Saturday, August 3, 2013

Damn Squirrels

This is my dwarf fruit trees' third year, so two of the five of them have begun to fruit. I've put bird netting around my peach tree. The damn squirrel eats about one or two a day. My apple tree isn't faring any better. I used to have 50-60 fruit on the peach tree, but between the brown rot and the squirrels there is less than half left. The netting doesn't seem to help much. So far the squirrels have found a way in every day. I can tell from the half eaten peaches I find on the ground. But they have started to ripen slowly. I picked six more today.

Though it kills me to give them away as they are so good and not numerous, I split them with my townhouse mates. There are parts of the yard that are mine and I can do what I want with the area and eat everything (the rock wall garden and my fenced in vegetable garden). And there is the rest of the yard, which we both paid for and we all do the work for. I do tend to do more of the work than the others as it is honestly easier to do most of it than tell them what to do. Plus my townhouse mates do things on their schedule not on the plants' schedules. And many of the chores I do have to be done at certain times. Basically I do everything except mow and trim the grass, and some of the weeding. Technically all of the weeding should be done by my townhouse mates, but I do weed here and there. They miss things. They can't tell a weed from a perennial that we planted. We tend to let the Dutch clover grow where it wills. Then the wood sorrel started to take over . To me they don't look anything alike, but they thought it was clover. And they don't get under the plants well enough. I cut down a 4' tall maple growing out of our mountain andromeda. Heck even I missed that one until it was 4' tall and I'm pretty good with finding hidden weeds.

Anyway there are still peaches in there. I tried to buff up the defenses this morning. I hope they work. I really wish I'd have enough peaches to preserve them. Canned peaches for the winter would be so nice. As would peach butter. And peach sauce (like plum sauce but with peaches). Oh the things I could do. For now I'll dream of squirrel stew and try to figure out where he gets in next time.

Yesterday I spent dealing with my gooseberries. I had one plant that needed to come out. It might give out really large berries and be semi thornless, but they are not prolific and they taste insipid (Tixia). My favorite of the two gooseberries that I had left was Hinnomaki Red. This plant has fairly draping branches. And everywhere they touch the ground they root. So I took one rooted cutting and planted that one instead. Since the plant drapes too much, it drags a lot of the fruit into the soil. I wanted to get them up and off the ground.

I've decided to grow the two plants as standards. So I've started their training. I'll get them up to about 2 1/2' off the ground I think before I'll let them branch out. Maybe just two feet.

In the middle of the two standards, will be Invicta which I'll keep as a ground based bush. It seems to be able to hold up its fruit just fine.

Interestingly enough as I viciously pruned the gooseberry plant I found the plant covered in ripe gooseberries. I told my townhouse mates to pick them and eat them when I was gone as they were almost ripe when I left. They didn't. So I have a nice little pile. Many had fallen off already, but I got about two cups of ripe berries.

My cucumbers are starting to come in too. So I made up some more pickle brine for the fridge. I put in dill heads, onions, and garlic from the garden. I also added some spices. As I have extra cucumbers I'll add them to the juice. Refrigerator pickles are the best kind of pickle. They don't ever get heated so they are very very crisp. I don't even soak them in salt like you would for a canned pickle. They just don't need it. You can use any quick pickle brine that you like to make them. I tend to make them as dills, but keep wondering if I ought to branch out more.


  1. Interesting comments about the "job-sharing"...

  2. Squirrels can be such a pest. I am thankful they aren't bothering anything here, at least not yet. I think they are happy with the neighbors walnut tree, and with our mulberry. I'm sure ripening peaches are quite attractive to them too!

    I am planting an Invicta gooseberry this year, along with one called Captivator. I may have to add the Hinnomaki Red to the mix. It is good to have an impartial review of it. The catalog descriptions are glowing, but you know how that is! I look forward to hearing how it does as a standard. I've never tried growing a gooseberry that way.

  3. Yep, I agree about the squirrels. They are one big pain.

  4. I absolutely HATE Squirrels! One year I trapped about 16 of them and had peace until the fall when a new group moved in!

    Hopefully you'll have enough peaches to enjoy!

  5. I feel your critter pain...

    I love refrigerator pickles! They're the only type of pickle we even make nowadays since other stuff keeps us busy with canning. And refrigerator pickles can stay in the 'fridge for *months* and be fine (contrary to the "eat them in two weeks" line you sometimes see).

  6. I'm telling you the last 2 years I've been lucky to get a dozen peaches off my 2 standard trees and I have hundreds of fruit on them. It's amazing the damage the dang bushy tailed tree rats can do!