It Shouldn’t Happen To A Blogger


Was this going to be the year

the wildlife gave me a break?


"It's OK dear, go on and finish your lunch

I'll keep watch."

The Pheasant Defence

System - redeployed

Maybe I can't defeat them

But there can be surveillance..

After a period of 'running in'..

Even the most unlikely of

characters got caught out

Of course I do still have

my ultimate secret weapon..

You forgot didn't you

I didn't..

I even remembered to put fresh batteries in it..

Then there was the day when

someone's foot appeared through the ceiling

The very same someone who

then turned up with this.


We stargazed without the

benefit of a BBC budget

And then in September things

took an ominous turn..

with an eyewatering climb

to the very top of the roof

Just don't look down

So what I'm thinking for next year..

is maybe just a little more R&R?


And you on the right..

Better quit bombing my lunch!



It used to be the strapline of the blog. Maybe it did get lost somewhere along the way, but it’s no less relevant today:

You have to laugh. Or else you’d cry.


2017-10-24T19:32:42+00:00December 30th, 2015|Tags: |


  1. annincumbria December 30, 2015 at 6:10 pm - Reply

    Love that squirrel roundabout

    • Jessica December 31, 2015 at 12:52 pm - Reply

      My only regret is that it doesn’t take more than one squirrel at a time..

  2. Sue Garrett December 30, 2015 at 6:45 pm - Reply

    I guess there is a big downside to the wildlife enjoying your garden.

    • Jessica December 31, 2015 at 12:53 pm - Reply

      You can definitely have too much of a good thing Sue.

  3. Sarah December 30, 2015 at 6:57 pm - Reply

    Wonderful, you did need to be kept on your toes in capturing the offenders! Sarah x

    • Jessica December 31, 2015 at 12:55 pm - Reply

      It’s a constant battle. Only one of me and a lot of them!

  4. elaine December 30, 2015 at 7:25 pm - Reply

    Your blog posts wouldn’t be the same without the wildlife however much grief they give you – for us though they are just so comical. Move the picture of the deer – to them your garden must be paradise.

    • Jessica December 31, 2015 at 12:57 pm - Reply

      I do see the comical side too Elaine (laugh or cry etc.). Especially the squirrels, they’re so intelligent and always trying to keep one step ahead of me. It’s all a big game to them.

  5. Sol December 30, 2015 at 7:29 pm - Reply

    Cant wait to see what you do next year!

    ‘No one said it would be easy, but it will be worth it!’

    Happy New Year Jessica and Family!!!

    • Jessica December 31, 2015 at 1:23 pm - Reply

      Thanks Sol. I hope so!

  6. Backlane Notebook December 30, 2015 at 7:31 pm - Reply

    Glad you can laugh!!

    • Jessica December 31, 2015 at 1:24 pm - Reply

      Only way 🙂

  7. Reclaiming Paradise December 30, 2015 at 7:33 pm - Reply

    Yes you have to love them or you would give up. Hope there aren’t too many unwelcome visitors next year.

    • Jessica December 31, 2015 at 1:35 pm - Reply

      Hi Jackie and welcome.
      Oh I’m sure they’ll be back! If only they would let me tip the balance just slightly more in my favour we’d all get along fine. Sometimes I think I put in all the effort just for them to have a feast.

  8. Julieanne December 30, 2015 at 7:36 pm - Reply

    That squirrel contraption is rather excellent. I gather it works on weight, so doesn’t affect birds but does squirrels? Good luck with a better wildlife year in 2016. I think you are going to need it, they seem pretty determined!

    • Jessica December 31, 2015 at 1:39 pm - Reply

      Exactly Julieanne. It works well until the squirrels decide to have a serious go at it. If they swing around too much they can upset the calibration, after which only a blue tit has to land to set it off. I’m afraid we’ve twirled quite a few birds in our time.

  9. Jo December 30, 2015 at 7:40 pm - Reply

    Yes, you certainly do have some things to contend with!

    • Jessica December 31, 2015 at 1:41 pm - Reply

      It all adds a bit of spice to life. I never get bored.

  10. Amy at love made my home December 30, 2015 at 7:46 pm - Reply

    Quite a year, especially for the squirrels!! xx

    • Jessica December 31, 2015 at 1:42 pm - Reply

      I wonder how many we’ll have next year. Now that there are fewer trees around the house there are less places for them to hide.

