Monday, July 29, 2013

IN THE STILL OF THE NIGHT


It was 3:45 AM, the air was cool, crisp and I actually wore a jacket. Hard to believe it was late July and so delightfully comfortable.  Mighty Dog's elderly bladder had us out and about in the early morning darkness per usual.  He normally runs free at this time of morning under my watchful eye but this time he was on the end of the leash due to his second eye surgery. The moon was full so a flashlight wasn't necessary.   I walked behind him enjoying the perfect night.

Then I heard a sound that made my heart stop for a second then race wildly as I went from cool to cold to positively prickly. Now my neighbor has cows and a pair of horses that enjoy the pasture behind me.   I have been around cows and horses  a good portion of my life and this was no cow sound and certainly not a horse sound. It was quite loud, hissing, repeated several times and was moving. Luckily Mighty is hard of hearing so I didn't have to deal with him wanting to investigate. 

I quickly put Mighty back in the house then I did what I has made me mentally screamed "NOOO, you can't possibly be that stupid,"  while watching a scary movie--- I went to investigate. But unlike the hapless heroine in the movies, I went armed. I have a varmint rifle that too often misfires so  I took my pistol plus a can of pepper spray tucked in my jammies waist band. I wasn't aiming to kill but to frighten off if necessary. 

There have been bear sightings in my area and I really hoped it wasn't a bear. I have a fear of them like I do sharks.  I actually had no idea what was out there. Maybe not of this world??  The dark can really work on a person's imagination.
  
I stood on my porch (see, I am not totally stupid) and flashed a powerful flashlight around the property. There was nothing there. Unlike the hapless heroine, I didn't go into the bowels of the property to the overgrown fence line to investigate. I was content that what ever it was had either climbed back over my fence or been sucked back up into the mother ship and left. 

I really thought no more about it and a day passed. I was busy dealing with destructive fruit flies  and vanishing fruit from my peach and plum trees. My peach crop this year was literally rotting on the tree from fruit fly larva or just gone.  Last year my crop had been so bountiful that  I was able to supply 3 families with buckets of delicious fruit, plus have a freezer full my self.

This year---nada. 

Then when I was mowing I came across this.


Not my picture. From Google images.
At first I thought there had been a rabbit convention over night and I had found their favorite toilet area. I quickly got it off the property for Mighty has a penchant for any kind of poop and is super fond of rabbit truffles. 

Later when I looked the poop up on the computer, all my mysteries were solved. I  had enjoyed a deer visit. That was deer poop, the noise I heard was  a deer alarm, and my missing fruit were fattening up some beautiful creature. Gosh I love the Internet with its wealth of information, pictures and sounds.  I am just sorry however that I didn't get to see him or her. 

At least the deer ignored my flowers, cantaloupe, butternut squash and sweet potatoes though it did dead head and thin one of my strawberry patches which actually needed it.  

I didn't realize deer would jump my fence, especially with dog smells around. If I had known, I would probably have planted some deer favorites. I think they are so beautiful. Most of my plantings are deer resistant but only as a side effect by first being vole resistant. Maybe next year----.

I would gladly plant deer friendly food in order to enjoy such beautiful lawn ornaments.  However next year, I may fence off  that peach tree, he can have the plums. I am freezer deep in plum catsup which is really good by the way.  
  
Do you dread, welcome or wish you had visiting deer? 

32 comments :

  1. You are brave, but I imagine I would have done the same thing...from the safety of the porch!

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  2. What an adventure you had in your jammies. Ha
    I guess I've complained about the deer before. I have deer every night and many days as I'm out working in the yard. The deer here, are very tame. I hate the added expense of fences around all my gardens but it's necessary. If it's not the deer, it's the rabbits. I wish they would all go back up on the mountain.

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  3. Dread deer visits. I have four dogs. My neighbor has given up gardening. We live in town.

    The deer wander through yards like ghosts at 3:00 in the morning. I've seen them.

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  4. I love the wealth of information available to me on the web, too. It's amazing and wonderful. We have a deer fence around our community vegetable garden. I just yesterday was thinking I'd better fix that wire or the deer will be jumping our fence, too. They are pretty but I sure wouldn't be happy to see what they might snatch out of our garden! :-)

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  5. Be careful what you wish for. Once deer get into your yard they will regard it as theirs and pay no attention to what you plant for them. If they decide to eat your garden, they will eat your garden.

    Yes, they do jump fences. I personally have seen them clear a six foot fence. The only type of fence that seems to work is a double with a four foot space between them. I did have great luck with saving my raspberries by making fencing of monofilament line about 3 ft. high. (They get confused and scared when they feel but can't see the line.) I have had them kill fruit trees by knocking them over. Last summer they ate my hostas and lilies as Winter had not grown up enough to keep them out of the yard. Late last fall she began chasing them while on her run. This year they stay out of the yard. They are still out in the woods, where they belong.

