Sunday, July 1, 2012

Cracking the camel's back


Actually, that's MY back that is cracking.  As in breaking.  As in LAST DAMN STRAW.

This year I've battled heat and drought, chipmunks and cabbage moths, high winds and low humidity, thoughtless golfers and a wacko neighbor.  I've stood up to Japanese beetles, carpenter bees and hornets on the deck.   It's been hard.  It's been draining.  But I've stayed on the front lines throughout.

But now.... I'm ready to walk away.

I'd found a cropped plant occasionally over the past week or so.  Looked like deer, but no other evidence (droppings, sightings, etc.).

But last night they came.  And they ate. Lilies, sunflowers, zinnias, butterfly bushes, asters.....  All flowers that I've babied along in this drought.

The veg too.  (CLICK HERE)

I'm hot.  I'm angry.  I'm tired.   I can't afford the 8' fences it takes to keep out deer.  I'm not allowed to shoot them.  And I don't want to invest in miles of electric fence.  (How charming would THAT look?)

So I'm throwing in the trowel.  There's just so much of me and I can no longer do it myself.  I no longer have the stamina, the motivation, or the encouragement necessary to keep up the battle.

Why bother?  In this heat/wind/drought nothing thrives anyway.  I had scaled back expectations to just surviving this year, but the deer have made it quite clear that nothing I do will make any difference.

I'm tired of being the general AND the army.  I'm not surrendering, exactly.  But I think I'll have to just walk away.  I may or may not be able to regroup.  I'm just so discouraged.

Good luck to the rest of you.

13 comments:

  1. Can you shoot them with a BB gun to scare them away? What about a small rocket launcher? Paintball gun? Dig a moat around your house and fill it with alligators? Please don't give up!!!

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    1. Good suggestions all. Where the heck can someone buy a pack of timber wolves when you need 'em? It's hard NOT to give up when you've come to realize no matter what you do - it's for nothing. (Sorry, It's hard to be positive. I'm tired and don't know how to dig myself out of this setback.)

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  2. Sweetie, I wish I could do something other than type "there there". I'll carry on our email conversation off-blog.

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  3. Me again ... I was thinking about CM's small rocket launcher. Not a smart idea unless you want Homeland Security showing up (although that would sure scare off the deer). However, can you still buy that neat kids toy where you pump air into a soda bottle that has just a little water in it and when it's pumped to whatever the limit is the bottle SHOOOOTS into the air, the water comes out and it all makes a hell of a noise. Great fun and isn't going to damage anything but would scare the b*ggers away.

    You could sit on your deck at night firing empty pop bottles around your yard and the neighbours would know you'd finally gone loco :}

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    1. Then I'd have to go round up all those dang bottles the next day. Besides, who's got extra water to use like that? LOL No, I think I'll stick with what I told you one of my emails. I'll let you know how my stake-out goes tonight.

      Anyway the neighbors already think 'highly' of me. After all, I've been caught previously barking at the deer. *heh*

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  4. Bilbo - Have you ever been to DC? By the time Homeland Security made it through rush hour traffic, you could destroy the evidence. I think a moat is the best bet. :o)

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    1. *grin* Nice one, Tammy. Wonder how alligators would fare in our frozen winters.... ?

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  5. Kris, I understand very clearly how you are feeling. We haven't seen the pair of deer that were running across the back pretty regularly in quite some time now, not since we heard "target practice" in the distance. But even after spending $3000 for a tall fence for the garden, we still have to do some more work on it to keep the rabbits out, and apparently we have a family in there. I've seen three little ones so far. But it's the heat that's killing us, and the hot, dehydrating wind. We're struggling to keep trees and bushes alive and it is just wearing us smooth. Maybe it was a mistake to move out here, at our ages.

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    1. Your trials and tribulations of last year and now this year is almost as bad for you. We are all HOT and PARCHED and suffering these persistent desiccating winds. Add to YOUR troubles are trying to grow things on rock.

      I'm totally switched into survival mode in the gardens. Thank goodness I planted out the white willow and hemlock last year when it rained every week. They've got good enough roots to tough it out.

      I picked a single cuke today and I will have it for lunch. There is no feeling of festivity about it though. :-(

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  6. I guess I should feel lucky - all the deer have done around here so far is eat some of the sunflowers (last year) and mutilate a maple tree and a crape myrtle by tearing off strips of bark with their antlers.

    The deer problem is just one of the ways that we humans have screwed up the ecosystem. We've probably screwed it up in many ways that are less obvious, but since the deer are so big and do so much damage, this type of screw-up is obvious to see.

    The problem, as you alluded to with your pack of wolves suggestion, is that we've killed off or driven away most of the natural predators. And we've banned hunting. So the only thing that's going to usually kill a deer would be disease, cars or starvation.

    Cars kill plenty of deer -- and sometimes the people driving the cars too or their passengers.

    And of course deer are one of the links in the growing deer tick epidemic.

    And apparently the deer herd is so large now - tens of millions strong in the Eastern US - that they're denuding forests and thus hurting the populations of birds that like to nest in the undergrowth.

    I believe we'll probably have to take a stand at some point and reintroduce hunting on a wider basis or maybe some form of deer birth control.

    Or maybe the natural hunters will make a comeback after all. Coyotes are adapting to live in and near cities. But it's not clear that coyotes do such a good job at 'managing' deer herds (http://bowsite.com/bowsite/features/articles/deer/seminars/coyotes/) nor is it clear how much we're all going to enjoy living next to packs of hunters. But hey, at least the coyotes probably won't eat our gardens! ;)

    ps - Ranting aside, how about one of those automatic watering systems (I think it's called a Scarecrow?) that shoots a jet of water when a motion detector is triggered. Not sure if it would scare the deer away or if they'd just think of it is a free shower. In Japanese gardens, they sometimes have ingenious little fountains that also serve to scare away critter like deer - http://www.creatingjapanesegardens.com/japanese-water-features/shishi-odoshi/

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    1. Thanks for chiming in on the deer situation. Yes, the herds need to be thinned. And soon! Like the Canadian Goose problem, they are ecologically unbalanced due to laws that people, ignorant of the widespread damage and disease they pose, pass. We could easily reduce the herds/flocks by allowing HARVEST. Venison and goose is great protein and would benefit everyone.

      As for the water canons - not feasible during a drought and with well considerations. Sorry I was so long finding your comment.

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  7. Have you ever tried Shotgun or Ropel? I use to use it but it is quite expensive. Read the labels. Rotten eggs (use 2), garlic, hot pepper,( 2 tsp.) mix and add to gal. water, let stand for at least 3 days. Strain it to get rid of the crushed garlic. Spray on all plants even flowers. We DO NOT use on veggies or anything you want to eat. You can also make a Daffodil tea from stems and leaves after flowers fade in Spring. Use some of this tea in you gallon mix. Daffodils are poisenous, nothing eats them. Spray after any watering or raining. We still have beautiful hostas, daylillies and roses. This does not work for Japanese beetles. Butterflies and humming birds still come as do bees. Good luck. Judy

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    1. Thanks for the tip, Judy. But its the edibles that need the most protection. I've used hot pepper spray with good results in the past, but the drought this year is so intense the deer are eating just about anything - sprayed or not. Sorry I didn't see your comment sooner. Ironically *knock wood* the deer have not eaten ANY of my hostas. Go figure....

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