Sunday, July 25, 2010

Blueberry nets

We have had large, small mesh, old fishing nets, (probably herring or anchovy), for many years. They are still serviceable, though need repairs from time to time. They are much better than the more rigid garden plastic nets that are sold now to defend against the avian horde, so if you can scrounge some,wandering through old fish camp areas, it is worth your while. My grand daughter, my son in law ,and I put up the nets on our blueberry patch last week. It's a big patch, 20 by 55 and takes a lot of net. The robins are relentless in their attempts to breach our defenses. Tying several nets together and propping the ceiling net with struts is a major undertaking for the day. If you don't net your blueberries here in the Salish Sea, you will not have any blueberries. They ripen of course, in sequence over a three month period in the clusters rather than all at once. That is why the commercial berries are expensive since they require to be selectively hand picked. Labor intensive! The pianist prefers that I don't pick the berries since I am not as clean a picker as she is and often leave the spent bloom on the bloom end or the stem on the other. The smart birds selectively pick, or peck, the ripe ones on a daily basis and a flock can keep up with the ripe berries if not netted. The first year that I had a big crop in the 80's I didn't net and wondered why my berries never ripened 'til the season was half over. We remove the nets in the early fall since the foliage color is spectacular. The blueberries are user friendly as they do not need spraying and grow from both old and new wood so pruning is simply tidying. We're looking forward to three month's bounty! The pianist is famous amongst our family and friends for blueberry pancakes and blueberry muffins. The piece d' resistance however, is blueberry pie, built with 50% cooked and 50% raw berries, poured into a baked pie crust,topped with whipped cream.

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