Friday, June 12, 2009

Garden Phenology: Strawberry Wars

As a mostly-locavore, I have been eating preserved or frozen fruit since apple season ended in the fall. Sure, there have been some exceptions, at other people's homes, but winter fruit, imported from California or even the southern hemisphere, isn't the same. It's not the same at all. Those of you who know, don't need me to describe it. And those of you who don't, wouldn't get it from my description anyhow.

And so the first strawberries of June are an incomparable treat. When the hard white berries began adorning the bushes in May, I was excited. When they started to turn pink, I could almost taste them. When I ate a bunch from my Mom's CSA box earlier this week, I was so happy... but not at all sated. This is why the birds, with their plot to destroy my strawberry crop entirely, are driving me nutters. You see, a few days ago, the first strawberry in the garden started to look red; it got to the point where we knew that tomorrow it would be ready. One strawberry. But tomorrow we looked, and found only the green cap. Berry all gone. And another strawberry, looking like it would be ready tomorrow.

But the next day? Same thing. No berry. The birds, seemingly excited as we, were taking our
i crop one little berry at a time. Now, I really am willing to share with the birds. But they don't
want to share. They want them all. I mean, they couldn't leave one red one as a good faith gesture? Plus, there's a whole patch of wild strawberries in the yard... And so, we dug in the shed for a net that had served this purpose in the past, and covered the berries with a net meant to keep the birds out. Well. This morning, I went to look and see if any were close (the closest is pictured at the top of this entry.) What I noticed right away was the severed strawberry on the
path (pictured right). It lay there, decapitated, as though a message: "Your silly net won't stop us! We can still get your strawberries!" And they left this non-ripe one just to prove the point. Like a Godfather horse head.

To steal from a very cute children's book, THOSE DARN BIRDS!!!!! (Old Man Fookwire raised his fist...)

In other news:
Nasturtium almost ready to flower.
Seeds of shooting star.
Berries on the red baneberry.
These beetles seem to like my butterfly weed. I don't know if they're bad or good but they're pretty and haven't done much damage in several days, so I"m thinking they're OK. (But if anyone knows different, let me know!!!)

PS -- It looks like we might finally have some good weather today! After days and days of blah. Not sunny, not warm... Sometimes downright cold. Last night we went to hear the free in Millenium Park live taping of Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me, and I think I was colder than I've ever been at Wrigley in April. (Course, I wear snow pants at Wrigley in April...) When will summer come?!?

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