This evening I have been watching the rooks coming in to roost across the still evening sky. Today we dug up half the potatoes in the vegetable patch only to find that something had gnawed and chewed its way through most of our crop. We got a decent bucketful to keep but most of what we dug up went in the compost. From the kitchen window Big Dreamer even saw the prime suspect swanning across the patio; a large brown field mouse. We think he has a nest in the compost bin so he can now finish what he started at his own leisure.

He is not the only one who competes with us for our plantings. I have mentioned the slugs before. Ours are even immune to slug pellets. The moles uprooted all the runner beans and another section of the potato patch. We got one of those sonic mole repellent devices. It worked well for a while but then mysteriously stopped buzzing. Big Dreamer believes the moles vandalised it, much like someone might a speed camera. We are now trying the ‘glass-bottles-submerged-in-the-grass’ trick. The main effect of this seems to be Little Owl falling over them. Our next door neighbour commented that I had quite liked rabbits when I first arrived but not now! Everything we care about is surrounded by chicken wire dug into the ground against the rabbits. It makes for such an attractive garden. I have been training Little Owl who now bangs on the kitchen window when she sees them and shouts, “No babbit no!” I do have an excellent ally in this particular battle in the form of my friend the stoat. He is sleek, agile, and very effective. I have drawn him here for you. And then there are the rooks; so lovely to watch in the still evening sky. And then they come down and nip the tops off my beetroot! And apparently just for the fun of it because they leave the tops to shrivel on the soil! Oooo, it’s enough to drive me mad.

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