Peach Problems

I’m always sad to see summer go. I like the long light and to wake with sun streaming through my window. My mornings are dark again.

Yet by the time late August rolls around, I’ve lost interest in much of what excited me at the start of the season. At the top of the list is gardening. My garden is currently a mess. It hardly seems worth it to yank the weeds from between the herbs and zinnias – the only thing surviving in the raised bed vegetable patch too much in the shade to produce much. I’ve neglected the petunias – now sad, pink blooms on the end of shriveled stems. The grass needs cutting but I can’t be bothered.

I think it started with the peaches.

Did I tell you about my peaches? My enthusiasm for gardening used to last longer into autumn when I was actually still harvesting vegetables. That was before I was bullied out of business by the local groundhogs. I finally relinquished my sunniest patch to them but planted two peach trees and this year, two pear trees determined to grow at least some of our food. And peaches off the tree? Wow, right?

Last year the tree had about 20 peaches or so that all disappeared virtually overnight. I couldn’t figure out where they’d all disappeared to until I watched 4 ground hogs playing like puppies in my little orchard. I watched the gnaw on the trunks and then one just scurried up one of the pear trees. They can climb trees. It was a cinch. These were my peach eaters, I felt sure.

This year the blossoms were spectacular and resulted in what must have been hundreds of beautiful little peaches. I wrapped the trunks in slippery bark protectors and Molly and I did our best to surround the branches with netting. I’d returned a product called ‘sticky feet’ when I read how toxic it was and thought how horrified I’d be to find my beloved song birds stuck to branches. Nope.

We managed to enjoy four of our peaches. FOUR. 4. Quattro. They were delicious. Many peaches fell off while quite small and I thinned them a bit, as I read I should, generously tossing the fruit on the ground for the varmints to enjoy. So where did all the peaches go again? And so fast? Why were no groundhogs snared in our nets?

On afternoon, Molly and I were sitting on our porch – our favorite summer spot – and she pointed to a squirrel sitting on a branch eating one of our peaches. The squirrels! The squirrels ate all our peaches!

As for the pear trees – we just planted them this Spring so I expected none. But there is one lone beauty – so far untouched. I wait carefully – playing a game of chicken with my little thieves – hoping to pick it when it’s just right and before they do.

And meanwhile, I’m a great customer at the farmers’ market. Any advice on my peaches? (besides get a gun!)


7 thoughts on “Peach Problems”

  1. I paid the tree people last year to prune and feed and generally cosset my apple tree – apparently just so my squirrels would have better apples this year #notsureitsworthit!

  2. Loved reading this. Bruce fights the rabbits and chickens with his garden. He has put up fences and that has helped. We even have fences around our roses! Not sure how well they will do because they are under the drip line…I’m trying to get our borders around the house planted this year…Well, good to hear your voice…

  3. Right now groundhogs and squirrels everywhere are googling how to keep humans out of their pear trees. I’ve never gardened in my life though wonder how orchards keep them out? Is it just they have so much fruit there’s plenty for everyone and thing? I bet those 4 peaches were delicious.

  4. I love that image and I wondered the same thing. Actually walked by two trees in the neighborhood that were heavy with fruit – rotting in fact! I wanted to knock on their door and say — how??

  5. What a great tale of thievery and affectionate annoyance! Love this…and your pictures! I so love our forest friends, but wish they would be content with the many gifts freely given….why are they so piggy?! Dave and I were just reflecting on the same lessening of gardening enthusiasm over here. Have to say, some of the flowers seem to do better without my interference! Left to their own devices – maybe with some weeds to satisfy the creatures who’d eat them if I were being diligent – they thrive in an unruly, tumbling way. And all the goldenrod! I have to restrain myself from pulling them all out when they look too weedy – but oh! They are glorious now! Also – “Sticky feet”? What a nightmare that would be! Agh – I could get worried and upset about so many things! Glad you skipped that one! Thanks for this lovely, humorous, fun reflection! XO

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