Strawberry suspense

Our first strawberry harvest, and we would have a bumper crop if some animal, or animals, was not taking a bite from almost every ripe strawberry. I am in the middle of a critter war – again.

Every time I try a new deterrent, checking out the strawberries the next day is more suspenseful than watching a thriller. I warily walk down to the strawberry patch, bracing myself for what I am about to find. First I stand there for a few seconds with my eyes closed, then I slowly open my eyes and start looking around.

The amount of Epsom salt I spread around the perimeter of the patch this morning should make the strawberry thieves sneeze so hard we should hear it by the house. But again, if the critters are as keen on the strawberries as I am they might just pinch their noses and continue nibbling.

One way of distracting myself from garden woes is to make something quick and easy from a hassle-free crop. Harvesting those beautiful radishes made me think back to the time when the rabbits could squeeze through the fence and devoured the radish greens down to the ground. So it is again just a question of notching up the defense; maybe it’s time to reconsider a fence around the strawberry patch. Meanwhile I will listen out for the sound of sneezing tonight.

Radish Salmon Spread

8 ounces low-fat cream cheese, softened

1 tablespoon milk

3 ounces smoked salmon, finely chopped

1 bunch radishes, finely chopped (about ¾ cup)

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh dill

Freshly ground black pepper

1. Stir the cream cheese and the milk until smooth. Add the radishes and fold in with a spatula, then fold in the salmon and dill. Season with pepper to taste.

2. Refrigerate. Take out of the fridge 15 minutes before serving.