Originally published July 2011.
Earlier this week, I ran out of bird seed. I just didn’t make it to the grocery store after work like I had planned. This has happened before, of course, so I knew how to improvise – you raid your cabinet and/or frig of things that should’ve been disposed of long ago; things of which the birds will gladly enjoy. Things such as stale crackers, old cereal and dried fruit you bought for health purposes (such as raisins and prunes) but which you’ll never really eat. If worse comes to worse, and I can’t find anything to toss out, I sometimes spring for the birds to have a little fresh bread.
This week, I had none of those things. I had gone too far between grocery stops. So, I looked further back into my pantry and found a couple of microwave popcorn packets. I decided to serve the birds some kettle corn. (I found a box of Orville Redenbacher microwave caramel popcorn in the pantry too – but there was no way I was giving that to the birds! Microwave caramel popcorn is simply too scrumptious to give away.)
So, at 6:30 a.m., I am popping kettle corn in the microwave when my blind and deaf dog, Buzz, suddenly perks up due to the aroma. He has already had his ration of food for the day, but nonetheless, he is ready for something more and by goodness, he’s not going to allow the birds to have warm popcorn unless he has a taste too! I know this from experience (see #10 in http://natureisnurture.net/lessons-learned-the-hard-way/) so I decide to place as much popcorn as I can on the platform feeder for the birds and sprinkle some on the patio for Buzz.
Having quite a bit of kettle corn left over and not wanting Buzz to have a bellyache, I decide to sprinkle the remainder under my finch feeder – which is situated in the middle of my yard under a live oak tree. There is a rather large flower bed directly between the patio and the finch feeder. This is where my zinnias, four o’clocks, impatients and Mexican petunias are planted.
Buzz inhaled all the popcorn on the patio and instead of perching himself under the platform bird feeder as usual, his nose directed him to under the live oak. Nope, he did not use the brick pathway to get there. You guessed it – he waded through the flower bed, trampling down my zinnias and four o’clocks. In fact, he became disoriented in the midst of the flower bed and actually began “mining” his way through it. Automatically, I yelled at him to get out – to no avail of course, for after all, he is deaf. I then relented to daintily tip-toeing between the plants and picking him up.
Right about that time, a huge item struck me on the head, bounced off and landed in a thick bed of impatiens with a loud thump. Extremely startled, I froze in the middle of the flowerbed, still hunched over with Buzz in my arms. What in the world could that have been? Perhaps my neighbors were disgruntled with me yelling at 6:30 a.m.? Surely the little kids next door weren’t awake yet. Was it a tennis ball from my other neighbor, the tennis pro? After all, I often find tennis balls in my yard.
I stayed there frozen for a few minutes more and nothing else happened. Still no sign of anyone around, I slowly made my way out of the flower bed and placed Buzz under the live oak to scarf up the remaining popcorn. (He has a one track mind and would’ve gotten over there eventually anyway – see http://natureisnurture.net/nose-knows-know-better/.)
I then went over to the bed of impatients to look for the mysterious item that had conked me on the head. I found it. It was a pomegranate, for heaven’s sake! Hmmm. . . a pomegranate falling from a live oak tree?
I indeed have a pomegranate tree on my property. It is located outside of my back yard fence at the edge of my driveway – on the other side of the house. I’d say it is about 60 – 80 feet from the live oak.
Looking more closely at the pomegranate that fell on my head, I found it had several tooth marks on it. Large, incisor-like marks. From where I found the pomegranate, I looked directly up into my live oak tree and ta-da, the culprit was still there. His bushy little tail was flickering up and down and when he discovered I had spied him, he began chattering – almost as though he was laughing at me!
My question is this – did the squirrel drop the pomegranate on my head because I frightened him when I yelled at Buzz or could he have been purposely aiming at Buzz – knowing Buzz was on his way over to scarf down the freshly popped kettle corn that could have been his?
Well, I performed a bit of online research and found that sometimes squirrels indeed drop acorns on people’s heads, but nothing confirms they do this on purpose. You know, instead of thinking he purposely dropped it on either of our heads; I think I’ll choose to believe he just didn’t like the taste of pomegranate for breakfast!
Until next time,