I’ve got a thing for grubs. Not a star-struck, make-my-heart-aflutter type of thing. More like a stomach aflutter thing. Something about their sickening plumpness, translucent skin, pathetic blindness, and desire to live in places most other animals would avoid with extreme prejudice. Our compost pile has become, through our lack of good compost maintenance, a Club Med for grubs. They languish in the fetid muck, turning up their slick blind faces to me when I turn the compost with a pitchfork. Taking a break from weeding in the garden yesterday, I decided to mix the compost and saw a new batch of grubs. Imagine extra-large gnocchi come to life. I decided it was time to give the neighborhood birds a feast.
How much fun is it to pick up large grubs? When they’re in a compost-fume torpor they’re curled up like opium addicts on the floor of a teahouse in old Shanghai. But once they see the sun and, presumably, understand their impending date with destiny they come to life in a way that will make your scalp itch. They try to burrow into your palm with stout mandibles you wouldn’t expect from such blubbery bodies. So you must throw them with a shriek of disgust into the dirt, which is precisely what I did. Then I saw them disappearing like sand crabs at the beach, so I grabbed them again and chucked them into the gravel by the curb. Certainly they won’t risk shredding their bodies to burrow through razor-sharp gravel, I thought with smug satisfaction. Check. I checked on them five minutes later and they were…GONE. Checkmate. Oh Lordy help us, they’ve gone underground, perhaps to burrow up under the house, through the floorboards, and into my side of the bed. I acted fast and found them there in the gravel, then dumped them in the gutter beside the curb and prayed for an avian invasion. Crows! Soup’s on!
Still reading? Why on Earth? But there’s more. I kept corralling the grubs into one area until our resident mockingbird alit on the entry gate. I picked up a grub and chucked it into the road. The mockingbird tipped its head, flapped down to the ground, hopped over, and struck! It flew away with its prize, enough for an entire meal. Was I satisfied? No. Could I possibly go back to gardening after my successful Wild Kingdom interaction? What do you think? I went inside and got some spy footage of the mockingbird eating its grub on a neighbor’s roof. Sorry about the resolution but I had to zoom WAY in to capture the grisly details. The real question is: why do I do this to myself? [shudder]