“My figs are ripe!” I told Cousin Dusty on the phone. I knew this even though I could not actually see them. I had been hearing a glorious chorus of happy birds and I suddenly realized why they were so darn happy — they were in my fig tree — eating my figs! There was a lot of excited fluttering and they were singing, “Woo-Hoo! Ripe Figs! Oh Yum!” I’m pretty sure that’s what they were saying, because that’s what I say when they get ripe.
The crop wasn’t very big this year, unfortunately. I’d been watching one particular fig which was eye-level and visible from the dining room. Sure enough, it was purple — the thing about figs is that they get ripe overnight. Literally. They are green…green…green and then suddenly PURPLE.
As soon as I hung up the phone, I dashed outside and was dismayed to discover several figs had been eaten into and there were even a couple of skins on the ground. My “bellwether” was purple and I picked and ate it on the spot. Oh, so good! I spotted another few figs that could benefit from one more day on the tree, so I dashed inside and snagged some material to drape over them. The birds were still at the top of the tree, enjoying their feast, and there was nothing I could do to salvage the figs that were too high for me to reach. I’m sure the fruit and the birds will be gone by dusk. I was glad about one thing — the birds actually ate the entire fig! That is not always the case.
My apricot tree is unbelievably full of nearly-ripe ‘cots and I go out each day to pick up the ones that have fallen on the ground and then the ripe ones on the lower branches that I can reach. The ones on the ground almost all have been pecked where the birds have eaten the very ripest, juiciest, tastiest part of the fruit and left the rest. This drives me crazy. I wouldn’t mind if they wanted the whole thing, but noooo …. they eat only a tiny bit and leave the rest to rot.
I stand under the tree and lecture the birds — the neighbors probably think I’m crazy. I have tried to reach an understanding about who gets which ‘cots. I am okay with them eating the fruit at the top of the tree which I can’t reach anyway, but I think it’s only fair that they leave the lower branches to me. “After all,” I tell them, “I’m the one who planted the tree, I water it and feed it so I should get the fruit.” The little suckers pay absolutely no attention to me and go right ahead, flitting through the branches pecking away.
“Eat the whole thing!” I yell up to the top of the tree, “don’t just take a bite and leave the rest!” Even though I don’t speak Bird, I’m pretty sure I heard a mommy bird tell her fledgling: “Don’t you pay her no never mind. You just eat the good part. There’s lots of fruit – don’t listen to her.” “Those are MY apricots!” I yell. The LBB (Little Brown Bird) looks down on me with a beady eye. “These are God’s apricots,” she scolds, “and you’re lucky we leave any for you at all!”
Just then an apricot drops at my feet, barely missing me. “Did you throw that?” I yell. I pick it up with intention of throwing it right back, but she simply lifts her wings and glides across the yard. I watch helplessly as she lands gracefully smack in the middle of the fig tree.
Why is there never a cat around when you need one?