Sunday, 22 April 2007

The Birds

The figs on our tree are appearing early again this year. Last year when this happened we looked forward to our first fig harvest, hunting out recipes for fig tart before the summer had even begun. Then, suddenly the figs disappeared and it took us a while to work out why. The bluetits had come to play in our garden and particularly liked the fig tree and we particularly liked the bluetits so we didn't mind them staying - what we didn't realise was that the bluetits particularly liked the figs too! Bizarrely both the bluetits and the figs left our garden - thanks to the SEAGULLS!
One hot day after school we decided to have a picnic in the garden and no sooner had we started to eat when a seagull divebombed my daughter skimming the top of her head! Just as we sat up to run indoors it did the same to me. It seemed that the seagulls had nested on our roof and we had chosen the day that the eggs had hatched to picnic! My husband,(assuming some kind of Dr Dolittle stance), tried to calmly talk them into submission but to no avail and we realised our garden was no longer ours.
The local council advised me to wear a helmet in the garden, waving a stick above my head to ward off any attacks. And so for 2 months I hung out the washing wearing my daughter's Barbie helmet (I'm not joking) carrying a rather pretty orange floral umbrella in the air! By this time one of our cats had left home (not to return until the end of the summer when the seagulls had moved on) and my daughter refused to go outside to play!

We had promised her an outdoor Birthday party in July as this was our first Summer here but it really was too risky having 20 screaming kids and 2 ferocious seagulls in the garden at the same time. Fortunately she is Narnia mad so we hastily erected an enormous old Scout tent that a friend had at the far end of the garden, put up a gazebo and various parasols and decked the whole lot in red and yellow bunting - Aslan's camp! The kids were herded from one awning to another and for once the seagulls were too perplexed to bother!
Not wanting to go through another summer like that we've just had a net put over the flat roof on part of our house and the neighbour has had his chimney stack spiked to prevent a new nest being built. The seagulls have returned and are busy doing what the birds and bees do at this time of the year but have yet (hopefully) to find a spot to nest on our roof!

Unwilling to upset anything else we have decided not to cover the fig tree in some kind of giant hair net and deprive the bluetits of their figgy banquet. This way we can enjoy the birds, they can enjoy the garden and fingers crossed for a second harvest!


Ali said...

I didn't think figs ever ripened outdoors in this country. But if you've evicted the seagulls, maybe you'll get a chance to find out!

I love your official council advice!!

She's Sew Pretty said...

I just love your blog! My dad always hung strips of foil in our fig tree to keep away the birds. You might try that. I hung plastic whirly strips in my grape vine last year and that seemed to work to save some grapes for us.

Alison said...

Seagulls can be very quick when it comes to food. On holiday in Cornwall last year two of my children had ice creams snatched from their hands by seagulls whilst eating which nearly scared them to death.
Alison x

Sew Recycled! said...

Thankyou for your advise, I have to suffer unfortunately! What a wonderful tent, great idea for a party.

Marie said...

That mental picture of you out in your garden in your daughter's barbie helmet made me smile!

Like Ali, I didn't think that figs would ripen outside...maybe if you have a warm, sheltered spot and can keep the birds off them, you will get a crop.

Blue tits are so adorable though and I used to love to watch them in our garden at home. I can understand why you would not want to deprive them of a tasty treat.

Marie x

Victoria May Plum said...

That is one of the funniest (and most disturbing) posts I've read all year! Poor you. I know the feeling, Cornwall is not the place to be if you don't like giant, greedy, aggressive birds! We got chased around Padstow last week, because we were eating chips from Steins (very yummy, and almost worth being attacked for).

On a lighter note, how wonderful to have figs growing in your garden, and what a lovely idea for a childrens party your little one must have been thrilled!

Jane said...

My father has always had a fig tree in his garden (about 20 miles south of Edinburgh) I think he "acquired" a cutting of it while going round a stately home. It has always had beautiful leaves and but has never fruited properly - until the last 2 summers - obviously it has decided that, aged 25 or so, that it is old enough to ripen fruit. They got hundreds of fruit.

I have grown Brown Turkey Figs in Scotland - in a sheltered place but still in Scotland! - and the fruit ripened fine. I think that the trick is to chose the right variety for the climate and then to grow them with their roots squashed into a pot or between slates to encourage fruiting.

The seagulls reminded me of Aberdeen where I was at University - wind, salty chips and vicious seagulls.

BeachysCapeCodCupboard said...

How lovely - a fig tree right in your yard! I love the story of your daughter's birthday party! I guess that many little girls proved too much for the seagulls! We live not too far from a herring run, and when the fish are in, the seagulls are out in droves. I've stood there and watched a gull gobble up three herring at a time, and the fish were still wiggling around in the gull's neck! Hope your gulls mind their own business this year!

Twinkle Pink said...

I was in fits of giggles with this post. The council telling you to wear helmets and Barbie coming to the rescue! The film Birds came to mind when you mentioned a party.

We have seagulls circle us all the time,but as of yet they don't land here.

However much to the amusment of the rest of my family, I have a no fly zone for the crows and the magpies. When they see me coming they can't get away fast enough. I want one of those football clackers.

Great post.
best wishes Ginny

Tracy said...

Laughed my socks off at todays post!!!
How about a picture of you in your protective headgear??
Try and keep some of the figs away from the birds - yummy x
Tracy x

Rowan said...

Not very amusing to have to give way to the seagulls for the summer. Must admit I had to laugh at the vision of you hanging out the washing waering a Barbie helmet:) I hope there was a photograph. The Narnia idea was brilliant though - what a fu party that must have been.
As for the figs - well, the blackbirds and I have a similar arrangement with the blackcurrants.

Rowan said...

I do wish there was an edit function on comments, I never see my errors until it's too late!

Lynda said...

Oh my goodness! That must have been horrid! I must confess that I did have a bit of a giggle at the image of you in a Barbie helmet carrying an orange umbrella while hanging out the wash! Let's hope those seagulls build their nest a long ways from your yard so you can enjoy it this year. ♥

BeachysCapeCodCupboard said...

Kim - I just wanted to post here how absolutely LOVELY your corsages are (especially now that I own one)! I also thank you dearly for the extra! My daughter will now benefit from your goodness, too! =)

picperfic said...

I have to say that I chuckles my way throught this post at the vision of you hanging out your washing in a barbie bike helmet! It must have been a bit scary mind you. Hope you have a more peaceful summer this year!

picperfic said...
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