Well, when I went to bed last night it was 32 degrees, and around 5 am it was 45, and how it is 51 and rising. If it were not cloudy, I would have to scrounge around and find some sun screen by noon!! A week ago it was - 6 degrees with a foot of snow on the ground. They say there is something good in everything, so I guess we can call it a white Christmas even with the total confusion the plants seem to be under.
The garden was well put to bed this fall including the plantings of green manures (a cover crop that adds nitrogen and help converts sandy soil to good garden loam). Good thing we did that because the deer knew right where to dig in the snow to mow the stuff all off. We have a year around herd here in this rural neighborhood of a dozen deer or so.
Ah, the deer, I have been working diligently with the deer so that we can co-exist. When we first planted the berries and trees in the garden space, we put an electric fence around the plot. (about a half acre in size). Soon the deer were munching away on the new trees. Next we carefully caged all the trees and the electric fence went from 6' to 8' plus a more sturdy gate was added. The next thing I noticed was that the strawberries had all been mowed back to their crowns, dead leaves and all. Deer pellets were everywhere.
The next step was to raise the fence to 7'. The whole gardening season came and went with no deer damage or evidence. Victory ensued or so I thought. The unplanted areas are just sandy soil and you can pretty well find their tracks and make a rough guess about what is going on. Then fall came...........and the deer move from one seasonal range to another twice a year. Good lord, I had my own herd munching on the perennials, and trying to reach the now caged 3 year old fruit trees. It seems to be this seasonal population giving me grief. The resident herd has learned about the fence and does not seem to want to risk it. Or so my belief system goes....
So off to the Ag-West store for more farm supplies. They do not have 12' high fence posts but they do carry pressure treated wooden fence rails that long. Ah, since it is only holding strands of wire that carry electricity, they do not have to be all that sturdy. So I installed the fence rails as fence posts and now have a fence line that is nearly 10' tall. Just to be sure, I stapled 4' fiber glass fence posts to the top of the fence posts so could go up to 13' if I needed to.
The new height has been installed and just to make sure the migrants can see the new height, I added white tape to the fence line at intervals. (picture a kite tail).
Feeling pretty smug about it all, I now think the problem is solved. And the seasonal migrants are gone to the winter deer range.
Yeah, right. This week as I go out to the garden area to turn the compost pile, standing there in all her glory is the largest, prettiest, most well FED doe you ever saw. Mildly watching me as she munches away, I move a little closer to see if I can show her out they way she got in. (Which of course I have no idea about since I have not yet searched for tracks). She carefully keeps a safe distance from me as we do the exit dance around the garden. And then, she decides to leave the garden area...........but jumping THROUGH THE DANG FENCE!! So I begin the tracking to see if I can figure out where she got in. The ground is wet and the tracks show up nicely. She is eating so well she has dumped multiple piles of pellets, oh and one large pile suggesting gastric upset from holiday over indulgence!!
Eventually, I find the spot of entry at the boundary of the rear of our yard. You can see her tracks coming directly at the fence with none leaving and a new fresh set on my side of the fence, suggesting she went through the fence to get in as well. So I added more kite tails to the fence at this point. Solved, or so I think. ..............Last night the dogs were raising cain at the patio door..... our little doe has discovered the bird feeders in the back yard. The deer are winning, you ask? Oh no, never.