About a month ago we noticed that some varmint had chewed through the nylon netting we had stretched over the PVC pipe frame we built to cover our ever-bearing strawberries.

Simultaneously we noticed that we were no longer able to harvest any ripe berries. We would see blossoms. We would see white immature berries. But at some point mid-June we stopped seeing ripe berries.

We thought about giving up. We thought about arming ourselves. We thought about constructing concrete barriers six feet deep and six feet high. We did none of those things.

Instead we bought a roll of galvanized steel netting and a spool of wire and did some sewing using the PVC pipe frame for support. Not the sort of needlework to which I am accustomed, I assure you.

I have knit fine lace shawls. I have crocheted tablecloths. I have tatted lace edgings and embroidered linen handkerchiefs. I have even done cross-stitch using my own hair. Granted, during that last odd interlude I was pregnant and a little more than mildly depressed. But I digress. Fine needlework. That’s what I do.

This was not fine needlework. It was hand-bruising, arm-slashing, leg-tearing work. That’s right. It was hot. Brutally so and we sewed jagged-edged galvanized steel netting with wire whilst wearing shorts and t-shirts. Reckless and stupid. No doubt.

However the physical toil we invested in the new fortifications is paying off. Our second July harvest of strawberries was yesterday afternoon. There may even be toothless squirrels and chipmunks gamboling about the neighborhood, pilfering someone else’s ever-bearing strawberries. I am not feeling any remorse about that.

Also, the cut on my leg has almost completely healed over.

To my chagrin, I cannot find a decent digital photograph of Hairpeace, the framed cross-stitch piece above. The design area is approximately 3 x 7½”. I created it in 1996: dyed the linen with tea, stitched the letters with my hair, and used cotton embroidery floss and nylon/acetate blending filament like a sane person for the remainder. Over one thread on 32-count linen, but that’s not too crazy. Is it?


About pattiblaine

Raised under the name of Snyder in the upstate NY town of Vestal, I've worked as a typesetter, a fast food salad bar tender, an art reviewer, a waitress, a part-time nanny, and a very-bad-with-phones temp. Once upon a time I was all-but-thesis toward a Masters in Art History. Now I'm just a mom with a lot of fiber squirreled away throughout the house. We call it insulation. In 2013 I completed a life-long learning program at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, and am a postulant toward the diaconate in the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester, NY. In addition to coordinating volunteers for the soup kitchen, I volunteer as a tutor at a deeply impoverished city elementary school, and am a docent at the Memorial Art Gallery.
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6 Responses to Strawberries

  1. DawnK says:

    The needlework is beautiful! I can’t imagine sewing it, though. At my age now, I’d need a magnifying glass. I’m glad you figured out a way to protect the strawberries. We tried to grow a strawberry plant one year and didn’t get many of the berries.

  2. Cat says:

    Brilliant solution, albeit scar inducing! Your latest harvest looks mighty tasty.
    Wasn’t “Peace” one part of a 3 part series you designed? Such a lovely piece.

    • pattiblaine says:

      I did design a series of four (peace, hope, love, joy — always meant to add faith but didn’t quite finish that one — rather like life now that I write that…). The peace in the series, however, has an entirely different floral/vine thing going on, and I changed the letters somewhat. And I didn’t use my hair! 🙂

  3. Karen says:

    Varmints! Glad to hear you solved your problem…it must I been very had work. I just lost every bit of lettuce to a ground hog.

  4. Brangane says:

    We lost our cherry crop to pigeons which is strange as last year we had loads and the birds weren’t interested.

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