This year is not looking like a good year for tree fruit for us. I’m fairly relaxed about it, because it is largely out of my control. ( I say largely, because there is the Betty factor…)
This year, with March being so hot I had to break out the factor 50, and then April and half of May being cold, the orchard trees blossomed too early then got caught by the cold. We have hardly any set fruit. The apples in the garden have done a little better, flowering later - perhaps because it is not as sunny?.
And now we have horrible stormy cold winter weather, and any set fruit has probably been blown to Scandinavia.
Then throw in the Betty factor. Well, when we got the Shetland ewes, were were wary of their browsing habits and improved the fencing and the tree guards. And they have not given us any problems, other than eating the hedges back and swiping the odd leaf poking out through the tree guards. But Betty.. has broken down fences and got into the hedges, and she has reached over the tree guards and eaten the leader out of two new trees. And yes, we know it is her.. she was seen. We are not happy.
I’m thinking it might be because of her ‘parrot mouth’ – ie overbite, which means short grass is hard for her to bite, and she prefers longer things that she can get to the back of the mouth. Yes, she is friendly, and looks nice and has nice wool . but oh.. she does get to look a little more mutton like…
And we might have a bit more freezer space.. what with having no apples, plums, pears or damsons this year….