Welcome to "The Last Leaf Gardener," a blog by Patricia Youngquist. I am a photo-artist, bird-lover and urban gardener living in NYC. My website includes my non-nature themed images (Black and White as well as Kaleidoscopic). Click on the second image in sidebar (Right)) to visit. I also have published a three volume book series, "Words In Our Beak," in which the stories are told by Cam, the bird pictured above. Click on the first image in the sidebar (also Right) for info.
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Tuesday, May 10, 2016
And Now A Word (Or Two) About Peanuts
This morning I woke up to breaking news that an "Iowa man's knee was shattered after discarded peanut shells caused him to slip onto the floor of a national steakhouse chain's Cedar Falls restaurant." And he subsequently followed a lawsuit seeking thousands upon thousands in damages! Evidently this was not the first time an individual served a restaurant because he/she had slipped on peanut shells. According to the same news source, "In 2008, a woman received $43,000 after she slipped on peanuts and fractured her kneecap at a Texas Roadhouse."
My hearing the breaking new re suing over peanuts came the same time that I was about to post my own breaking news related to peanuts which is this:
The bluejay, pictured above seems to be "showing off" the nourishment that I've provided within a wreath-style whole peanut bird feeder which I've recently hung in my urban (NYC) rooftop garden. His/her actions in procuring peanuts were quite an inspiration to me the other day.
As you can see he/she is soaking wet. This was a result of the many days of downpours of rains that have been occurring here in NYC. This jay did not seem to find the heavy rainfall to be a deterrent in seeking nourishment. Nor is rain a deterrent for many birds when it comes to doing most of their normal routine, for birds have something in their physical structure that allows rain to slide off their back.
This is one of many facts re the avian community that Cam discusses in her book, Words In Our Beak Volume One.
However it wasn't the jay's tenacity in availing him/herself of food during the heavy rains that caused me to be inspired. I was impressed by how carefully this jay studied the "mechanics" of my wreath-style whole peanut feeder. The following is a play-by-play photo-strip of the actions the jay took before getting to a point where he/she could "flaunt" a peanut which is what he/she is doing in the photo atop this blog entry.
This was not the first time that a jay has enjoyed peanuts that I've offered in my garden. In bygone times, I've had a variety of ways to serve whole peanuts to the birds which visit my garden. Jays are not the only bird type who have availed themselves of this food, other birds that have come here to eat peanuts.
And in my writings here on Blogger, I've documented an array of birds enjoying peanuts from all my different feeders. These creatures include cardinals, common grackles, and Downy woodpeckers. In addition to my writings here, I also have a number of posts on tumblr, as well as Facebook, regarding this. Moreover, I have a huge selection of images featuring this subject within my Pinterest Boards.
But I digress! For what I wanted to share with you today, dear reader, is how the actions of the jay featured in this post inspired me.
I have been very frustrated by the actions of a number of people that I have hired to help me advance Words In Our Beak Volume One, the book I wrote with Cam. For a number of these people have not treated me well, and I've paid them for work that has gone awry, as well as for work that I've had to redo at a great expense.
Without going into the he said/she said scenarios, let me just say that as I observed this jay's willingness to study the construction of my wreath-style whole peanut feeder, and then to proceed in figuring out a method to access peanuts, I realized that if I could move away from my personal pain and lack of confidence, and instead study my options quietly, I could come to a solution just as the jay was able to do.
Of course in order to achieve this, to focus and not be caught up in the actions of others, it would probably help me to have that "something" which birds have in the way they are physically constructed. That "something" which allows the rain to slide off their back. And this ends my intended entry re the inspiration of tenacious blue jays.
However, now, after my hearing this morning's breaking news re individuals who have sued places because they've fallen on shells, I feel compelled to share a memory of my dearly departed father, for whom Cam and I dedicated the Kindle version of Words In Our Beak Volume One.
The Kindle version of our book was set to be released on the 2015 anniversary of my father's death. Cam and I had decided on that date because we saw her daughter (whom she named Peanut) bonding with the bird's father, at a cylinder-style whole peanut feeder that hung in my gardens, which she is doing in the picture below.
Seeing the father and daughter bird spending time alone, prompted Cam and I to include the importance of a father to his daughter (in the avian community, as well as among humans), in our ePub version of the book. Cam came up with the idea of getting the Kindle version released on the anniversary of my father's death; then I paid RDW a large amount of money to help re-format the book in time to realize our goal.
He ultimately gave me the wrong information! After I had spent thousands of dollars on his fees, I had to redo almost everything, and I did not get my book out by the date I had wanted. Instead it came out weeks after my target time.
RDW is one of the persons I referred to (a few paragraphs above) when I stated that "a number of these people have not treated me well, and I've paid them for work that has gone awry, as well as for work that I've had to redo at a great expense."
In any event, I'm not about to sue RDW, such as the folks who slipped on peanut shells did to restaurant owners, but hearing their stories prompted me to recall one of the things that happened to make my father came to be a suspicious and untrusting man.
Growing up I was told that early on in his career as a claims adjustor, it was hard for those filing a claim to convince my dad that he/she should be reimbursed for damages. One day my father was called to investigate a claim made by a woman who had fallen while shopping at Walgreens. The company my dad worked for put him on the case because he was known for being strict and checking out every nuance of filed insurance claims, and rarely awarded a settlement. The woman who had fallen at Walgreens had done so while carrying her newborn child, and out of sympathy for the child, my dad immediately authorized a settlement. A few days later the company received a wired-notification that the woman filing the claim was a professional "faller" and gotten so good at her "craft," that she learned to do it while carrying a baby.
I wonder if the folks slipping on shells are professional fallers, as I'm sure those who fall for a living are still active in their "careers." And since may be the case, I better be careful where my jay tosses shells from the peanuts he gets at my feeder. I'd hate to see this bird be sued!
ADDENDUM FALL 2018:
The digital versions of Volume One within the Words In Our Beak book series that are mentioned in this entry may only remain available for a limited time, but hardcover versions of Volume One, Two and Three can now be found wherever books are sold.
Please click here to go to my blog post that provides details as to where you can get these books.
Additionally, I have rendered some images from these books into other formats and they are available viaFine Art America(FAA). Some of my other photographs (Black & White Collection, Kaleidoscopic Images and the famous Mandarin duck who visited NYC) can also be found on my FAA pages.