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Monday, October 9, 2017

Those We Love

I love birds, and those we love we want loved always. We look into the morning sky and marvel at sunrise. The sun rises over all life. We are Earthlings; we share a star --a Star!  I hear the first bird of the day as I pass the ivy trellis. It says, "Cheap!"

 I hear it again, "Cheap!" I stop.

"Hey," I say. "Who you callin' cheap?"

"You, human. You've got money --I heard you discussing "dollars" with your wife. Dollars is money, right?"

"Right."

"Well, us birds have seen you spraying dishsoap on eggplants. According to my instincts, dishsoap is harmful to hornworms, mites, aphids, cutworms, lacebugs and flea beetles. Those are among our favorite foods. We wonder what's so special about eggplant that you'd spend dollars to run these delicacies  off the property?"

"Well, Norma likes eggplant and the bugs take over if we don't spray soap."

"Does every human like eggplant?"

"Dear bird, admittedly many don't --I don't, but she does. You see, most grown people don't mind eggplant but it nearly always makes children cry."
 
"What about you, human?"

"I eat it to be polite but then repair to another room to sob softly in private."

"Ok, here's my deal:  You just spray water on the eggplant and we birds will handle the pests. You take dollars to the market and buy eggplants for Norma. Win-win?"

"Brilliant solution, bird! How'd you come up with it?"

"We think simply and fundamentally, educated by instinct, form, appetite and our parents' example. How did you learn things?"

"Well, I went to school until I was upwards of 20 years old."

"Then what?" Asked bird as he hopped down to hunt bugs.

"Then I ventured away from curriculum..."

"What's that?"

"It's what they teach us humans in school about our place in the world."

"Sounds intriguing. How did you feel when you got out?"

"Bird, oh bird, to my horror I found out I was an idiot!"

"Join the club, human, but remember to go easy on the bugs."


43 comments:

  1. I too have a lot to learn from my avian friends.

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    1. True EC, descended directly from dinosaurs, they have a wealth of experience that can only suggest our use of dollars in hopes of educating us.

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  2. Those feral birds are chock full of wisdom.

    Not so much for caged birds. I'm birdsitting my parents' parrot this week, and the poor thing can't even fly because it's pucked out most of its feathers.

    The caging thing must sap all of their natural wisdom.

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    1. I suspect you're right, Harry. Some birds never quite adapt to captivity and pluck themselves because they're programmed to forage and fossick around for food. A tube feeder might help because it's more work for the bird.

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  3. I didn't learn to appreciate eggplant until I was 40 - and then it was merely a tepid appreciation.

    I do appreciate birds - especially when they snag pesky bugs. I never chirp...but I silently applaud...

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    1. BTW - Hopefully you're not anywhere near those wildfires, Geo. I have friends near Santa Rosa.

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    2. I too have had issues with eggplant, Jon. Have decided they were some sort of mutant potato that no purpose except to attract bugs for birds. As to the fires, I too have friends in Sonoma and Santa Rosa and hope they are safe --as I hope your friends are safe. My SF boys called this morning and said their city is covered in smoke from the northeast wind --almost like night hadn't ended.

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    3. 2nd reply on California fires, Jon: Friend Will in Sonoma says he's ok except he can't go outside --has his "go-bag" ready if he needs collecting. Friend in Santa Rosa is in much the same status. Info gleaned from cell phones this evening, so communication is intact. Consensus is "it's apocalyptic!"

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  4. There is a flaw in the bird's reasoning. He advised you to spray water on the eggplant and let the pests have at it so the bird would have food. You then go to the market and buy eggplant for Norma. Doesn't the eggplant in the store come from a garden? Wouldn't there be potential pests there for hungry pests to want to feed? Wouldn't there be birds wanting to eat those pests? I rest my case.

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    1. You present a sound and cogent case, dear Emma. I believe it is legally actionable, but collecting settlements from birds is beyond even the Supreme Court.

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  5. We let the weeds grow and the bugs thrive....the rabbits and birds appreciate it I think..or not...I really don't care. I just can't be bothered.

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    1. Weeds and bugs are opportunistic marvels, Delores, as most wild things are. I don't think we have to worry overmuch about their survival either. But as pavement spreads from two cities toward us, I find more creatures taking refuge on our property. We're careful not to alarm the poor skunks.

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    1. Sage, all little birds think we're named Cheap. Chickens, however, grow up and decide all humans are named Buck.

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  7. And this is one of the biggest reasons I don't garden. There are always bugs, and I don't like to use any kind of spray . . . bugs have to eat, too. And birds. And deer. I leave the problems up to the real farmers. Sigh.

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    1. O_Jenny, I share your sentiment utterly, except where mosquitoes are concerned. I do not think any theology or humanistic philosophy can account for them and still claim the cosmos welcomes us unconditionally.

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    2. Ah, but mosquitoes are one of the major food sources for bats - at least in our neck of the woods. We wouldn't want the bats going hungry :)

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    3. You have successfully confuted my posture toward the existence of mosquitoes, and caused me to remember the graceful aerobatics of cliff swallows who always swarmed me when I rode a gang-mower as a gardener. They take nearly all their food in flight, like bats, and clear the mosquitoes away. Thanks, and brava!

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  8. An eggplant is a work of art. This year I have seen quite a few unique and colorful variations on the ones usually bought in the market.. They almost look good enough to eat, however, I would rather not.

    I cared for a pigeon today who had a run-in with a window. He was a strong little guy and after a rest, some bread crumbs, and a little coaxing, he flew off leaving his waste behind him.

