"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Saturday, 5 December 2015


Whilst waiting for the fruit to ripen I lost all my plums and apricots to the birds in the space of 5 days.  Not only the semi-ripe fruit, but even the "green" fruit that was hanging on the trees.
The fruit trees held promise of an abundant harvest
this Spring.
And, we had exactly 2 handfuls of youngberries from the overladen 10 youngberry bushes.

I went to the berry bushes yesterday to start harvesting - and they were all gone.  Most probably eaten by the mousebirds.

Disheartening.  For I can't harvest unripe fruit...

And, this has certainly shaken me out of my fruit self-sufficient complacency.
No strawberry infused gifts this year...

I won't be preserving strawberry and youngberry jam / cordial this year.  And, there will be no strawberry infused vodka either.  (Not that we drink vodka - more beer for him, and white wine for me.  But, making strawberry infused vodka last year from our abundant and excess harvest enabled me to hand out a bottle to various neighbours come Christmastime.)

It seems as though one year I can have an amazing harvest, and the next year I'm swiftly brought down to earth with a harvest failure.  Or, more correctly, a harvest theft!

I tried hanging old CD's in the fruit trees - hoping that the light flashes would scare the birds away.  All that happened was that the "silver" lining on the CD's quickly eroded off - probably due to the unusually early excessive heat we've been experiencing this summer.

So, that bird deterrent is a no-no.
Do I care if I have more aluminium pie shells
on my fruit trees than fruit.  Not one iota!
I'd rather be able to harvest fruit when it is
ripe than worry about aesthetics!
Then, we tried hanging 2.5cms (1") wide strips of aluminium foil from the branches - again hoping that the sun reflecting off the strips would act as a deterrent.  The wind just shredded those strips.

Finally, I found a couple of old aluminium foil pie trays lurking in the cupboard full of stuff in the garage which we brought from our town house, and which I haven't sorted out yet.
Precisely two apples resulted from all those
 blossoms in my blog's current header pic- and
  I am going to ensure that I am able to harvest

So, this morning, in an effort to save the pear / apple and nectarine fruit, I have hung those in the trees.  They certainly give off reflected sunlight, and make a ruddy great noise when the breeze bounces them against the branches of the respective trees.

If they work then I will need to get some more for the pomegranate trees and grape vines.

Noise, and light.  A good bird deterrent combination.

I'm hopeful that they will work some magic.
Grape vines - awaiting aluminium pie trays...? ;)

Otherwise, I'm going to have to visit those trees early every morning and late every afternoon and harvest whatever seems almost ripe.

I'm not mad about the aluminium pie shells, but I console myself with the knowledge that I can re-use the aluminium pie shells over and over and over again.  And, that using them is far better than resorting to spraying chemicals in order to deter the birds.

But, in the midst of my disappointment, I came across this this morning.

Reading all that makes me aware that I very little to complain about...


Sol said...

Can you please show the progress of your vines? I have 4 cuttings/whips I took off of a friends vine. Seriously thought they would die, but they took. I have an older vine also.

Previously I have just let vines grow madly over a pergola and had good results, but I am interested now in cutting them back and getting better crops.

Quinn said...

Oh, I'm sorry, Dani - it is hard to lose the entire harvest! I share berries with birds, but I do have to get up pretty early in the morning if I want any blueberries. Many people here drape some sort of netting or cheesecloth over their fruit trees and berry bushes..I've never tried it, but it must work because I see i everywhere and no one would do it for the aesthetics, believe me.

possumqueensa said...

Thanks for the warning, Dani, I have a tree full of swiftly ripening figs and those rascally rascals are not getting them.

Dani said...

Sol - I can post pics of the vines as the fruit ripens, but I am by no means an expert on the subject of grapes. In fact, only 4 of our 7 vines have any fruit to speak of. The better person to contact would be Mum http://mumssimplylivingblogat.blogspot.co.za/ Her grapes vies are amazing!!

Dani said...

Quinn - Yeah, I had promised RMan that I would make him his "himbo" juice which he enjoyed as a child. No this year... :(

I have bird nets, but the bloody youngberry plants grow through them, and they have so many t-i-n-y thorns which then rip the netting when it is time to remove them. They also make harvesting the fruit as it ripens very difficult.

Dani said...

PQSA - You're very welcome :)

Bill said...

Ugh. I know that feeling and feel your pain Dani. It is such a frustrating disappointment to get that close, only to have wildlife take it all. May it never happen to you again. Good luck with the rest of your fruit.

Dani said...

Bill - I have no problem with a tithe - but the whole crop!!!? I have discussed an alternative plan for next year with RMan, which will involve relocating the new youngberry bush runners to a "protected" spot - leaving the existing bushes for the birds... ;)

That way no one will go without :D