Friday, July 9, 2010

Oh deer...

It's really lovely and interesting to have wildlife all around us. We have our own little ecosystem with birds, bugs, bats, snakes, foxes, groundhogs, squirrels, chipmunks... in addition to the stray cats, and, oh yeah, the deer.

This year, we have started some work on the yard and landscaping since the inside of the house is basically done. We rigged up a deer fence for our veggie garden which seems to be holding so far, but i think the deer have realized that the rest of our yard is completely open for their all you can eat buffet. Thank goodness I've gotten almost all of our plants off freecycle, since within days of planting, the deer have eaten them down to the ground. I'm not sure if it's a word or we made it up, but we call it "nubbed" as in bit it down to the nub, as in "the deer nubbed that hosta last night honey."

So far, our friendly evening and early morning snacker has eaten black eyed Susan's, echinachea, hosta, almost all of my bulbs, sedum, morning glories, tomato plants, impatiens, daylilies, bleeding hearts, apple tree saplings, and several shrubs. Of course, we do see that some weeds are nubbed as well and for that we say thank you.

A few nights ago, as we were getting ready for bed, Honey and I heard a scratching on the outside of our house. We theorized about what it could be. The next morning we found that about a foot of a large shrub had been eaten. The shrub is at the corner of the house by our bedroom and we think the branches scratched the electrical box as it was being mauled.

So what to do. Well, we are currently investigating fence options which would clearly be the best way to deal with this guy. It's pretty expensive though to install a wood fence, and really good deer fencing is expensive as well. Plus it will take a while, and I'd like to stop waking up every day to find another landscape design decision made for me. I don't think scaring him away will work, since we see the deer in broad daylight while the golf course landscapers are using loud machinery. Doesn't seem to phase him. I did half jokingly (well - maybe not half) ask Honey if I could get a shotgun. I'm not a fan of hunting for sport but we do have a big chest freezer and I am a pretty good cook.

Once the back yard is fenced of course there is the decision about the front yard. It seems like the deer leave all herbs well enough alone, so the herb garden might be moved to the front yard next year. We'll see. This year, I'm just glad to see my vegetable garden intact each morning, even though the rest of the yard is becoming one big patch of dirt and mulch.

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