Our pest friends
Here we are at last, the moment of truth: harvest time. This year is one of the best. It seems however, that we are not the only ones enjoying the taste of our grapes. We’ve been inundated with all kinds of visitors, from pheasant, partridge, crows and rooks, to badgers, wasps and squirrels. All have come from far and wide, seeking a sneaky mouthful of sweet, juicy grapes. Badgers go for the full monty, gobbling a whole bunch at a time. The effect on their digestion is not pleasant, though the dogs do love to roll in it. Birds and wasps are more subtle, nibbling away at the grapes (see photo 1). A very bold squirrel has been spotted scampering up a tree with a huge haul. It all results in damage to the crop which allows rot to set in (see photo 2). There’s not much to be done about it, although bird scarers help a bit. At least this year there does seem to be plenty to go around. But by gum, we had better get it all picked sooner rather than later.