In Australia it’s mid Summer and the fruit is beginning to ripen.  We are not the only ones to notice.  Swamp Wallabies and parrots also have their eye on the crop, and are much faster than we are at taking advantage of ready to eat fruit!  Last year we had bountiful crops that seemed to disappear overnight.   This year, the fruit is much scarcer but (and I hesitate to say this – tempting fate really) it seems to be staying on the trees and bushes for longer.  We even managed to pick half a container full of ripe apricots!  Yum!

It hasn’t been a success story all round though.  A tree full of tiny olives is now bare – not a solitary one survived.  We are not sure if they just dropped off or if the birds ate them. The tree branches and leaves look untouched and healthy, so we don’t think it was the Swamp Wallaby.

A tree full of beautiful apple blossom only resulted in three apples growing, and yesterday we found all three on the ground – it looks like they were knocked off by a Wallaby looking for leaves to eat.

First the apricots, which we picked today:

Ripe Apricots
About an hour after I took this photo, we picked our first crop of apricots.
Ripe Apricots Half Eaten
And this is the reason why we picked them. The birds are finding them tasty as well.
Wildlife and Apricots
This particular one was both half-eaten by birds and had moth or butterfly eggs on it as well.
Perfect Apricots
We did pick most of the crop in time. This one is perfect inside – no marks and no insects inside.

Some other fruit ripening now includes strawberries and blueberries:

Strawberries
We are growing our strawberries in the greenhouse, so this means they are protected from possums and parrots.
Blueberries
We’ve never tried to grow blueberries before, so we didn’t know what to expect. There are only a handful of berries growing on a very small cane, but the are still there. We picked three, and had one and half each. They were very full flavoured, so we may plant some more.
Peaches
So far so good with the peaches. They still have a lot of growing to do, so we’ll need to keep our eye on these as they ripen.
Pears
Like the apples, we only have three pears growing this year. They are small in size and won’t be ready to eat for quite some time, which is perhaps why they are still there.

Some more fruit that the wildlife took:

Olives
In Spring,the Olive tree was covered in small fruit. Now there is nothing left. Not one.
Apples
We didn’t have very many apples, but the Swamp Wallaby has knocked the immature fruit onto the ground in an attempt to eat the leaves. The apples are untouched but too small to eat.
Cherry
Our poor cherry tree was almost destroyed by the Swamp Wallaby last year. Cherry leaves must be tasty. So the tree was half its size to begin with. The few cherries that grew this year were taken by the parrots before they were fully ripe.

One of our projects for 2014 will be to fence in the orchard and put netting over the top to try to salvage the fruit.  We also intend to make this into a chicken run so we can have fresh eggs as well.  Hopefully the chickens will both act as pest control and fertiliser for the trees.