Just as the strawberries are are at an end, the raspberries are starting to pink up.
The strawberries were not a very abundant crop this year. Usually I am sending out containers full for visitors to the farm, family and friends. This year, with the buttercups taking over the garden strawberry bed, the harvest was quite a bit smaller but still enough to share a little and freeze enough for wintertime.
It looks like the raspberries will have a better crop than the strawberries, but it will depend on weather and the birds who are staking out their perches in anticipation of ripe berries for their own meals.
The latest sign that it is nearing the end of winter are the hazelnut (filbert) trees at the edge of the garden.
The trees are loaded with yellow dangles of bright catkins. The catkins will slowly darken and fall off before the first leaves begin to emerge. Continue reading
Cleaning up the garden the other day gave me a chance to pick a bucket of strawberries.
No, these aren’t the sweet berries that we enjoyed so much during the beginning of the summer. These are the rock decoys that I had painted and scattered throughout the strawberry patch in hopes that it would frustrate enough birds to ensure a crop of berries for me.
I’m really not sure if the theory that I put into practice works. Birds seem to peck along at the leisure when there is a decoy laying around or not.
I have noticed however, that humans are drawn to the decoys as they step into the patch and I constantly have to answer for my odd display. Seems to me the birdbrains have the upper hand on this game of confusion.
I caught a glimpse of Gabriel’s feet as he was sitting under the old tin roof of the shop. I had to crouch down just to get this much of him in a picture.
He was watching out for birds, not hiding, but hunting.
The springtime birds have shown up en masse and the flitty movements keep the cats occupied for hours.
Chores went on without him this morning.
Apparently bird watching is more important than keeping me company while I feed the cows in the barn.
It is very early for us, but we have had some ripe strawberries already. This is about 3 weeks sooner than any other year.
This is the same patch where I placed some decoy rocks painted to look like strawberries in order to fool the birds from pecking at the fruit. I had placed the rocks throughout the patch more than a month ago just as the plants were starting to bloom.
Those painted rocks had fooled me several times as I walked by the patch. There were several times when had to take a second look after something red caught my eye. Up until now, only the red rocks were ripe.
The handful of berries that we harvested so far did not have a single peck mark from the birds, so apparently the decoys have been working. Now I am worried that I may have to start painting marbles as decoys for the blueberry patch.
My DIY project to save my strawberry crop is complete. The rocks that I had gathered had been painted red and set overnight. When I had a little time, I painted light green at the top of the rocks. A few days later, I added black dots (fingernail polish) to simulate the seeds of the berries. Then I added darker green at the tops and outlined the leaves.
I finished the decoy berries off with a clear spray seal.
I think they turned out o.k. in an artsy-fartsy kind of way. I am hoping that the birds are cross-eyed or just plain stupid for the decoy berries to work their magic and turn the birds off the fruit altogether.
When I was describing my plan to a group of friends, one kind-hearted soul asked a question. She said, “Won’t the decoys just attract more birds?”
We shall see, grasshopper, we shall see!
The strawberries are blooming!That is a sure sign of spring. I have also noticed that the birds have started swooping around the plants with hopes of a berry or two.
I have been working on the decoy berries and will be giving you the full details of the process. I plan on ‘planting’ the decoys in the next few days.
In the meantime, my right hand helper took a look at my work in progress and remarked that they may look a bit like strawberries but also looked like eggplants. I think that my work in progress needs a little more touch-up.