Of Mice, Birds, Raccoons, Deer, Voles, Rabbits, Turkeys, Wasps and Men
It’s a war zone out in the County these days. Random shrieks and bangs are resounding from our neighbour’s vineyard a mile away, loud enough to make me instinctively duck for cover. Bird control tactics are in full swing as they protect this year’s Harvest from a throng of threats.
I toured our vineyard to admire our best crop ever. Oh NO! A half-dozen fat robins flew out of the vines. When I came to that spot, a cluster of precious berries had been picked clean. On further inspection, here and there berries were gone throughout the field. We hadn’t been planning to put out bird control or the electric fence until Labour Day!
Quick change of plans. My daughter and I dug our electronic bird scarers out of the garden shed. To power them we also found a couple of car batteries, and to keep the batteries charged, small solar panels. We toted the hardware to the middle of the two vineyards. A quick repair and hookup. At random intervals the distressed calls of Robins, Crows, and other birds in various states of agony started screeching out across the fields. This is supposed to make the birds nervous enough to look for easier food elsewhere. Certainly it’s annoying enough to ruin their appetites.
Then we raised twenty foot telescopic poles and flew three very realistic hawk and osprey kites. They swooped and swirled in the late summer breezes, vigilant sentinels of the air.
That looks after the birds… I hope.
On the ground we have other threats. Last year a flock of turkeys took out much of our back vineyard’s production. I’m hopeful that a better electric fence will zap their intentions this year. It should also discourage any ravenous raccoons. (Not sure about the cute bunny rabbits that are hopping around out there.) I ran out of time so the fence is going up next weekend.
We’ve worked so hard this season thus far. In past vintages, Netting seemed like an extravagant expense, but in terms of piece of mind it might be a good investment for at least part of the vineyard….
We’ve now entered the “faith and hope” part of the season, where we are away from the vineyard during the week at our City jobs and feel like our Country plans are vulnerable to uncontrolled factors. But we try not to worry too much, for such is life. We just have to be happy and confident with what we know and can control, and leave the rest to providence.
[photo to come]