Nets deployed as robins eye ripening cherry crop

Other than eating it, I don’t have much to do with the fruit in our garden.

I’m married to an amateur orchardist, so he does any spraying, fruit thinning and picking.

My roll is restricted to assisting in the anti-critter measures, and those have been in high gear the last couple of weeks.

Now that the pears and apples are safely enclosed in plastic bags, protecting our cherry crop is job one.

I pulled down the driveway Sunday and, as I’m trained to do, glanced over at the cherry trees growing immediately to my left.

I noticed the little green cherries starting to fade to yellow and immediately reported the change to the my spouse.

Although it was too late to get them on the trees that evening, he galloped to our storage locker to get our anti-bird nets.

There’s a need for haste.

Cherries can go from yellow to blushed in a matter of hours.

And believe me when I tell you that the first pink cherry brings every robin on the block straight to our yard. It is a fact — robins adore cherries.

Early Monday morning Operation Netting commenced.

Two step ladders were deployed next to the largest tree, twist ties close at hand.

Three huge bags of nets were opened and sorted.

Our homemade net wranglers stood ready.

The largest net, which is the size of the average living room, goes over the top of the taller of the two cherry trees.

It must be carefully unfolded and toted to the base of the tree without ensnaring it in anything.

This is a task since berry nets snag in everything — the cracks in the old driveway, passing shrubs, the treads on our shoes, buttons on our clothes, everything.

Once the net was staged on the driveway next to the tree, my husband finagled one end of it on a pair of eight-foot-long net wranglers — sticks with wide top caps that lift the net into the air.

I gathered up the other end of the huge net as he scrambled up the 6-foot ladder, coaxing the net up as high as possible over the 15-foot-tall and wide tree.

On the ground, I hopped over the nearby gooseberry and currant bushes, trying to stop the huge nets from tangling in them, my shoes or any lower branches on the cherry itself.

Of course the net caught on my shirt buttons, all two of them, and the treads on my garden shoes, but refused to cling to the wrangling poles.

Much verbal abuse filled the air, but after many threats, the net finally crowned the tree.

This job would be monumentally easier if his assistant was taller than the average hobbit, but the worst was over.

The same procedure was used to net the top of the second tree.

Then small side nets were attached.

It took an hour to barricade the two trees.

The bases of the nets were anchored to the ground with bricks.

It’s done — until we have to get the danged things off again so we can pick the cherries.

This entire operation was observed by a crowd of unhappy robins pacing the grass north of the cherries.

Others in the trees chorused their disapproval.

I don’t have much sympathy for them.

They’d leave us nothing if they got the chance.

We’ll leave cherries for them on the trees when we harvest the fruit.

There’s enough for all to have a taste after they’re red and ripe.

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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
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