By Kathy Miele
Having just poured my first cup of tea I stopped by my back door to watch a little bunny munching on some clover.
“Alex, come here a minute!” I called to my son. “You have to see how adorable this is.”
Alex came to stand next to me and we watched the little guy hop from clover patch to clover patch nibbling on the white flowers. While we were watching the bunny, a robin came swooping down from a tree and landed next to the bunny. He grabbed something round and red with his beak and flew back into the trees.
“What did that bird just pick out of our lawn?” I asked.
Alex shrugged his shoulders; he’d already lost interest in the bunny watch as he headed back to his room.
By now another bird, this time a small finch swooped in and grabbed another red thing from the ground and being smaller than a robin struggled to fly back up into a tree with its prize in its beak.
Opening the sliding glass door I stepped out onto the back porch to get a closer look at what the birds were finding so irresistible. As I walked down the steps I could see dozens of red things dotting the lawn. My bunny friend froze as I got close to him. I moved slowly trying not to disturb his breakfast but he wasn’t going to take any chances and darted off into the bushes. As I got closer I could see where blades of grass used to be was now a carpet of small leaves and tiny red berries, about the size of a pea, nestled in the leaves. Reaching down I picked one to get a closer look. They were tiny strawberries.
“What are you looking at?” Steven called.
I turned to see him standing at the sliding glass door. I held up the tiny berry. “Strawberries!” I said. “When did a section of our lawn turn into a strawberry field?” I asked.
Steven came out to get a closer look. “I don’t remember seeing any last year,” he said.
“They can grow that quickly?” I asked. I looked around at all the red berries not thinking of them as bird food any more but thinking about my boys walking in the backyard then bringing in the crushed berries on the bottom of their shoes and right onto my carpet. “This is going to be a mess!” I complained. “How do we get rid of them?”
Steven looked around for a moment. “Well, you can’t spray any weed killer because you’ll ruin the ground for any grass seed to grow.” He reached down and picked one of the berries. “Didn’t you always say you wanted one of those strawberry pots for the back porch?”
“Oh yeah, I like those,” I said.
“Well, you could dig these up and replant them for that pot you’ve always wanted,” he suggested. “You just need to be sure you get all of the root system out so they won’t grow back again.”
I looked around at just how big the strawberry patch was and thought about how much work that was going to be.
Just then the robin flew in again to grab another berry from the ground. We watched as it flew back into the trees with the tiny berry in its beak. “Maybe it would be wrong to get rid of a food source right now,” I said.
“Too much work to replant, huh?”
“You’ve got that right.”
Another bunny slowly hopped over to the edge of the strawberry patch and began nibbling. “I’m counting on nature to eat this problem away.”