"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, 23 January 2016

Deterring thieving mouse birds

(This is a report back from my earlier post regarding the deterring of mouse birds in our fruit trees)

There is always some pest which fancies the produce in your garden, isn't there?

Last year we were over run (literally) with mice.

This year it's the mouse bird.

They decimated the fruit on my apricot trees.  Bang goes my planned apricot jam.

But, to me, it was a declaration of war.

So, I retaliated.
The CD lost it's reflective surface within 2 weeks -
thanks to the sun's intensity and the wind.  If you
click on the pic you'll see a transparent disc hanging
on the tree - just in front of the small snippet of
Firstly, we tried hanging old CD's in the branches.

It probably could've worked, but between the sun, and the wind, in no time at all they were transparent discs hanging in the branches.

Then RMan tediously made layered strips of aluminium foil, which was hung from the branches with sewing thread.

The foil certainly flashed and bounced - and chased the birds away.  But, again the wind shredded them down to 1 inch pieces of paper in a week or two.

Far too much effort to replace.

But, the foil gave me an idea.

In winter, when it's cold outside, and all we want to do is curl up in front of the Rosie with a good book, but we have to go and do our weekly shopping in Swellendam, we sometimes warm ourselves up with a take-away pie.

Which comes in foil trays.

And yes, I'm a hoarder - I'll try and reuse anything a second or third time rather than throw it in the recycling bag.
The wind aptly blowing as I try to take a pic
of the foil trays protecting the ripening pears.
So I reasoned, foil worked, but strips shredded.  Why not try and use the foil trays?  They are 1000% sturdier than the strips.

So I did.

Yup, they clanged about noisily in the wind, and bruised a bit of the fruit (note to self - make sure the trays are out of the way of the ripening fruit next year). 

So, following up on the first posting regarding the mousebirds from December, I am ecstatic to share with you the fact that this method works brilliantly.

Nary a mousebird to be seen on the trees the entire time the fruit was ripening.  Not a single bird beak hole was to be found in any of the fruit!!  And not a single pip was left dangling sans fruit in the tree... :D

And, the foil trays are recyclable - either I will re-use them in the garden next year, or, when they are shredded by the elements, they will go to the recycling depot in Swellendam.

I will definitely only be using this method of deterring the birds.  It'll be noisy in the garden for a month, or two, or three, but, at least I be able to harvest the fruit when it is ripe :)
This is what I managed to harvest from our 4 year old
 tree this year.
I managed to harvest 1.4 kgs of fruit from our plum tree.  Not really enough to make jam, so I decided to make some 5 spice Chinese plum sauce.
Ingredients clockwise from the bowl of plums:
honey, Chinese 5 spice, sherry (with an extra
sip for me to spur me on) brown sugar, rice vinegar,
 wasabi paste, soy sauce, garlic and finely
chopped red onions in the centre
Quite quick to make, it will be delicious on roast chicken, or RMan's pork chops, or added to stir-fries / marinades.
The sealed jars will go into my
larder, and the rectangular container
will happily reside in the fridge.
That 1.4kgs of fruit has filled my larder with 4 jars, and a (rectangular) container full for the fridge.

A taste of summer in the winter months ahead.


Dawn McHugh said...

will have to remember that one I wonder if it will work with squirrels :-)

Dani said...

Dawn - It would be interesting to know if it works for squirrels - please let me know :)

Sol said...

Squirrels! pah I would love someone to come up with something for them! I would buy ten from who ever finds something to stop them from stealing everything from our gardens!

I had thought of fashioning something like the below with tin cans and with holes it to get a noise from it as the wind blows but seeing as I can rush right up to the squirrels I doubt it would bother them. they would probably think I was providing them with entertainment!


Dani said...

Sol - We don;t have a squirrel problem here, thank goodness. Aren't squirrels part of the rodent family - I can imagine they'd be just as bad as field mice...

Perhaps the foil trays would work - with the bright reflective glint and simultaneous noise?

Harry Flashman said...

Mouse Bird of the veldt unite! Peck the oppressors and feast on the Apricots!

Dani said...

Harry - Lol Reckon they'll have to feast in other gardens / orchards 'cos they're sorted in this one ;)