  11. Island Threads December 30, 2015 at 7:47 pm - Reply

    they say crying and laughing are very close to each other and I think that’s true, it will be interesting to see if things are as bad now you have opened up the garden and there is not as much tree cover, are there any other woods or copses near by, or is yours the only one surrounded by open farmland,
    in one of your previous slide shows I liked seeing the finished room, it looked wonderful,
    I hope the rising water doesn’t loosen any tree roots, it’s difficult to know what is best, lack of trees here means the full brunt of the wind but with trees, it can mean shelter or they can be blown down, and on that happy note I’ll say onwards and upwards, Frances

    • Jessica December 31, 2015 at 1:47 pm - Reply

      There are woods beyond us to either side, plenty of places still for the squirrels and the deer. It’s pretty much a losing battle really, I can almost see the eyes peering at me though the trees, just waiting their chance.

  12. Jayne Hill December 30, 2015 at 8:02 pm - Reply

    Or as Management is rather (too) fond of saying. “you shouldn’t have joined if you can’t take a joke”.

    I think by now he understands that’s not really funny????

    Great review of some of your year.

    • Jessica December 31, 2015 at 1:50 pm - Reply

      The laughing can turn into the hysterical type after a certain point. Believe me, it can.

  13. Freda December 30, 2015 at 8:42 pm - Reply

    But you are never ever bored!

    • Jessica December 31, 2015 at 1:50 pm - Reply

      Never ever! 🙂

  14. Beth @ PlantPostings December 30, 2015 at 8:44 pm - Reply

    These slide shows are wonderful! Thanks for the beauty and the entertainment. Blessings to you for the year ahead!

    • Jessica December 31, 2015 at 1:51 pm - Reply

      Thanks Beth. I hope 2016 treats you well.

  15. Denise December 30, 2015 at 8:46 pm - Reply

    Just look at their cute ikkle faces and their ikkle wiggly toeses and noses. And their cute fwuffy tails…awwwww….

    • Jessica December 31, 2015 at 1:52 pm - Reply

      How many would you like? I’ll bring them over.

  16. justjilluk December 30, 2015 at 9:27 pm - Reply

    Love them all!

    • Jessica December 31, 2015 at 1:53 pm - Reply

      Thanks Jill.

  17. CJ December 30, 2015 at 9:42 pm - Reply

    Wonderful! It’s been quite a year hasn’t it. I love the spinning squirrel. Does he fall over afterwards? I mistook the tripod for something else for a moment and thought someone was off to harpoon things. I’m very much looking forward to following all of the wildlife next year too. I hope you both have a very happy New Year. CJ xx

    • Jessica December 31, 2015 at 1:57 pm - Reply

      He does fall over if he stays on there long enough. Once he tottered to the edge of the wall, fell off that and sent up a cloud of rose petals. Then it was about 30 seconds before he was back for more. A very Happy New Year to you too CJ.

  18. Indie December 31, 2015 at 12:23 am - Reply

    Haha, I agree with you – we all need some more R&R after fending off all this wildlife! Have a wonderful (and hopefully more relaxing!) new year!

    • Jessica December 31, 2015 at 1:58 pm - Reply

      You too Indie. Many thanks.

  19. Kris P December 31, 2015 at 1:25 am - Reply

    I DO think you deserve more R&R next year! You probably can’t count on the critters to caught you any slack, though. After watching a squirrel wriggle through the wire cage around our largest bird feeder, my brother-in-law pulled it down this afternoon and welded the wire tight again. My guess is we’ll have a week or so of respite. Did you build that squirrel twirler or did you find it somewhere? It’s an excellent invention that should be sold everywhere!

    • Jessica December 31, 2015 at 2:00 pm - Reply

      It came from the States so you should be able to track one down easily enough, it’s called Twirl-A-Squirrel. Good luck with the welding. Persistent little blighters they are.

  20. Amy December 31, 2015 at 2:53 am - Reply

    Wishing you and Mike a wonderful 2016, with plenty of Rest and Relaxation and a minimum of Rucous and Rodents!

    • Amy December 31, 2015 at 2:55 am - Reply

      and oh, drat that misspelling! Make that Ruckus and Rodents… X\

      • Jessica December 31, 2015 at 2:15 pm - Reply


    • Jessica December 31, 2015 at 2:15 pm - Reply

      Thanks Amy. There are some types of R&R you really don’t need!

  21. casa mariposa December 31, 2015 at 3:18 am - Reply

    I love this!! I love the wine vine you have growing next to the bench. 🙂 More resting, less working is a great goal.

