From Pipi’s Pasture: Trials and tribulations with deer | CraigDailyPress.com

From Pipi’s Pasture: Trials and tribulations with deer

Diane Prather/For Craig Press

For most of the years that we have lived here at Pipi’s Pasture, the deer have been picking at my summer flowers, sometimes eating the blossoms, other times leaving them on the ground around the flower pots. I thought I had it made this summer because the deer left them alone during June, July, and even part of August. The pansies and petunias were beautiful. The geraniums had gorgeous red blossoms. 

I threw caution to the wind. I didn’t bother to spray the flowers with the awful-smelling deer repellant, supposedly made with lion urine. They still hadn’t bothered the flowers when I started finding deer tracks in the vegetable garden.

When we first moved to Pipi’s Pasture, Lyle put woven wire above the already-built fence that makes a partition between the hay yard/ garden area. He put in tall gates. All of this was done in order to keep the deer out of the hay and garden. However, the big double gates were damaged during snow removal this past winter, and the cows have worked at the fence, leaving some gaps. Long story short, the deer have found their way into the garden area.

At first the deer didn’t do much damage. They just pulled up a few onions. One morning I found a doe in the garden. I yelled at her, and she took off toward the double gates. I couldn’t believe my eyes. She spread herself thin and crawled out through a small space under the gates. 

I cut some wire and secured it to fill in gaps between the two tall gates. I made sure there wasn’t a gap at the bottom, but it didn’t stop the deer. I found a green bell pepper plant nipped off, with only an inch-long pepper still hanging onto a stem. More onions were lying on top of the ground. I checked the gates again. I checked the partition fence. Surely the deer couldn’t be getting through there.

More damage to the garden followed. All of the pepper plants had been nipped off, and the sad little bell pepper was gone, too. Some of the green bean plants were half-eaten. It even appeared that the cabbages were victims of snacking. One morning I noticed a doe and two fawns along the partition fence. I began to suspect that the deer were getting through that way. I tried to repair gaps in the fence. 

Then, alas, one morning I found a flowerpot overturned. All of the petunia, pansy, daisy-like flowers, geraniums, and even marigolds — supposedly a flower that deer don’t like — were eaten off. Some pink artificial flowers were scattered on the lawn. I took the bottle of deer repellant out and sprayed the dickens out of the potted flowers, pots, and the ground around them. That evening a little fawn stood out by the porch, looking things over. He was pretty cute.

Meanwhile, most of the garden has ended up in tatters.  The green beans and peppers are long gone. The cabbages are half-chewed off. I’m pretty sure that there are no zucchini; at least the plants look pretty ragged. Pumpkin leaves and flowers are scattered here and there, and today when I went out to do morning chores, a doe stood there next to a pumpkin plant, munching away. To make matters worse, she wouldn’t “shoo away.” I picked up a fallen branch from an elm tree and shook it at her. She went over to the partition fence, hidden by a tree, and jumped into the pasture.

It’s nearly time for frost, but next year…