Posted by: kathandroger | December 11, 2016

Badger barrier broken!

It is never a good idea to think one can outwit a dumb animal. The cat is cleverer than me, and even the old dog knows things that I don’t. The chickens had managed to conceal their new laying place for days, before I found a hoard in the wood store, and Moins Dix, the goat, has found a way into the neighbour’s garden. So I guess it was a bit silly to think that my little patch of urine was going to deter Brock the badger from getting into the orchard from his home in the wood. True, it did seem to deter him for a few days, but then I found a new burrow under the gate just adjacent to the wee trap. Advice from locals was not much use, involving as it did the termination of Brocks life. Badgers are lovely secretive animals, and underneath it all I really do admire him and am proud to have him around-but not in our orchard digging big holes and eating chickens! What to do? Given that the first round of smelly urine worked for a while, a doubling of the dose seemed in order. Unknown to the wife, who would not have approved, the call of nature whilst toiling away in my workshop has been answered by a good volume of the deterrent gathered in various vessels. Another reservoir has been added alongside the first and the volume in both increased.img_3615-2Time alone will tell if this works, but there have been no new diggings for several days now. I must keep the deterrent topped up!

This lovely clear, cold, dry weather has been ideal for working outside; once it is warm enough to do so that is. The rebuilding of the fishpond is going well, but taking several times as long as I intended, and the morning frosts have been a worry with the mortar not setting properly. I have nightmares about filling the thing up, it bursting, and seeing fleeing goldfish all over the courtyard. Better wait a bit longer for the cement to cure. But one of the jobs we have to do, but don’t much enjoy, is trimming the fruit trees in the orchard. Kath and I grasped the nettle and the trees yesterday, and managed to get most of them done in one afternoon. I don’t know that much about trimming the trees, but it seems to me that the main purpose is to enable the fruit to be gathered. We try to keep the centre of the top quite low, and leave some of the longer outer branches which we can pull down to gather the cherries, plums, apricots and so on. img_3614-2The main problem is getting rid of all the cuttings; burning is the easiest, but the new shredder works well although it does take ages to poke all the branches through. The shreddings work well as a mulch in the flower bed, and the chickens love to find what is underneath!


  1. If Kath asks, tell her you’ve taken up natural dyeing. Aged urine is an excellent addition to certain dyestuffs.

    I’ve come to much the same conclusion as you about pruning fruit trees. I’m interested that many people here don’t bother, which really surprises me considering how controlling they like to be in other parts of the garden. And considering what a cult activity pruning fruit trees is in the Anglo world.

    • I agree about the locals not pruning, but was very pleased to receive a complementary report from one neighbour on our own efforts!

  2. Pauline’s the fruit tree manager… but it seem to me as the pruner on command, that the most important aspect is to keep a managable height, get rid of old and damaged wood and…perhaps the most important… removing the poorer of branches that cross over each other.
    The latter seems to be a balance between position, shape of tree and potential fruit production.
    All the time, of course, bearing in mind that we need to raise the canopy so that I can mow around them…. so, nowadays… she say cut, I cut!!
    Have you covered your chooks against the avian in-flew-Enza?

    • Chicks not covered! We know about the problems in the south, but it is very difficult with our set up as they are free range in the orchard and the house is too crowded to keep them in all the time. We have noticed that nobody else seems to be netting their flock- at least around here. Agree about the pruning!

  3. I meant to say… you can’t stop badgers… they are extremely strong, stubborn brutes…
    and the flu isn’t just in the south… there have been cases in Pas de Calais.
    We’ve covered ours… both for contra-flu action which gave the motivation… and to keep them drier in winter as well…. for their and our benefit.
    And Blanche is Blanche no more… with this moult the hint of brown has turned a bit more magnificent… her back and coverts have a delicate brown edge… and Vinnie gets more magnifique with each moult.
    Thanks for them…
    What about Alice… she’s just Alice… bottom of the peck order… the most approachable and the most reliable producer… but she’s looking much better on this moult, too. She’s the real chicken of the three…

    • Like all our women, Tim, they become more beautiful as they get older!

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