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Sunday, June 24, 2018

Tomato in a Tree

This June morning, I went up to putz around the community garden well before the day's promised assault of heat.  First, though, I sat in the pergola and ate a choco muffin, looking around at the 10 plots filled with veggies and flowers.  As I did, my eye caught a red spot in a pine tree, about 10 feet above my garden.  Curious.  I inspected.  It looked like a plum tomato, but why would it be in a tree?  Only one garden is even growing a dwarf plum tomato plant this year, but those folks are in South Africa for the summer.  Maybe a roving child had illicitly picked a ripe fruit and then tossed it just so into the pines??  I looked again: no way it would have just landed there, balanced on a branch. 

With a sigh, I set about tidying the garden, still pondering the red orb glowing in the early sunlight. Maybe a squirrel had put it there?  Probably not: I've only seen one squirrel this year, and I just don't think they do a lot of storing tomatoes on a tree branch.  Ok, so maybe a bird?  Well, the few birds we have around here are either way too small to carry a tomato or they would have just pecked it in situ or just eaten it.   Maybe...?

An hour later, I had given up finding a sensible answer to the mystery.  As a delightful distraction, however, a Eurasian jay landed on the fence; I held very still, pleased to see this skittish bird so close up.  Her more brightly-colored mate joined her a minute later, confirming that I was undetected behind the gaillardias and daylilies.  After looking around the garden for a moment, the female swooped down with practiced ease to the plum tomato plant, and... yup.  She neatly plucked a ripe tomato and flew away with it into the pine forest, conclusively solving my mystery but perhaps beginning a new one for another curious human.

Image result for eurasian jay korea
photo from https://www.patrickblakephotography.com/EAsianBirds/ACrows/

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