The peach saga ends. I removed all of the peaches I had protected from the tree. They were close to ripe and could finish in the house where I do not have squirrels wandering around loose.
I had netting and tulle on a small part of the tree and for a while the squirrels contented themselves with the hundreds of peaches easily gotten to. I left one peach to ripen on the tree. I wanted to taste a peach warm and ripe just off the tree. I swaddled it in tulle and added some protective shielding of hardware cloth that is not only impossible for a squirrel to chew through (although I may be wrong about that) but it also has sharp little prongy edges that I imagine are unpleasant to deal with.
I checked it late one afternoon and it was in tact. In the morning I went out planning to see if it was ripe which would entail some unswaddling and possibly a poke or two of the hardware cloth but I didn’t want to miss the splendor of this lone peach. Welp. Immediately, without unswaddling, I could see that the peach had been dislodged and was hanging in the tulle. The squirrel hadn’t been able to actually eat the damn thing just mangle it enough to make me not want to eat it. I could hear chortling in the maple tree where it lives.
I did actually eat part of it but I had to thoroughly wash it (with my tears) and cut away the mangled parts. And it wasn’t actually ripe and I am morally opposed to crunchy stone fruits but it was pretty good, not transcendent, but good enough. Who’s laughing now?