Monday, July 2, 2012

Not the answer

Last October, in a blog post titled Walnut harvest [display], I spoke with enthusiasm of a promising solution for storing my annual walnut harvest, using light-weight plastic containers that can be folded flat when empty.

[Click to enlarge]

I filled the containers with walnuts, sealed the carrying slots with tape, and placed them in my stone-walled cellar. Well, it turned out to be a totally unsatisfactory solution. The other day, when I thought about preparing a walnut cake, I was shocked to find that last year's stock of walnuts had been reduced to a few empty shells. I have the impression that Fitzroy, too, was disgusted by the mess.

At first sight, I couldn't understand how unidentified rodents had succeeded in entering the containers, and apparently carrying away most of the walnuts. The tape blocking the carrying slots was intact, and the top of the upper container had been covered. When I looked more closely, I soon discovered what had gone wrong. The mysterious rodent(s) had simply gnawed through a few thin plastic bars... in the classical style of a jail inmate escaping from his cell.

Once this hole existed, it was an easy matter for the rodent family to feast upon the walnuts, and to carry them away to their secret lair.

Maybe a high-tech solution might consist of inventing rodent-proof plastic. But the right stuff exists already: it's called steel. So, goodbye flimsy plastic! That's to say, between now and my next walnut harvest, I intend to design and build the perfect walnut container: a kind of steel mesh cage with sturdy drawers made of slats of wood (for the aeration). I assure you, it will be a masterpiece!


  1. Well, you certainly made life easy for that rodent family (or families!). I'm sure they thank you. Sorry about your walnuts though!

  2. That's exactly what I said to myself after inspecting the damage. Last winter was particularly harsh at Gamone. At times, the weather was not fit for man or rodent. There was so much ice and snow that the poor little furry buggers could have starved to death. Instead of that, during those cold months, I offered them the opportunity of simply crawling into my cellar and helping themselves to a feast of the finest walnuts. I hope they don't spread the word... that I was stupid enough to imagine that a flimsy bit of plastic might stop a hungry rodent. I wondered, too, whether they drew straws to decide which unfortunate rodent would have the job of biting into the plastic.