Wasps and squirrels

I don’t think the summer holidays are going to be very good for this blog! Our feet have barely touched the ground during this first week, friends, family and play dates squeezed in between trips to Lego Land, Somerset and Windsor. Fabulous fun, but the kitchen garden is in need of some attention. I have promised myself a few hours to weed the dahlia bed, and to take a few pictures for my end of July kitchen garden round up.

Although we’ve been busy, I have made a few discoveries. I noticed something inside one of my children’s scary bird boxes that they built and painted earlier in the year. My initial excitement that a brave family of birds had plucked up the courage to raise their young in my children’s creation was soon quashed, on closer inspection I saw the distinctive paper like wall of a wasp nest and then regular trips in and out by its occupants.

wasps nesting in our bird boxIf you look carefully you can see a wasp and its nest through the bird box hole

Last year we had lots of white tailed bumble bees which we co-existed with happily, we barely noticed wasps. This year there are few bees and wasps have taken over, resulting in uncomfortable wasp stings, an angry nest being removed from above our back door and another nest discovered in the front eves of our house. I am not looking forward to the plum and apple harvest, I can envisage it becoming a perilous race to gather the ripe fruit before the wasps devour it.

The husband strided into the kitchen last week and handed me a green immature cobnut from one of our trees, he popped it on the window sill telling me it would be a reminder to crop the ripe cobnuts before the squirrels get to them. This seemed a good plan, until I discovered squirrels have a taste for green unripe and soft nuts. The debris from their feast lies under all five of our cobnut trees; it’s looking as though the dream of eating our own cobnuts on Christmas day is sadly farfetched. The nuts are an added bonus, the main purpose for the trees is to coppice their lovely long branches, which we use to build structures and supports in the kitchen garden.

Nibbled cobnutsStolen cobnut husks discarded by the squirrels

cobnuts discarded under treesCobnut husks littered under our cobnut trees

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