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:
Some other fruit ripening now includes strawberries and blueberries:
Some more fruit that the wildlife took:
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.