Fruit Cages and Feisty Ferrets.

Have had some scavenged timber of a serious nature stored away in the garden shed for some months now; with plans to create a more permanent frame for a fruit cage. Especially for our blackcurrant bushes.
Well, this week managed to get the final pieces to make the plan work. Had to buy some screws and small bits and pieces but the pigeons are starting to sit on the scaffold frame the guy on the next door plot has constructed (but added no netting, and come to think of it, er, no fruit bushes either) and look down hungrily at our heavily loaded bushes.
 So I have been coating the timbers with fence treatment (left over from another job) and going over the details of the plan in my usually-not-so-practical mind. Both time-consuming



It took two trips up to the site his morning to get all the tools and materials up there. Plus some milk for cups of refreshment during the construction.
A bit of banter with Alan and his wife – and a taste of his delicious, warmed by the sun strawberries –as they were leaving. Then started the carrying.
Second journey my foot caught something on the path. Now I can trip up over absolutely nothing because I don’t always look where I am putting my feet, but this obstacle followed me down the path, rubbing itself against my ankles.
A friendly ferret that had slipped out from beneath Alan’s shed.
I put down the planks I was carrying and lifted the creature up. It was amenable enough, rubbing the top of its sleek head against my other hand and feeling completely relaxed.
Now several thoughts were racing through my mind – at the same time. Who did it belong to? Was it a pet? A working (hunting) ferret? What should I do with it? Letting it go did not seem an option. There are birds with young and nests in the hedgerows. Besides, was it possible the hob (for such it was) did not know how to hunt/care for itself?ferret
I had to ask Jim if he had a box and the best he could manage was a plastic supermarket box. But the ferret was becoming restless now. Took a bite at Jim’s cheek. Drew blood. Then fastened itself onto the back of my hand – and held on. Teeth like needles. And twisted. And kept on twisting. Tried pulling it away. It held on. Smacking it on the nose. Held on. Put its feet on the ground. It held on and pulled backwards. I was thinking about plunging my hand into a water butt, when it squeezed its jaws together.
 Instinctively I snatched my arm up and swung. The little blighter let go. Jim carefully herded it into the box. We put some wire netting over the top and tied it on with some industrial wire (there’s all sorts on a good allotment you know?).
My hand was bleeding and swelling. I put the box down in the shade of a compost bin and finished emptying the car. Wondering all the time what to do next. R.S.P.C.A. somebody suggested. Let it go in a field behind the school.
Lots of people “wandered by” and took an interest, including one guy who wondered if it was a stoat. I ask you, really?
Eventually “Jonesy”, who was about to leave the site said his neighbour kept ferrets – so off the ferret duly went.
As soon as the car had driven through the gates I knew I should have taken a photograph! To prove to my wife that there was a reason I had not done any more on the fruit cage.
Back at home we bathed the bite, small puncture marks almost invisible once the blood had been wiped away and applied a plaster (with Burgess’ Lion ointment – a family stand by and cure-all for many generations now).
After dinner we returned to the site – and actually got fruit cage completed.
We also rigged up a temporary net structure over the white and red currant patch and watered the range of growing crops that need watering on a warm day (thank you!) like today.


4 responses to this post.

  1. That bite sounds painful. I was expecting you to say it swelled up and got infected as well.


  2. Thanks for your concern. Seems there may have been a (very) small chance the ferret was carrying avian flu; but my tetanus jabs are up to date … so far so good.
    Also despite taking the risk of biting me I understand the creature itself is showing no ill effects


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