    • Jessica December 31, 2015 at 2:17 pm - Reply

      Not my bench… VERY sadly. It was a picture we took on a garden visit this year, but you can rest assured that I’m on the lookout for a similar bottle holder. 🙂

  22. germac4 December 31, 2015 at 5:18 am - Reply

    Well…life is never dull at the home of Rusty Duck! …….Quick have a glass of wine while the going is good……

    • Jessica December 31, 2015 at 2:20 pm - Reply

      I don’t need any more convincing! It must be next year with you… or very nearly. Have a good one.

  23. Cathy December 31, 2015 at 6:25 am - Reply

    Ha! I thought of you twice recently Jessica – once when we finally had a dose of your wildlife problem: a very heavy bullock tried to trash my delphiniums. The next occasion only days before Christmas. Suddenly, while I was reading quietly in my living room, my husband’s leg appeared through the ceiling. I was lazy, but briefly thought of you and your reflex reaction with a camera! Hope that 2016 treats you quietly (loved the roof pictures, by the way, you can really see all the wonderful things you’ve been doing in the garden from there.).

    • Jessica December 31, 2015 at 2:25 pm - Reply

      Oh no! I hope the ceiling went back OK and doesn’t still bear the scars, unlike ours. It’s easily done in an old building, I hope your husband wasn’t injured and recovered from the indignity. As for the bullock.. aargh!

  24. New Moons For Old December 31, 2015 at 10:08 am - Reply

    Hello, Jessica. These slide shows are terrifically good.
    I’ve been meaning to ask whether the ‘Twirl-a-Squirrel’ is an American product – if so, the name is even more fun with American pronunciation: ‘Twirl-a-Squirl’!
    I’m looking forward to lots more posts in the year to come – happy, productive, beautiful and hopefully a little more serene.

    • Jessica December 31, 2015 at 2:28 pm - Reply

      Oh that’s wonderful, thank you for that pronunciation gem. Yes, it is an American product. What a great bit of humour. And thank you also for your kind words.

  25. derrickjknight December 31, 2015 at 10:27 am - Reply

    The captions are as good as the pics

    • Jessica December 31, 2015 at 2:28 pm - Reply

      I try my best. Thanks Derrick.

  26. SeagullSuzie December 31, 2015 at 2:05 pm - Reply

    The spinning squirrel really made me laugh, but I did enjoy the deer too. Oh I used to have lots of wildlife and now only have mice…so I really miss them and my seagull ‘pets’

    • Jessica December 31, 2015 at 2:31 pm - Reply

      I know a lot of people don’t like seagulls. The one in the picture did dive-bomb our table while we were eating outside in Fowey. But I do love them. Here we only see them high in the sky when they’re driven inland by bad weather.

  27. Rambler December 31, 2015 at 2:42 pm - Reply

    What a great ’round-up’ post! I think you must have just about every kind of ‘interesting wildlife visitors’ in and around your garden. Electric fence???
    No, not really – they do make amusing components of your blog.
    I only see the odd squirrel here, dashing across the lane from the beech trees opposite, but in my last garden I made all sorts of contraptions designed to outwit them as they raided the bird feeders. None kept them at bay for more than 24 hours. I finally gave up after the last complicated assault course ever designed wasn’t even attempted – two squirrels simply worked together to unhook the peanut holder from the branch and scurry away with it! My mistake had been to construct the complicated assault course, designed to outwit the brainiest squirrel and provide me with amusement as they worked out each move necessary. I didn’t realise that they didn’t need to work hard, they simply jumped on the branch from the fence, grabbed the peanut feeder and ran!

    • Jessica January 1, 2016 at 3:11 pm - Reply

      That’s a lovely story! I do think they come to view our little encounters as sport, but they’re so intelligent sometimes I wonder whether I’ll ever be able to stay ahead of them. I’ve witnessed them working together too. They’re also getting braver. This morning I opened the window to shoo one off (the batteries on the twirler have run out – again) and the squirrel just looked round at me once and then carried on eating. The last straw, when I went outside in the rain to go after it, I found it digging a hole underneath my Daphne.

  28. sustainablemum December 31, 2015 at 3:35 pm - Reply

    That spinning squirrel is just the height of madness, has he been back for more? Love that wine bottle stand/holder hope you find one soon!

    • Jessica January 1, 2016 at 3:32 pm - Reply

      They’re always back for more. I can’t believe they are that hungry, not here with so much other food around and with the winter being so mild so far. So I have to conclude they enjoy it. Alton Towers for squirrels. I always said I should charge to cover the cost of the batteries, which run down at an alarming rate!

  29. Donna@Gardens Eye View December 31, 2015 at 3:58 pm - Reply

    Oh I love this and definitely you need more R and R time…..

    • Jessica January 1, 2016 at 3:35 pm - Reply

      Enforced slow down at the moment on account of awful weather!

