Friday, July 1, 2011

Deer deer

The deer have been eating my runner beans.

Look at this poor thing. All stalk and no leaves. The deer have been coming into the hollow more regularly now that the forestry on our flanks has grown up. Plenty of cover for them and a nice little snack in my kitchen garden. To be fair they haven't done much damage to the vegetables in previous years - they stuck to the young apple trees for that. Slugs have always been the problem, but the slimes didn't even touch the beans in spite of the weather being so damp and mollusc friendly. The horticultural grit I put around the beans on planting out seems to have kept the slugs off, keeping them (the beans) sweet for the wretched deer.

A friend was here for lunch the other day, an agent for a traditional musician who gets sent endless demo CDs and now has a spare-room-full. She didn't feel she could throw them out, but when I told her about the deer in the hollow she offered me some. She'd heard that deer are afraid of the shiny discs spinning in the breeze and keep away. And that wouldn't exactly be throwing the demos away, would it.

I haven't collected any from her yet, and maybe I won't need to. I had a trawl through the filing cabinet and came up with a dozen discs from previous computers and their applications. Here's the result:

So far it seems to be working. I have other deer prevention measures too. Not content with eating my garden, they also traipse through it when nicely raked into seed beds. I thinned out a black bamboo from the haggard and was wondering what to do with the canes. Here's a double solution:

No delicate but deep footprints since the barriers went up. The deer clearly look for a pathway through, and of course the poor dears (wince) don't know there are carrot and parsnip seedlings coming up so I can hardly blame them.

Currant time of year. A bit of a panic on really as we're off to the boat today and I've only picked a couple of containers worth for the freezer. But seeing as I still had some left from last summer's huge crop that's perhaps not a bad thing. The red currants are so beautiful:

Every time I go down a couple of blackbirds fly out of the currant bushes clucking and scolding at me interrupting their feast. How dare I! I don't mind leaving half the crop to them. They need it more than I do. I am sorry, though, that the raspberries are just starting. I adore raspberries and they freeze so well. They always get used. I resent the birds eating these, but they'll have most of them this year. Fortunately I put in some autumn raspberries this year (thank you Anne) so at least we may have a late crop.

The 'mushrooms' we bought from Birr Castle plant sale are in place. Here's one of them:

I think this is the one for big bottoms. The small-bottom one is overlooking the lower hollow.

We were sitting in the conservatory the other day having a cup of tea at tea time when a pine marten strolled through the courtyard and right past us, big rat in its mouth. We've seen a lot of pine martens this year - by a lot I mean three or four. They're very shy and don't show themselves. This one was a beauty.

Damn. It's raining. I still have to plant out more lettuce plants before we go away.

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