Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The deer and the damage done

Oooh, it is so hard to be fighting demons you thought you'd beaten for the last time.

But of course, with homesteading there is never a "last time," because those critters are working just as hard and fast as you are to outsmart your every last line of defense. 


They stayed OUT, last year. ALL last year. But not this year. One morning I woke up and the fence was broken-- maybe from a storm, or maybe the deer snapped it. But either way, they took advantage of the break, and were able to learn what was inside this wonderful Eden of mine. A friend called it a "candy bowl." Exactly. The next night, they came back, with friends. And the night after that. Admittedly, I was a little slow on the uptake. But in the beginning, I had confidence that just repairing the old system was going to do the trick. Not so. Once they learn what's inside, they work harder at getting to it. Little by little, my beans were whittled away. Little by little, all my green tomatoes disappeared. 

Sunday morning, I came in from a first-thing-in-the-morning check (after replacing all the wire) and pancaked onto our bed with a defeated howl. "Uhhh-oh," said Patrick.

Later that day, I attached 3-foot stakes to the tops of the fence posts, and ran twine all the way around, at two levels. That worked for a night. Then, Monday, one of them figured out it could break the perimeter wire and pull itself over the gate, under the twine. 

Tuesday morning was not a happy morning. After I'd built up those reinforcements Sunday, I figured I was done. Like, "if this don't stop them, nothing will!" And they were like, "Not not NOT!" So I spiderwebbed the middle level of twine with the top of the fencing, all the way around. And I stapled some fencing to the top of the gate.

I am praying that I have won the war. It does not seem that they can jump this high. And the perimeter wire does seem to slow them down-- they have to break that before they can do anything else. And I just replaced all the perimeter wire with 18 gauge stuff. And it is HARD to break! 

But, I'm rattled. My confidence in my system is gone. But after the confidence is gone, the learning can begin. Oh, these lessons. These sometimes hard and sometimes lovely lessons.


I am reminding myself that it is only July 9th. Many people wait until the 1st to even PLANT their beans, and, provided the &#%ers stay out for the rest of the season (this increasingly feels like a very tall order) mine have plenty of time to recover. There will be a crop. They did not touch the zucchini, or the potatoes, or the kale. (I might have encouraged them if they'd eaten the peas!) 

Cross your fingers for me, please. 

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Becky said...

Fingers, toes and eyes crossed. Nothing MORE frustrating that a beautiful animal becoming a foe.

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