  30. Josephine December 31, 2015 at 7:05 pm - Reply

    I’m sorry to admit, but I’ve giggled at your animal escapades, naughty I know, but they make for wonderful blog posts 🙂
    I share your frustration, we have the same wildlife bunch pillaging our shrubbery and flowers, no conscience the lot of them !
    Here’s to better luck in the coming New Year, may it be filled with peace, happiness and good health.

    • Jessica January 1, 2016 at 3:57 pm - Reply

      Thanks Jo.
      It’s the wanton destruction that gets me. Everything has to eat and if they kept within reasonable bounds I’d be willing to share. But when something nips the tops off my blooms just for the hell of it..

  31. Sheila December 31, 2015 at 7:47 pm - Reply

    Lovely post. Weren’t you writing a book? I do hope so, I will be one of the first to buy it!
    Adventures of the best kind.
    I hope 2016 brings you continued fun and adventures, and the energy and enthusiasm to stay one step ahead of all that comes your way.
    Health and happiness too!

    • Jessica January 1, 2016 at 4:02 pm - Reply

      Thanks Sheila. The book is in the plan for this year.. so I’ll hold you to it! 🙂

  32. Sheila December 31, 2015 at 7:51 pm - Reply

    The above comment..(Sheila) is from me @Simple Indulgences. Not sure why it posted that way?

    • Jessica January 1, 2016 at 4:06 pm - Reply

      I’ve been having huge problems with wordpress for the last couple of weeks. I did an upgrade that crashed the whole site and I’ve had to build it back up bit by bit. I only did the last few bits this morning. It may well be something to do with that.

  33. Spade & Dagger January 1, 2016 at 11:20 am - Reply

    Happy New Year to all.
    As someone who has now got pheasants moving in on their allotment to go along with all the other marauding creatures – you have my complete sympathy and understanding. If we didn’t ‘laugh’ (!!!) about it all, we would definitely go under & we’re not about to let that happen – not just yet anyway !

    • Jessica January 1, 2016 at 4:58 pm - Reply

      Oh no! They are beautiful birds but they can be destructive. The trouble is they like to ‘taste’ things. Nip a bit off, find they don’t like it, spit it out, try another bit just to make sure etc.. Hellebores are a particular target, I just find the intact flower heads discarded on the ground. Very frustrating.

  34. bittster January 1, 2016 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    The feeder is going up today since the weather finally looks to be transitioning to winter. I’m sure there will be a few squirrels here and there as well, but we have hawks….. No spending all day hanging out eating sunflower seeds 🙂

    • Jessica January 1, 2016 at 5:16 pm - Reply

      Kestrels here but I don’t think they’d take anything as big as a (recently fattened on peanuts) squirrel. If it’s cold for you I suppose that means it will be the same here too then, it often follows. It is certainly going that way.

  35. steph January 1, 2016 at 10:26 pm - Reply

    what a year in review!!!! 🙂 can’t wait for the next installment……

    • Jessica January 3, 2016 at 1:43 pm - Reply

      Let battle commence!

  36. Caro January 3, 2016 at 10:29 am - Reply

    Great round up of 2015 and nice to revisit a few of your posts, Jessica. I wish I had a large version of that squirrel twizzler for some of the human visitors to the garden here. My hope for 2016 is that I get to eat some of the fruit that I grow! Caro x

    • Jessica January 3, 2016 at 2:17 pm - Reply

      Between the squirrels, birds and humans I don’t think either of us reaps the reward Caro. At least we know that what we are growing is tasty.. how would we feel if there were no takers?

  37. CherryPie January 3, 2016 at 5:18 pm - Reply

    A lovely review of the year.

    • Jessica January 4, 2016 at 11:02 pm - Reply

      Thanks Cherie 🙂

  38. Natalie January 16, 2016 at 12:57 pm - Reply

    This is great! Happy New Year!

    • Jessica January 16, 2016 at 7:37 pm - Reply

      You too Natalie! Thanks.

  39. Jeneane Hobby March 1, 2018 at 8:57 pm - Reply

    It was wasps that did it for me this week – not quite in the league of squirrels, mice, rabbits or pukekos for ruining plants – but ploughing through a wasps’ nest on my ride-on mower definitely came at a ‘have to laugh or…’ point in my week! Yep I got stung.

    • Jessica March 2, 2018 at 7:25 pm - Reply

      Hi Jeneane!
      Now that is not nice. I hope the pain has subsided and the wasps have done the sensible thing and moved on. A late summer pest on both sides of the world.

I'd love to hear from you..