Latest posts by hypercharleyfarley

badgers in gardens

Posted: 08/08/2015 at 08:49

There are several badger setts within a couple of miles of my house and soon after I came here (years ago now) the badgers made a lovely job of digging up my lawn!  The garden boundaries consisted simply of post & rail fencing and hawthorn hedging so I arranged for a local fencing contractor to fix some stock netting around all the boundaries.  It was simple to attach it to the post & rail, and in order to "fence" the hawthorn hedge, short posts (approx. 4ft left above ground) were put in at the foot of the hedge and the netting fixed to those posts.  Over the years the hawthorn has grown through and the posts & netting are no longer visible.

Stock netting -  the sort which is used to keep livestock enclosed  ( i.e not chicken wire)  -  is totally badger-proof.  It's far too strong for them to get through, and perhaps the wire fence Ferline referred to is not the same sort. 

Stock netting looks like squares & rectangles, not hexagons e.g. "chicken wire" - it  is attached so that the rectangles are at the bottom of the fence line and the squares at the top.  This is because the area of each rectangle is smaller than that of the squares and so prevents young lambs and suchlike from getting their heads through the gaps at the bottom.

Hedging and Horses

Posted: 28/07/2015 at 16:33

It sounds as though you've got the sort of fence which would keep most livestock out, so I'd suggest that to solve the problem of the sheep standing up and nibbling things you could fix some electric fence on top of the posts.  There's even a variety called The Electric Shepherd - I've seen it used round here at low level to secure  (on a temporary basis) an area of land of about 20 acres.  You could  fix it on top of the posts because the wire can be threaded though ring-shape attachments which are insulated.  Do have a look at various websites and even go to a local agricultural supplies place and they'd be able to advise you as to the details.

Hedging and Horses

Posted: 28/07/2015 at 10:39

As I explained in an earlier post, it may be possible to establish who actually "owns" the boundary, via any paperwork relating to the property in question.  In any case, I should think that boundary fencing would be expected to be "fit for purpose" in rural areas especially.

A problem can arise when the land is used for a different purpose at some time - i.e. fencing or hedges which will keep cattle safely enclosed will not always be suitable for keeping sheep, so that an extra/alternative method would be needed for this "change of use" and the fencing should therefore be "fit for purpose" in this instance.   This has happened round here recently when sheep have grazed land which was used for cattle, and as a result have escaped on a regular basis.  In this case,  I imagine that the landowner should have come to an appropriate arrangement with whoever owns the livestock on the land - sometimes it is rented out to another party - and I imagine it would be the responsibility of the owner of the livestock to ensure that the boundaries are suitable in this instance.

Obviously it's a bit different when what you want to do is to stop animals from nibbling away at any hedging etc., and I have already made some suggestions in an earlier post as to how this can be achieved.


Posted: 17/07/2015 at 09:05

That's amazing!  The trouble is that when the greys were introduced to the UK about 150 years ago, nobody would have anticipated that they'd cause problems - and I don't just mean getting drunk -  same with rabbits in Australia, but I wonder whether they could get drunk there too!


Posted: 16/07/2015 at 15:32

One of my old cookery books has a recipe for squirrel pie - never tried it though!  I remember that years ago some organisation (?Forestry Commission) would give you - I think - a shilling (5p now) for each grey squirrel tail.  Probably paid for the cartridge, and people would perhaps eat them then too. 


Posted: 16/07/2015 at 13:59

That's amazing, Dove!  I've never seen it happen - the squirrels ignore the bird-bath here en route to other more interesting things!


Posted: 16/07/2015 at 13:38

They probably won't be particularly interested in dried stuff (e.g. bird food) at certain times of the year, particularly if it's a female squirrel which is still feeding her young.  When they are lactating they need a fair amount of moisture intake to produce enough milk, so I think that's supposed to be one of  the reasons they tend to go for young & relatively juicy buds etc.

I don't know if anyone's made a study of how much fluid squirrels actually need to consume, but when you think that they evolved to live in forested areas where often there's no obvious water available I suppose much of the "liquid" must be from immature greenery.  I've never ever seen a picture of a squirrel drinking anything!


p.s. Sorry - Dove - we cross-posted!

The best way to keep to store

Posted: 16/07/2015 at 13:21

Don't bother going down the "salt route"!   As I mentioned before,  the results are not worth eating.  I think salt was used in the past as a means of preserving all sorts of things because it was readily available and there wasn't really an alternative apart from smoked or dried meat & fish etc.  Not sure when people started to make preserves in glass jars or in cans, but I guess it was probably over 100 years ago, and who had their own canning factory anyway!  At some point people must have discovered that things like vinegar and sugar acted as a preservative, but sugar (as we know it) was a real luxury item until relatively recently in terms of our own evolution, so it would be interesting to find out just when and where these means of preserving food began to be used.

I always pick the runner beans etc well before they get to the tough & stringy stage anyway - and helps more of the flowers to "set" apparently, as the fundamental reason for plants to flower and seed is for them to reproduce - so if you don't allow them to get to the fully-developed "seed" stage, it works because they keep on trying!  When you think about it, we don't eat the beans when they have grown enough for the seeds themselves to be viable -  we really only eat their immature seed pods.  Must go & pick some mange-tout peas in a minute!

The best way to keep to store

Posted: 16/07/2015 at 10:54

I prefer to blanch all those vegetables which are supposed to need it - you never know which little bags of frozen stuff somehow get "lost" in the freezer, only to turn up months later!  If they're then not really worth eating, the whole thing has been a bit of a waste of time. 

As far as pans of boiling water are concerned, no real problem I reckon if you boil a kettle-full of water to add to a smaller quantity already heating on the top of the stove.   Far quicker that way.  If you decide to steam rather than put the vegetables in the pan itself, the water just needs topping up from time to time.  I always steam fresh green vegetables anyway, often on top of a pan which has perhaps carrots or potatoes in it.  Makes more space on the cooker top and I guess it saves electricity/gas too as well as the result having a better texture/flavour.

I remember the taste/texture of runner beans preserved in salt - ugh!  In those days the larder shelves were stacked with bottled stone-fruit (plums/damsons) and people even used to preserve whole eggs in isinglass.

The best way to keep to store

Posted: 15/07/2015 at 19:10

Hello again - I had to look up the reason for blanching in the old book I have!  This is what it says   ",,,,Blanch:  to heat vegetables in boiling water, or to steam just long enough to slow or stop enzyme action".

I don't think you need to blanch fruit, but if freezing apples for example, the book recommends slicing them straight into a container part-filled with a cold 40% syrup.  I only freeze cooked apple anyway i.e. not quite to the puree stage, but what I'd call "stewed" a bit. I thaw it and use it in pies, or apple flan with a bit of grated lemon rind and some sugar to taste.  For the flan, I cover the thawed apple with thinly sliced raw eating apples and then cook it.  When it's cooked I brush some melted apricot jam over the top whilst it's still warm from the oven.  It cools to make a lovely-looking glaze.  Delicious too.

Even if you freeze fruit in sugar/sugar syrup, you can discard this before eating the fruit, so increased sugar consumption shouldn't be too much of an issue.  It seems as though the sugar acts as a kind of preservative and the fruit itself doesn't absorb much of it anyway.

Good luck!

p.s. the book I referred to was published in 1968!

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