Friday, May 07, 2010

My new friend Joy

I don't yet have a photo of my new friend. She's coy like that. We met this weekend when I was working in the garden.

We'd been preparing the garden beds, working the soil some, digging out weeds, turning over the top soil a bit. I'd been finding grubs, in red hard shelled cocoons. The master gardener in me said to pop them in a zip lock and stash them in the freezer until I can take them into the office to look up, and maybe pick them apart under a microscope. But the other part of the master gardener in me knows that in this stage, it may be pretty unknown what they are. They're not fully formed yet. As you can tell, I've been pondering their existence a bit. Are they bad? Are they good?

So back to Joy. (You like that, don't you? Back to reality, back to simplicity, back to JOY. It could be a new ad campaign for a pharmaceutical drug.) I was digging with a hand trowel in the front raised beds and came across the grub. I decided to pick it out and toss it into the front sidewalk. What the heck. Out of the garden, onto the sidewalk. Maybe someone would come along and squish it. I've been known to toss things, like slugs, into the street. And you know what happens to things that are in the street.

So I tossed a few grubs into the sidewalk, and kept digging. Soon a blue jay perched alongside me in the crab apple tree. I saw her out of the corner of my eye. She was looking around, and seemed a bit close. And then I saw her again. This time? She popped down onto the sidewalk and grabbed one of the grubs I had tossed. Grab, gulp, gulp, down. She was eating the grubs! Ah ha! So perhaps my technique wasn't in vain. I continued to work, toss, work, toss. And the jay kept close, swooping in for the treats.

I took a break from digging and surveyed the garden from a nearby bench. Sure enough, there was the jay, swooping through the front porch, flitting from limb to shrub. Staying close by.

"Oh joy" is a favorite saying of AdRi's. Usually said with irony. Sometimes accompanied with Happy happy joy joy. But in this case? Joy was surely the name that spoke to me loud and clear for my new friend.

Oh Joy!
She even emerged from a far away bed with a big white worm dangling in her beak. Yes, she was in the right place for some good food. And yes, her name was Joy.

And I realized in this moment, these are the reasons we don't use pesticides or chemicals in our garden anymore. Because they kill everything, including the food the birds need. Here was our own personal bug warfare, Joy, to hang close and dig in.

"Oh Joy" I would say, every time I saw her throughout the afternoon. I eagerly kept an eye open for more grubs to throw her way. And I know that when I'm not there to dig them up, Joy will work some for me, too. She can pull her own weight.

It's a good day in the garden. And perhaps, even a joyous one.


Mark H said...

Cool....JAYS are one of the smartest birds we have and are thought to be, like crows, able to recognize people as "friendly" or threats...YOU MAY well have this jay return EVERY time you're in the yard.....and become quite tame. For a birder like me, I think it's fantastic.....even WISHING I'd been there. That little life moment are the REAL BIG things in life I treasure.

danger garden said...

Our Blue Jay is named Paco (dunno, the husband named him) and he isn't afraid of me or the dog. He lands 2 feet away from me and watches what I'm doing. The only time he got upset was when his babies were learning to live on their own. I never thought of tossing a treat his way. But now I will, I'm sure he thanks you.

Best Wishes, Marie said...

too cool.

when we lived in mexico, early in the morning we would hear a car alarm. errrr errrr wa wa wa wa, repeat.

we would ofter talk about how obnoxious this early am car alarm was.

one day jay came in laughing after washing his car. turned out it was parrot mimicking a car alarm.

unfortunately, he disappeared. italian style.

Best Wishes, Marie said...

disclaimer, we did not do anything to the parrot.

Recovering Straight Girl said...

Even though I know I wasn't supposed to till my yard last year, I must tell you that the birds were eternally grateful that I did. They had a virtual buffet at their disposal! I won't till again, but that was the best part of it, watching the birds eat and eat!