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  6. We used to stay part of the summer in a friends house in Alto, NM. Glorious woodsy place. The deer were so spoiled rotten by our friend that they came into the garage looking for the dried meal and corn. We would sit on the deck for hours and enjoy them. The only break was to go down and refill the trough for them. I love to watch the pecking order, the alarms they put out, the mothering of a fawn.....I love deer, but I wouldn't want to bump into one at night. They do have very powerful legs and hooves.
    It's great that you were willing to share and didn't get upset. My brother got so upset about deer coming down into his yard that he built a 10 ft fence around it. tee hee, they still got in. And the grouch had to live with his prison wall anyway.
    Have a super week my friend, Oma Linda

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  7. I wish we could send our deer your way. They eat everything. Our little pine tree looks like a stick figure. All branches down low and round on top where the deer can't reach.

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  8. We welcome the deer...throw thwm apples and corn....NO HUNTING at the Twelve Acre Wood....

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  9. I have to say I dread deer visits. Oh to be sure, they are beautiful creatures. But, they have caused untold grief in our community. The missing rose buds, the eaten and trampled garden produce, all of that pales in comparison to the numerous cars that have been damaged by the deer running out in front of them. Mine included. Then the most horrible happening of all was a pastor's son who was killed by a deer hitting his car and coming through his windshield. That was a number of years ago, but not far from us. It was a terrible, terrible tragedy for this community.

    You are a brave woman even with your weapons to go out and look for the source of the noise!

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  10. We have a large fenced garden area that so far the deer have not been able to get into. They do come around quite often and eat the fallen fruit in the un-fenced front yard. They also eat whatever they want out there. Last year a bear got into our fruit trees and ate EVERY apple on it and broke two large branches. If a deer has found its way into your garden, it'll be back for more.

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  11. Dread!!! We have far too many deer in our community. They walk along the streets in large numbers. We planted things they are not supposed to like, but every now and then they will come along to try it. We liberally apply deer deterrent around most of our shrubs and plants. Of course, that lasts only until the next rain. And this summer that hasn't been long at all.

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  12. What a wonderful story of suspense! You are such a good writer and I enjoyed this post so much. And, yes, we had deer in our veggie garden just the night before last. And this morning at 3 a.m., I was outside too with a sick Soldier, cleaning up the mess he made. And I heard sirens and saw the flashing lights of an ambulance, so unusual here in the canyon. So we both had night adventures.

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  13. HA HA ---silly question for me!!! I do NOT want them near or on my property. They LOVE our flowers and plants. We spend big bucks keeping them away... I do like them though--since they are gorgeous critters.

    IF you want deer, put out some corn on cobs around your trees, etc...

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  14. Good to know you went to investigate well-armed sweet Patti just in case there was danger out there. Oh, I love deer and think they are beautiful with the sweetest faces ever. Sure glad it was a deer visiting and not a bear or a large wild cat. Hugs

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  15. Welcome. We saw one yesterday. A fairly rare sighting here.

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  16. The only thing I like about deer is deer jerky.
    Our old place had hundreds in the area, they were mean, tick invested critters. They racked all my trees, ate anything that wasn't well fenced off, and nearly killed my border collie. Not to mention all the road hazards they presented. Of course there was a steep fine for feeding them, which all the imported cityfolk ignored, because they were so cute to watch. People that fed them screwed the whole ecology of the area.

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  17. Well Patti! I would like to have a deer visiting me, but there is no chance, that in my small backyard surrounded by a wall and a wooden fence, wildlife could ever enter my garden. Only hedgehogs, toads and moles. But you are brave to investigate the cause of the strange noises, and you are so fortunate to have these visitors.Thanks
    for this story!
    Wil, ABCW Team

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  18. Terri,
    Thanks but considering how far away I stayed, cautious might be a better description.

    Manzi,
    Guess the mountains don't have all the good stuff you have to offer. I have a raft of bunnies also which Mighty considers jogging partners. They have no fear.

    Peruby,
    Surprising they are in town. Must be weird seeing them glide thru the dark. I live in the country and rarely see them.

    Djan,
    I guess they can leap over a 6 foot fence. They really would mess up your garden. Good fences make good neighbors.

    Peruby,
    A good dog is the best fence. Winter is doing a proper job. My deer must know Mighty is no threat.

    Linda Wildenstein,
    Nature never bothers me. Now if it were people jumping my fence, I might have a problem. Naw, I'd probable try to feed them also.

    islandwonder,
    I think the hunters here have kept the herds in check for it is rare to see them.
    So I am guessing you are on the "dread" side:))

    Blue Ridge Boomer,
    Ah, my kind of people.

