Without meaning to be an upcycler, my father invented a clever solution to Arizona’s woodpecker plague upon citrus. Every year woodpeckers flock to orange trees and lance the fruit with their beaks to slake their thirst. When a person tries to pick the fruit later on, it has become a Death Star of rot, perhaps seething with some larval beetles or flies as well.
Arizona newspapers recommended festooning your trees with compact discs to scare off the woodpeckers, but it worked no better than other homestead woodpecker remedies. My father hit upon the idea of slipping the foam-net sleeves often used for Asian pears over the oranges, but we could never eat enough of those to cover a whole tree’s fruit. Rifling through the materials reserves, he found some rolls of kitchen drawer liner.
Kitchen drawer liners are sold in much larger square footage than anyone needs, to be sure the manufacturers can make a profit. The nubbly ones that keep things from skidding around when drawers are used allow plenty of air flow and have a texture woodpeckers seem to find repellent.
With the meticulousness evolved by retirees, he crafted little bag/sleeves out of liner squares by folding and stapling them together at the edges. He even laced drawstrings for some. Incredibly, he then slipped them over every growing orange within reach—and has done so yearly for nearly a decade.
The bags don’t deteriorate in the harsh desert sun, and they allow room for growth and light exposure. Maybe we share blood with whomever invented the “poire prisonniere” method of growing a pear inside an eau de vie bottle. I’d pitch my father’s upcycling solution to a local newspaper, but suspect that only we think a glass of fresh Arizona Sweet juice is worth such trouble. Cheers, dad.