Early Yet

It turns out to be a lot of fun to have a five year old helping in the garden. He lives in a city house in San Francisco, with a front yard that pretty much defines itself right there, and a back yard consisting of a deck over a small patio. When I asked him if he’d like to

j asparagus


go into the garden with me, he said “Gardens are ridiculous.”

We went into my garden anyway. I showed him the asparagus patch, which is now all ferny tops, the spear season being over.

“Asparagus?!?” he said, incredulous. “Asparagus?!?” He laughed. I was making no progress against the idea of garden ridiculousness.

But when the next thing was to put compost on it, which meant digging dirt out of a big pile, carting it over to the asparagus patch, and dumping it between the ferny bits, he was into that. Like, literally into it. Kids and dirt are a classic combination.

j blueberries


After that, I suggested we check out the blueberry bushes.

“They’re green,” he noted. Yes, well, it’s early in the summer. But look! One blue one!

Guess I’m lucky he’s too young for eye rolls.

We walked by the squash plants with no squashes yet, the pumpkin

j no pumpkins – Version 2



vines with no pumpkins yet, and the eggplant plants with no eggplants yet. Maybe I’ll try to get him to come out in August next year.



But at the tomato plants we ran into a little luck. I’d planted a single seedling called a Fourth of July tomato, and though

j tomato


it was running a week late, there was one perfect, red, glorious if small fruit dangling there.

“Tomato!” he said happily as I twisted it off the vine. He bit into it with a look of absolute glee on his face, his smile half obscured by the first tomato of the season, juicy, bright, and not at all ridiculous.




— for Zerlina’s view of this visit, click here

Eagles Redux

juvie chimney

all photos are last year’s juveniles

I heard them before I saw them. “Dweeb! Dweeb!” they called mockingly to each other, voices high and screechy, almost like seagulls. My heart lifted. Juvies! We knew last year’s four-year-olds had sailed off to make their own lives, and we hoped Mama and Papa Bald Eagle had a new brood coming along, but spring came and went: the sky swirled with silent turkey buzzards, the yard vibrated with elegant songbirds, but the loopy, joyful, chaotic, confident chatter of the juvenile eagles was nowhere to be heard.

juvie pinwheelAnd now here they are, just in time for the Fourth of July. In their immature plumage, mottled brown and white without the gleaming head and tail effect of their elders, they own the skies, unconcerned with the other birds – which, however, become frantic about the juvies. The juvenile eagle siblings seem to care about nothing but playing with each other in joyful disturbance of the peace.

juvie fence post

Guardian Angel

I used to hear the phrase “screaming eagle” and picture the bird on the National Seal with the arrows in its talons, striking out of the sky like a rocket. Reality is perhaps less majestic, but more relatable. Screaming is their song. Whatever else they use it for, they seem to use it to keep track of each other. Or annoy each other – after all, they’re siblings. And according to the National Seal, they carry a bunch of tickly olive branches in the other foot. I’m glad to have them back, even if they’re in the neighbor’s trees for now. I hope they come sit on my fence post again, terrifying the squirrels and bunnies into retreat.