Peaches and peacocks and Perseids, oh my
August 9, 2018
It's been a banner year for peaches from the backyard tree again this year. In June, I spotted a few fuzzy orbs nestled beneath long, cascading leaves and was hopeful we'd have a couple dozen to savor once they ripened.
The thing about peaches is that they come all at once, like a wave of sweet, sunny, summer goodness. As soon as I noticed they were ready to pick, I started pulling them from the tree and was amazed by how many more peaches had kept themselves hidden, almost like a clever little trick being played on the birds and me.
Not to be fooled, however, were the earwigs. We've been overrun with the hungry little buggers this summer and they'd already obliterated the potted flowers lining the back patio. This year, picking peaches became as much a race against the earwigs as it was against time.
Plenty of fruit was collected to eat now and freeze for later, and I happily shared the abundance with several neighbors. A hardy amount remained on the tree for our feathered friends. Because of the inaccessible height of some of the peaches, however, quite a few of them ended up on the ground. And this carpet of fallen fruit beckoned a whole new set of friends into the yard.
Glancing outside one afternoon, I saw what I thought were four wild turkeys making their way down the berm toward the peach tree. It took moment to realize that they were actually peacocks and peahens; their plumage was folded in, but the telltale crest of feathered sprigs on a couple of their heads clarified what I was seeing.
We've had our share of backyard visitors over the years, but this was a first. There used to be a group of peacocks (also known as a bevy, muster, ostentation, or pride) that perched in the trees along Centerville Lane east of Highway 88, but I haven't seen them there or heard their piercing cries for quite some time.
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I stepped outside cautiously so as not to startle them. I didn't know whether they'd be aggressive or territorial at all, but they seemed rather unfazed by my presence. I hoped that one of the peacocks might fan out his back feathers, but alas, no such luck. I got a few quick pictures of them before they made their way past the tree, probably annoyed by my hovering. They walked up the other side of the berm and, I'm disappointed to say, I haven't seen them since.
I'm clearly not the only one susceptible to the sweet lure of fresh peaches. Good thing it's such a prolific year.
• Perseid meteor shower this weekend
Fellow summertime stargazers rejoice; the best light show of the year happens this weekend.
Visibility of the Perseid meteor shower will be aided by a minimum amount of light from the new crescent moon. The best viewing takes place late Saturday night into Sunday morning, and will peak late Sunday night into Monday morning. Space.com reports that viewers can expect meteor rates of 60-70 per hour.
So set out those blankets and set your alarms; there's a feast for the eyes in the sky this weekend.
Amy Roby can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org