Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Strawberries and pheasants

Get a load of this! My first proper strawberry harvest last week - and it's a whopper!

I had been expecting a bit of a poor showing this year - not because the plants weren't producing, but because I failed to net the crop early enough and when I got back from holiday there was a hen pheasant nesting in the middle of the strawberry patch. Being a hopeless softy, I couldn't possibly have shooed her off, so she sat there for weeks, taking a peck out of whatever strawberry was more-or-less ripe and within reach. I also assumed that her little babies would gobble up whatever she left over for them.

As it turned out, though, she left last week, leaving only a single cracked eggshell behind her: I'm not sure if her babies were caught by something horrible, like the rats, or if she managed to hatch a few. Certainly there's been no sign of her or babies since.

The good news, though, is that now she's gone I've got the strawbs all to myself - and as you can see they're cropping fit to bust! All the above are Cambridge Favourite, which are now in their second season and definitely in their prime: it's so noticeable how much better they're doing than last year. They must have produced a pound or so every couple of days for a fortnight now.

The Honeoye in the next-door bed have hardly produced anything - but then, they're in their first year. Having seen the difference a year makes in the Cambridge Favourites, I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt - but will expect big things next year.

Now, where's that strawberry jam recipe....!

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