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    1. You are a very caring lady, Arleen. I too have had to revive birds --they get so frightened, sometimes scream before they fly from one's hand, but live and leave us with good memories. As to eggplants, I agree they are attractive things --and when I read your comment to Norma --"...almost look good enough to eat"-- she said she still liked them despite overwhelming testimonials and my protests, but I still love her anyway.

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  9. I loved the line, "I.......repair to another room to sob softly in private." For me aubergines [or eggplants] require a great deal of beefing up, with spices preferably, before they become manageable.

    The problem with the natural world is that one cannot please everything/one all the time - much as I would like to, except for those that feast on my blood in warm weather. There are limits after all.

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    1. Thanks, Tom. And I certainly agree with caution outdoors. Mosquitoes, ticks, fleas should be avoided --and vampires, especially tall ones wearing capes.

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    2. Are you saying that Breton women in traditional head-dress should be avoided? :)

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    3. No, but I would advise caution when passing through low doorways. Good point!

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  10. We don't garden either but our no-grass yards are swarming with ants and grasshoppers. We are contemplating various ways to rid ourselves of them. And no, chocolate is not involved. And I agree that eggplants are beautiful works of art but I don't like them to eat unless there are copious amounts of red sauce and parmesan to top them.

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    1. I've seen (one of my favorite creatures) tree frogs gobble up an ant-trail --and look a bit unwell later--, but grasshoppers require a predator bigger than they are. Time to set out a bird feeder perhaps.

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    2. I have no bird feeder but a very well-visited bird bath and at various times, the birds are dining their fill on the ants. Thank you, birds.

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  11. BUCK! Buck, Buck, Buck. You are so silly and dear. As for eggplant, everyone should eat more and leave our chicken babies alone.

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    1. My at least equally dear Chickens Consigliere, as a member of the Italian chickens' council I defer to your wisdom --and, when addressed by chickens, have always answered to "Buck". I forgive the babies calling me "Cheap", and always will. They are lifelong friends who have never run afowl of me.

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  12. I'm on the sides of the birds and the eggplant, except I call it an aubergine. And caterpillars, which are munching leaves off our winter greens - but they will be all wrapped up as chrysalis by deep winter, which is when the greens are needed for our plates. The plants seem quite happy with their little broods.
    Last week a man knocked on our door fretting that he was being followed by a duck :-) I love country life. It was next door's duck, he's an over friendly Cornish Runner who often pops in to eat our slugs.

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    1. Dear Lisa, I delight in learning someone else in the world is being followed by a duck. This has happened to me at various times in my life, alternating with being followed by wild geese. I have oft wondered if I was mistaken for a slug. However, while walking and snacking on Cheezits --a product of Kellog's Sunshine Biscuit co.-- I would ask them,"Honk if you love Cheezits!"(marginally plagiarizing the bumper-sticker) and I would be surrounded by honking Canada geese. Neither geese nor I were converted, but we remained friends forever after. Tell your fretty man his theology should remain intact.

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  13. I have tried eggplant once, at the Italian Affair in or near Sebastopol on 114 I think. Then alas, I went back to the veal and being the scourge of right thinking people everywhere. I think they are admirable vegs, glistening in the light of safeway vegetable sections everywhere, but probably will never experience the joys of my cutting board.
    Cheers my friend.

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    1. Mike, I agree they're beautiful shiny vegetables but my suspicion from childhood is that eggplant was originally intended as a renewable packing material.

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  14. Oh Geo, I think I must be rather strange...I seem to have a major problem with gardening!
    I just can't bear to kill the predatory insects - or even slugs...which drives my husband to distraction, as he has to wait until I'm out before carrying out the necessary deeds!
    And, considered even more bizarre, I can't bear to pull up the weeds!! (well, it is ALL life, isn't it?)
    Makes you wonder how I don't starve to death...but that is a case of survival...and of consciously NOT thinking!
    Crazy, I know!! lol

    Have a Great Sunday.:))

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    1. Dear Ygraine, Having a fine Sunday --thanks. Hope you have too. As for weeds, Norma has restricted herbicides on this property to vinegar and water --which only wilts the tops of weeds, not their roots. However, where property fire-breaks are needed, I sneak out and get Monsanto's Roundup for our fencelines. You may have heard something about California wildfires lately and will hopefully forgive my ecological transgression. Bugs, I have no problem with, except the bitey ones. Even ants are welcome in my home --much to the delight of the tree frogs who assemble on window sills.

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  15. Clever bird... There's a Joni Mitchell song in there somewhere.

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    1. Not sure which of Ms. Mitchell's wonderful songs you refer to but am hearing "...pave Paradise and put up a parking lot..." in my head. Close?

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  16. Such a smile-inducing post, dude!

    Have you tried the type of eggplant that's used in Thai cooking? It's either Chinese or Thai eggplant, but it's shaped kinda like a thin zucchini or cucumber. Yummy! I like regular eggplant, too, but if I fixed eggplant parmesan for myself, I'm afraid I'd have to fix the "real thing" for my hubby, too. I can't bear to see a grown man cry...

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    1. Susan, there is no reason why our differences over eggplant should come between us. My mother liked eggplant --she liked buttermilk too-- but I was always quite fond of her. As for your smile, that's what I write for. Thanks.

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  17. Do we always succumb so easily to illusion? --Sven G.

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    1. Welcome back, Sven. It would seem, in recent years, that we do.

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  18. I use dish soap spray also. I didn't know birds could talk. I hope you'll follow advice given.

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    1. I do follow it, Susan. Birds have been around longer than humans and deserve respect. We're only beginning to understand the language nature has encoded into them.

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