Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Peach Fairy Was Here!

. . . I'm sure that's what the woodchucks, "Beth" and "Little Beth," think whenever we set the morning's pile of peach peelings out under the walnut tree.

I've told you about woodchucks before. We have a few on our block that apparently live in burrows around some of the vacant and semi-abandoned and marginally maintained "rental" housing nearby. (We used to be unqualified preservationists, but some of the houses on our block are beyond repair and are simply waiting in line to be torn down.)

It's not like we're "feeding" the woodchucks, particularly (we don't even set seed out for the squirrels, to keep them from the bird feeders, anymore)--we just feed the birds, and seed falls to the ground, and the woodchucks come to vacuum up the scraps. Sometimes the woodchuck sits there on the ground right next to the mourning doves, who are similarly interested in Hoovering up spilled millet, cracked corn, and what-all.

But on these mornings when I peel three or four peaches to have with our breakfast, we have a choice of where to toss the peels and pits. Should we scrape them into the garbage can (where they would soon get boozy and draw fruit flies)? Or put them into our backyard composter? (It's a plastic bin that is always full of weeds and seems rather creepy with spiders, picture-winged flies, mold, and more--it's kind of hard to face in the mornings; plus, peach peelings seem too sweet and precious for the composter.)

So instead, we put them in the yard, where a hungry and appreciative mammal can find them.

Ever since that lengthy, dry, hot spell we had (practically from June through July), we've been setting our cantaloupe rinds and fruit peelings under the walnut, where we know that Beth and Little Beth walk past, on their way to our bird feeders, and where (we know) the local opossum(s) and raccoon(s) amble past during the night shift.

The scraps always disappear within twelve hours. Although I haven't seen it, Sue says that once or twice, she's seen the woodchucks discover a fresh pile of peach peels.

She says they fall on it like prospectors on the mother lode.

To them, it must seem like manna from heaven, a supreme ambrosial treat--especially given this hot, dry summer of crackling, brown grass and a dearth of anything remotely resembling "succulence."

To them, it must seem like the "Peach Fairy" came and granted them a special boon! If woodchucks are capable of rejoicing (they always have such a deadpan expression), this would inspire it.

And as far as we're concerned--as long as the woodchucks refrain from burrowing under our house--they are quite free to enjoy the sweet peels that we don't want.


whalechaser said...

What a fabulous way to recycle! Too bad you can't get it on video.

Julianna Schroeder said...

Oh, man, can you imagine how long it'd take for my blog to load if I got into video? Hah--I'm not saying that I'd turn down one of those little "Flip" things if someone gave me one--but I've got enough on my platter without becoming my own camera crew! Ha ha ha.