history, and surmised that they would freak out over strawberries in the garden their human is planting for them).

With the nearer 'open' end screened by green pepper plants and tall parsley, I knew that crows, perhaps the least credulous creatures on the planet, who do not like nets at all, would not push their way through and walk along the ground into a netty underness, even to get at strawberries (if they could even spot them through the netting), but I did not know about the net-scoffing character of the brown-eared bulbul. Not growing strawberries can breed that kind of ignorance. Brown-eared bulbuls already know this.

I remained ignorant until I'd looked out the kitchen window a couple times while making lunch and saw a pair of brownears flying up out of the garden each time, which was strange, they never enter the garden regularly like that, sort of coming and going; what's more, there was something in the way the birds flew out of the garden that caught my attention.

The pair had that kind of furtive, purloiny look about them that science, cocooned in its latticework of logic, pooh-poohs as anthropomorphism, but that gardeners and pet owners know all about (for the record, let me state here that despite such shortcomings, science and its purveyors in many other regards deserve our respect and have a rightfully valued place in society). So, urged on by evidence of bulbul guilt, I went and looked at the strawberries and found that the reddest ones were pocked with brown-eared bulbul beak stabs and the soil below them was littered with strawberry banquet fragments.

The thieving pair stayed up in the cherry tree watching me and screeching their dissatisfaction at my fiddling with their strawberries - we found them, for godsake, bla-bla-bla - to the extent  of cutting off all the reddening ones and taking them into the house to ripen there, before securely netting the entire strawberry area.

So from strawberries I learned how to piss off bulbuls. Some kinds of knowledge are more satisfying than others.


Tabor said...

You have the patience of Job. The land you live in is rich and healthy with animals...the bane of gardeners.

Chrissy said...

Score 1 for you! lol... Feels good doesn't it? bet u had a smile from ear to ear!

R. Brady said...

eSPECIALLY when I ate those red, juicy strawberries, right by the big kitchen window!

Chrissy said...

LOL guess we should call u Cheshire Cat!.