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Harvesting soft fruit
I’ve been very disappointed with the performance of my vegetable crops this year. First, we had unbearably dry weather and then, more recently, November-like conditions.
My soft fruit, though, has fared much better. The strawberries have been cropping well, and although I never got round to netting the strawberry bed, we’ve been enjoying vast quantities of delicious fruits for weeks. Only now are the yields beginning to fall.
We haven’t been the only ones to enjoy the strawberries; the blackbirds and our resident vole have also had their fair share. The vole does test my patience, as it harvests more than it actually eats and makes a series of ‘larders’ – small mounds of neatly cut fruit! I’m too soft to do anything about it, though, and I’m quite happy to feed the blackbirds.
Today I ventured into the currant bushes with my harvesting bowls. I soon realised that one of the blackbirds was sitting, watching me at work. Her eyes were fixed on me, and she sat low to the ground, no doubt hoping I wouldn’t spot her. I’m sure she wondered why I was stealing her fruit. The currants are a well-loved nesting spot for the blackbirds, and she’d be pleased to know that I wouldn’t dream of harvesting from the dense currant bush in which I know there is a nest – perhaps hers.
There has been more than enough fruit for all of us this year, so I’ve been happy to ‘share and share alike’, as we’re taught to do from an early age. I wish I could extend this generosity of spirit to the slugs and snails…
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