JIM CREES: Oh, deer. They are winning!
One of my co-workers recently asked, (once again!), “Why don’t you write a nice column?”
Well! I kinda thought all my columns were “nice.”
Sure. I understand a good number of people don’t necessarily agree with me on a whole bunch of topics, but ... that’s what it’s all about in these United States. I may think differently than you on some political issue, but odds are we all enjoy a good chocolate malt at the DQ or the Old Pioneer Store.
And there is at least one issue I’m dealing with of which I’m sure a lot of people — both conservative and liberal, Republican and Democrat — will sympathize.
I’m really getting tired of deer.
Don’t get me wrong. I like deer. I really do. They’re cute in a “I love nature” kind of way.
Deer are pretty animals. To a degree, they’re fun to watch.
After cleaning up the devastation of having 14 trees removed from our front, side, and back yard, we have quite a large expanse of lawn. One deer mama and her two fawns love/loved to romp and frolic on our lawn and it is quite sweet.
(Sadly, the “two fawns” recently became “her one fawn” when one of ‘em DID NOT look left and right while crossing McKinley Road and became what is colloquially referred to as “crow bait.”)
Nevertheless, mama and her now-one fawn continue to frolic. It’s too cute.
Then, a short while back, just after dark and just after my planting of a whole bunch of hostas, I swear I heard deer-ish voices outside exclaiming excitement over the change in menu at the Crees buffet.
And that kinda started everything rolling.
The deer have been chewing on everything I’ve planted.
They chomped on a good portion of my one, single pumpkin vine. They have severely cropped my zucchini. They pulled out some 20 asparagus plants, (just pulled ‘em out but didn’t actually eat them!)
They have even trimmed my tomato plants. Not the fruit. The plant itself. Nibbled from the top down. (So much for my belief that deer don’t go after tomatoes.)
Then ... they move from the vegetable course to the dessert bar — the decorative gardens.
The hostas are nothing but a bitter memory.
The critters wiped out a good-sized flowering dogwood.
The impatiens? Forget about it. Gone.
Almost everything I’ve planted - perennials and annuals — has at least been nibbled on, if not flat out eaten.
I pulled a list of deer resistant plants off the Internet. I have to wonder if deer have Internet access and know there is a list of deer resistant plants? It seems everything they have eaten, (except the hostas), falls on the “Rarely If Ever Damaged” list.
Rarely damaged? Everything I’ve put in the ground, (aside from the marigolds), has been instantaneously damaged.
So ... I enthusiastically enter the fray.
I determined I would win this fight.
I bought anti-deer pellets, anti-deer sprinkles AND anti-deer spray using all liberally.
I think the deer enjoyed the spicy addition to their menu!
I moved on to home-made recommendations involving garlic and cayenne pepper with stinky eggs in varying degrees and amounts.
The deer called their friends to try the new taste sensations!
I put up a silly rope fence. (Do you have any idea how much proper fencing costs??!!??) I swear I could hear the deer chuckling in the dark!
(I did fence in my pumpkin plant. It apparently has helped, although Heaven help any vine or tendril that snuck out beyond the fence. It was gone before daybreak.)
I tried twirling whirligigs. I tried sparkly tin-foily streamers. I tried everything folks told me to try.
I’m sure the folks in the neighborhood across the road are pleased with my gardening efforts. My yard simply has become an effective “Rest Area” for deer crossing over to their yards for a midnight snack, probably saving at least some of their gardens from the damage I myself am experiencing.
They, the deer, are killing me!
And ... truth be known ... they are winning.
Aside from the marigolds and the stuff planted right next to the back door, almost everything else has been damaged to a lesser or greater degree.
It is frustrating, and disappointing. But it also is a lesson in the way things really work.
At the end of the day, it is their world — the critters. Especially if you live anywhere even mildly country-esque.
We have mice and garter snakes. We have deer in the garden, raccoons in the garage and the garbage can. We have skunks strolling down the driveway.
And ... we have coyote scat back in the woods.
They will win. I promise you. The critters will win.
In the meantime, I’ll try to adjust ‘cause I’ve learned I’m certainly not going to win the deer fight.