The squirrels now have a very cunning strategy

THE interior of the big shed opposite the house resembles a tightly packed box of bricks. It is full almost up to the eaves with mini Heston bales.

They measure approximately 8ft long and are 2ft wide and deep and tower over you when picking a narrow passage to negotiate to reach the back paddock and hen house.

The dogs, whose kennels were previously at the front of the shed and could observe all the goings on in the yard, are now stuck right at the back and rather overwhelmed by the towers of straw.

“You’ll be lovely and warm in the winter” I tell them.

But I don’t think they appreciate that their view of all the comings and goings is now very restricted at night. Fortunately they spend all day in the yard, house porch or back of the Land Rover, so they are not really put out. And just think of those cosy nights to come.

Several loads of wheat have already been sold but the other big grain shed is full. It was a good harvest. John has ordered a new grain trailer and I wasn’t even consulted.

He seems to have gone a little light-headed this year what with draining fields as well. But we still have the same 19 year old Land Rover.

I can remember writing an article about how modern it seemed with its radio and tape player. Both no longer working. If finances ever do permit the unwanted extravagance of a new vehicle for John, we may keep the current Land Rover for limited use, a taxation class where it is used solely for agricultural purposes and is only used on public roads to go between areas of land owed by the same person and within a defined distance.

That would suit us just fine. Till then, the Land Rover we have has to keep going.

At the end of June I raided, with accomplices, our walnut tree for immature walnuts to pickle. This was seen as a heinous crime but, as I pointed out to John, the squirrels would be bound to take their share in the autumn.

I was merely pre-empting the theft, and I would at least have the benefit of eating some. They are now pickled to perfection.

Delicious. But the squirrels are gathering. Cue dramatic music.

What they have discovered is a very cunning approach strategy.

Some aged squirrel must have advised against the usual mad dash from the big willow tree across open ground and recommended a concealed dash through the hedge, up behind the duck hut, on to the duck hut roof, finishing with a leap straight into the walnut tree branches.

It is virtually foolproof and John is still trying to work out a safe angle of shot to stop the thieves in their tracks/ leap/scuttle.

Currently the squirrels are winning and the walnut harvest is diminishing. What a good job I tell John that I took some for pickling earlier.

No consolation for his losses I am afraid ..