We are always looking for and learning new ways to contend with critters, pestilence, and feathered friends here on the farm. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the Martin house that we installed to help with the Japanese Beetles. I am still confident in their ability to help. However, when growing berries birds can be both a help and hindrance. Obviously, they eat a lot of bugs, but they also enjoy berries. Last year I thought I would use bird netting as a deterrent. It ended up being a big mess. The netting blocked the berries making them difficult to pick. It didn't stop the Japanese Beetles. They were able to get underneath the netting, but then the netting got in the way of trying to knock the beetles into the buckets of water that we use to help control them. Even worse, two birds got caught in the netting and died before I was able to help them escape. When I finally was able to unravel the netting from the canes that had grown through them I vowed never again.
This morning I was picking berries and discovered a perfectly formed bird nest nestled comfortably in one of the rows of blackberries. Inside were two eggs waiting for the mother bird to return. Such a dilemma! I really don't want a bird living in my berry bushes, but at the same time, I don't have the heart to destroy a beautiful bird nest where two baby birds are waiting to hatch. As a mother, I can't imagine leaving my nest to go hunt for food only to return and find that my babies are gone. How horrible!!
Don't worry, the nest is still there. As I walked on picking berries and thinking about the mother bird caring for her soon to be hatchlings, I couldn't help but think about Jesus and His instructions to us found in Matthew 6 verse 26. He says, "Look at the birds of the air, they neither sow nor reap, nor gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?" I have spoken many times about the over abundance of berries that we produce. It's a very nice blessing to have. I decided that with our overabundance, it will be okay if the mother bird and her baby birds eat a few of our berries. I suppose that God is using my food forest to help provide for the animals as well as for us. It's not anything new. God has been doing that since the beginning. He uses all of us to help one another in times of need. Who knows? Perhaps that mother bird and her babies will help cut down on the Japanese Beetle population that is expected to explode in the coming days. I sure hope so! I'll keep you posted.