My husband made a beautiful orchard. We couldn’t have it near the house, where the Red-necked Wallabies and Wallaroos come to graze at dusk each day. The giant vegetable garden with loads of grapevines, berries, and fruit trees is a block with high fences half a kilometre down the mountain.
When we first planted the cherry trees they were only as long as a ruler. Over a decade they’ve grown to 4.5 metres high. And as soon as the cherries arrive just before Christmas, so do the birds. The biggest gluttons of all are the King Parrots.
Worst of all, the Kings didn’t even wait until the cherries were ripe to ruin them, staking out the trees from dawn.
The loss of two seasons worth of delicious cherries over two years was a bit annoying. Especially when the King Parrots had satiated their hunger and were just playing ‘PECK’- a game where they like to stab beaks into every single one of thousands of cherries on two huge trees, or pluck them to fall on the ground and rot.
My daughter and my husband drove the big old scissor lift 3 km along the road, half a km up the mountain we live on, then halfway down the other side to the spot where the orchard is sheltered from fierce winds by a thick forest of Cypress Pine Trees. It is a precarious old machine to drive from 3 metres up on top at a snail’s pace, but they got it done. Nobody could pay me enough money to climb the top to go up there, let alone drive that burnt orange beast.