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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Thoughts on Blue Jays, Mushrooms, and Gardening

This is a Blue Jay. Yesterday, he came and sat on our deck railing. We've gotten a lot of random wildlife that roams through our neighborhood and yard. Obviously, birds are the easiest to come across. But it's not too often they'll chill on our deck for such a long amount of time that I can take several pictures.

It's a pretty grainy photo since I was taking it through the screen of our sliding glass door. After watching him sit in this position for several minutes, I figured out what he was doing - attracting a mate.

He had his chest puffed out like those Foster Farms chicken commercials and would sit in various weird positions. Then he'd fidget for a moment, scratch his head and make his feathers more fanned out, especially the plume on his head, and then pose again. The mating rituals of the feathered kind have always been fascinating. If you've ever watched Planet Earth on Discovery Channel, particularly when they talk about the jungle, you see all these crazy antics that birds would put themselves through just to attract the females. And if the ladies were unimpressed, the guys would deflate and be sad that they were overlooked.

I'm happy to say though, that I saw a Blue Jay today, and he had a mate. They landed on our deck railing and sat for a few moments before taking off.

Congrats little dude.


I've never been a fan of the fungus variety. Sure, cheese is technically mold, but it's delicious and makes pretty much everything taste fantastic. But mushrooms... They don't have a flavor. To me, everything should have a flavor before it's cooked. The absence of one just makes me nervous. Like... it could hide the flavor of a poison, or kill me somehow.

Tonight, my Aunt found a recipe for mushroom turkey burgers, and invited us over to help make them and give 'em a try. I was hesitant that I'd like them, since if mushrooms are in anything, I generally pick them out. But to my surprise, these burgers tasted fantastic.

Now, that's not to say I'm going to try mushrooms more, but hey, if it's in a burger, I'll probably eat it.


My mom is big on gardening. She likes to do it so that she can have her own tomatoes and zucchini. I enjoy the zucchini, but I'm much bigger on fruit. I prefer plants that I can just put in the ground once and basically not worry about until harvest time.

So I'm really not a fan of vegetables except for green onions. The spring and early summer are when we plant things in the garden plots we've set up around the yard. I'm much less motivated to plant things every year. For the most part, I'm happy with our fruit trees. They're simple to take care of and we get a great amount of produce every year.

 I'm excited for our plants this year, since we're going to have plenty of peaches. But not to mention we're also growing peppers, carrots, peas, bush beans, zucchini, tomatoes - Romas and Cherry/Sweet 100s - and cucumbers. Our Fuji apple and Asian pear tree are both on their off years, so they'll produce very little until next harvest season. The fall can't get here fast enough.

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