You can't be too careful!
It’s hardly believable, but have you noticed that it’s getting dark by 9 o’clock at night? It seems only a few days ago that I was settling to the late news and the sky was still light. It is true though, we are well past the longest day, and I haven’t even got the barbeque out yet.
One advantage of the warm darker nights is that we have more time to see the bats. They come out of lofts, and I see them most nights flying around our trees catching insects, like moths, on the wing. Round and round they go using their sound emitting sonar signals. They seem to be the most remarkable creatures but one thing I have only just learnt is that they migrate. A bat, about the size of your toe, has just been found in Russia (killed by a cat), it was initially seen and tagged near London, an unbelievable journey for such a small creature. My last journey was only to Yorkshire and that was far enough for me.
When we got back our garden was full of produce. There are plums, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries. The problem is what to do with them all. Every morning I go out before breakfast and pick a little bowl of blueberries to eat with the cereals. Then I make a pie and freeze some for the winter. But still the fruit keeps coming I need to pick quickly. Soon there will be no alternative but to make jam.
One reason why I need to hurry is the problem of wasps. They love soft fruit, particularly our blackberries. If the sun comes out it is too dangerous for me to go along the row and pick, in case of getting stung. We have put up special traps and even tried an imitation blow up wasps’ nest, which is supposed to scare them, but to no avail.
Then an old birds’ nest box fell to the ground and one side came off revealing that the wasps were nesting in there. The grey paper cells so carefully made were ruined and the wasps left. But their numbers did not diminish, they must have another nest nearby. Sometimes they live underground in our sandy soil.
We were spared more ravages of the wasps, in the end, by heavy rain. They do not like rain. At last, our fruit was left alone, and I went to pick, safe in the knowledge that I would not be stung. I got wet though, but I did not mind. It would seem dreadful to waste months of effort just for another creature to attack, like that little bat.
(Taken from my column in the Shropshire Star)
Trying to stop the wasps eating our fruit with a wasp trap loaded with sugar