Not About Food

Wild Kingdom

This week has been crazy. It’s not anything you’d think — not work, not family commitments, not getting ready for a vacation. It’s been Wild Kingdom over here. Literally. It started with the Heron.

Our relationship with the Heron has been tenuous at best. We have a small man-made pond and he showed up about a year after we moved in, looking for dinner. It was mainly a goldfish pond, but there was one big koi in there, old enough and wise enough to survive. We called him The Leviathan. The Heron is a gorgeous bird with a 5 foot wingspan, but his goals and ours are completely at cross purposes. Our koi pond is not a sushi bar. So Wolf MacGyvered a cover out of PVC and netting.

But the Heron is persistent.

Like a 3-year old running through a group of pigeons, I’ve taken off across our grass, waving my arms and yelling to scare him off. We’ve driven up only to catch him soaring off after a sashimi appetizer from our pond. Eventually, while we were on vacation, he even got the Leviathan.

This week, I saved the damn Heron.

I imagine he dive-bombed the pond, gracefully slicing into the water just between the PVC dividers, in pursuit of some tasty vittles. And then, oh $&*!, he realized he couldn’t get out. Like a drowning man barely treading water, he waited until someone came close to the pond and flailed. Moving one part of the cover aside, I yelled, “Get out! Get outta there! Get out!” He clung to the second part of the cover with his beak and then I realized how ridiculous (and counterproductive) it was that I was yelling at him. He jumped onto a rock near the edge of the pond and just stood there. Dazed and confused. I ran toward the house for my camera.

Eventually he stumbled over to our lawn and ambled around, trying to get his bearings. Other birds in our trees were squawking trying to figure out what he was doing. I snapped some photos and then let him be. Damn Heron.

The Heron wasn’t the end of it.

A day or two later, I was going to get some lunch and a little brown head popped up from behind one of the rhodies to check me out. Unconcerned, it went back to thoughtfully chewing on leaves. If this was a movie, it’d be called “Blueberry Bandit Returns.”

This was a different pair than showed up earlier in the spring. But clearly, they had little fear of humans. They checked me out as I crunched around on our gravel driveway, but were in no hurry to leave, given the salad bar of blueberry plants and Japanese maples in our yard. If only they’d help out with mowing the lawn.

This is why I’ll have no blueberries aaaaagain this year. When we went to Lowe’s for deer netting, everyone in the area apparently had the same idea. Just as well, I like my annual pilgrimage to MountainView Blueberry Farm in Snohomish. Picking doesn’t usually start until early August, so I’ve got a couple of months to wait.

In the meantime, you can snack on these Blueberry Muffins with a Secret.

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