Sunday, February 9, 2014

January into February

Well - the cute wee rabbit has moved into the orchard!  A small gap under the gate was enough space for an adventurous creature, and now it has loads of fried blueberries and sweet juicy strawberries to snack from. Not the best scenario from our point of view.

The blueberry season has all but finished - at least a month earlier than previous years.  The cool weather then extremely hot weather confused the poor plants and about 40% of our crop is not worth picking.  Which in a way is a blessing because there's so much maintenance to do on the property and now we have an extra four weeks in which to weed and start some late summer fruit pruning. Silver lining stuff?

The nice big excitement? Some large and ripening nectarines have been discovered.  The only other fruit to have survived the October frost.

The not so nice excitement? Discovering very large holes in the "roof" of the netting.  Repairing these will require a cherry picker for reach.

The delightful bit?  A young female blackbird has successfully trained me to feed her blueberries by hand.  Gradually over a few weeks the blueberry distribution range has gone from a metre away to her taking the b/b from my outstretched fingers. 

Early days of training

Got it!
 She has learned to recognise my voice - which is just as well because yesterday morning I found her stuck in the currant patch (typical bird - easily gets into spaces, can't get out again!).  I called her to the entrance - hop hop hop over dried leaves so I could hear where she was.  Then thinking she could see the very large opening I walked away towards the back of the currants - to find she followed my voice and hopped back!  So, I return to the entrance - with blueberries in hand. Successful extraction and one young blackbird quite obviously chastened by the experience.

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