Archive for June, 2010

The local wildlife

June 22, 2010

As we were heading out of errands yesterday, a deer lazily sauntered across the road in front of us, followed by a dappled fawn.

A large flock of geese have been in the area lately, and one lone straggler has been waddling around the neighbors’ lawn—possibly drawn by the food they put out for a Mr. and Mrs. mallard duck who show up looking expectant many evenings.

We have several times seen a brown rabbit hop off into the woods.

The chipmunks and squirrels have been out in force.

Strawberries

June 16, 2010

We’ve been having a long run of cool, wet, gray weather, so when this morning was mostly clear and warm we took advantage of it to go strawberry picking at a local farm. They have a farmstand that we have driven by before but never yet visited. We went in today and found it stocked with the expected early vegetables, but also baked goods, pottery, and plenty of plants and gardening gear. Heading further back towards the strawberry fields, we found goats and sheep and, delightfully, rabbits.

Two rabbits

Two rabbits enjoying a carrot together

Somewhat more surprisingly: a pair of peacocks!

Two peacocks

Handsome fellows, and well they know it!

It was a pleasant walk out to the fields. There was a family with a couple of small children also picking, but we kept our distance and had a pleasant little while picking berries.

Erik picking strawberries

Erik picking strawberries

We found many berries going by and starting to rot. I am still sometimes surprised by discovering that the growing season here is a bit off from what I am used to in Maine. Still, we made a good haul of berries pretty quickly.

A large box of strawberries

Our haul

We enjoyed a dish of berries each ofter lunch and have been preparing the rest to be put away.

Blueberry enclosure

June 11, 2010

We seem to have some bold deer in the neighborhood. Last year we had some come almost up to the house to nibble on our trees and bushes and we’ve seen herds of as many as eight moving through the woods in the wintertime, so we have to make sure to protect our plants. Last summer we put up some deer netting on poles dug into the ground, but that didn’t stand up too well to the deer, the wind and rain, and the weight of snow in the winter, so now we’re working on something more durable. Here’s our enclosure for the blueberry bushes.

Deer netting blueberry enclosures

That should keep the nibblers out.

Hopefully that will keep deer and other critters out of our berries. The netting on the long sides is not tacked down to the frame on the bottom but is wrapped around a loose beam so that we can lift it up and out of the way when we want to get at the bushes and their berries.

The blueberry bushes did produce flowers this spring and there are berries growing, but not nearly so many as last summer. Then again, a lot of things seem to be under-performing this season. Maybe it was a rough winter, or maybe the spring and summer have come on too cool and wet. So far this June is shaping up to be depressingly like last June, with gray clouds and rain almost every day. At least we can be sure that no critters will get at what berries we do have coming.

Edit: I’m astonished by how many people seem to be getting to this entry from web searches.  I hope you find it useful, or at least interesting, but it probably isn’t what you were looking for.  I just keep this journal for friends and family to know what I’m up to, I never intended to provide any really useful or practical information about protecting blueberry bushes.

I can say, though, that the enclosure we built has stood up well to the elements and effectively kept the deer out of our berries.  If anyone wants any further information about the enclosure, just drop me a line in the comments and I’ll provide whatever information I can.

Catching up

June 1, 2010

I’ve been very busy in the past few weeks, so here’s a brief summary of what I’ve been up to:

Classes ended. I was pretty happy with my classes this spring. My Greece and Rome class was one of the best groups I’ve ever had– always ready to tackle whatever I threw at them with good spirits and thoughtful reasoning. My grad class was wonderful, but I’ve come to expect no less of my grad students. One of my World History classes was terrific; the other one was tough because of serious attendance problems, but the people who did show up were good to work with.

Kris’s graduation. We went down to Virginia to attend Kris’s doctoral graduation. It was great to get to visit with her and Daniel (and their respective cats, who make my nose itch but are no less wonderful for it). We enjoyed a visit to the Book Fair and a brewery tour at Starr Hill Brewery. It kept threatening to rain on the day of the ceremonies, but mostly held off and we got to enjoy both the general graduation exercises and the specific ceremony for English on the grand lawn surrounded by Mr. Jefferson’s architectural sampler.

Almost-heat wave. We had a couple of days of mid-90s F heat here in Georgetown (around 35 C). We sweltered through it before it cooled down to a more reasonable temperature. I had my first swim of the year in Rock Pond.

Quick trip to Maine. We took a quick jaunt up to Maine to visit with Theo and help my folks put the float and sailboat out into the lake.