    Cheryl,
    That is just awful about the pastor's son. They are large animals and do a lot of damage in a collision.

    robin,
    I thought so too but so far, I haven't seen any more poop since the last of the peaches disappeared. Maybe he just had a peach craving.

    NCMountainwoman,
    Interesting how some communities are over run with them and for others they are a rare sighting. I can see how they would lose their beauty when they eat all your hard work.

    Inger,
    I am so sorry Soldier had you up by being sick. Concern takes all of the beauty of the night away.

    Betsy,
    Ha ha, I had not the slightest doubt which side of the fence you would be on. With your showplace of a yard, think I would hire guards with hoses.

    Maggie,
    Me too glad it was a deer. Some animals I am content to view with binoculars.

    Barry,
    Wow, I would have thought you would have had more. Odd how some areas are overrun and others have rare sightings. All your dog smells probably help.

    Brighid,
    You are right. Well meaning interference with nature rarely breeds good results especially in areas where poor weather conditions or human intrusion makes being an animal a struggle.

    Reader Will,
    How interesting to have resident hedgehogs. They are a novelty here purchased in stores.

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  19. I LOVE Deer....I use to see them all the time, up here on my Hill....my property was a path for the dear. It was always a great treat to see these very BEAUTIFUL animals...Especially when it was a family. So, I understand your feelings, my dear...Maybe you should plant some Deer food----then you would see them all the time.

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  20. I have hundreds (literally) of deer that share my property with me. I love them and do everything in my power to make them comfortable. They have their own water trough and in the deep of winter I sometimes let a bale of grass hay laying around. They are such beautiful, graceful creatures.

    How fun that they visited you!

    xxoo,

    RMW

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  21. The Internet is fabulous for getting information. I can no longer do without it now. I confess I could do without deer in my backyard, but I'll enjoy watching them elsewhere. You write such wonderfully entertaining posts, Patti!

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  22. This was actually A tense post lol. You had me on the edge of my seat wondering what it was. Thankfully it was only Bambi :)

    But I had no idea they made a hissing sound? We have had bears spotted here in my area recently.

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  23. So interesting about the noises! I didn't realize they did that.

    You, Lady, have a very kind heart. I think they're beautiful, too. (Can't say the same for squirrels!)

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  24. I'm glad it was only deer, and not a bear! We've seen a good bit of wildlife in our yard, but not deer. They are probably in the southern part of the city where it is more rural.

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  25. Mmmm. Deer are disgustingly common around here. WOOF! So I was hoping you'd get that "sucked aboard the mother ship" photo. Or maybe an appearance by BIGFOOT....:)

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  26. I love seeing deer, but I am not wild about the creatures who denude my cherry tree every year just as the hard little green fruit is coming on.

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  27. Not sure how I missed commenting on this ...I am not sure I would have ventured out after returning Mighty to saftey.!!!but I'm glad it was a deer ....sorry he ate your fruit though xx

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  28. RMW,
    Well done. I had a friend like you in Florida. She and her husband lived on a huge ranch and he always said his biggest grain bill came from his wife feeding the deer. A whole herd would line up each morning for corn.

    Kay,
    Thank you, glad you think so.
    I am sure Art wouldn't want his trees chewed on.

    Keith,
    Thanks, it was tense for me at the time. Now bears do scare me. They are just so darn powerful.

    marylee,
    I know of your feelings about squirrels. Some of your funniest post come from your battles so they are not all bad.

    TB,
    Ha, truth be known the sound was so weird I was thinking big and furry. In Florida we called Big Foot "skunk ape" for they supposedly really smell awful. Not smelling anything foul, I felt secure on that front anyway.

    Linda,
    You would think green fruit would give them a belly ache. This guy waited till my fruit were almost ready to pick.

    Angie,
    Not the smartest move I have ever made. I would have felt better about the fruit if he had just stayed around so I could see him. Oh well....

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  29. I dread the visits from the deer because they eat my flowers and because the frequent our area so much, I can't grow the flowers I really want to grow. I also love looking at them. They are so beautiful. We have some fawns running around now. Yesterday, we saw a fawn literally kicking up her back heals. She was adorable. My husband and I both enjoyed seeing her so much and I think she was a bright spot in the day. So, I guess I have a love/hate relationship with them.

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  30. I definitely have deer and moose visiting. I noticed something chopped all my blue columbine in the back garden. However, the Delphiniums - which I know they love - were spared. They haven't quite flowered yet, so maybe that's why. The moose mainly strip the aspens. When you live in the wild and have a "wild" garden, you also have wild visitors (mostly nonhuman).

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  31. Wow.

    What a walk!

    We don't have deer here in the low desert but I have so many friends who cannot garden or plant because of them.

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  32. Retired English Teacher,
    Well I guess the little fawn was paying you back for all the good grub. That had to be a delightful sight.

    Barb,
    Goodness you have a crew of landscape ruiners. Must make it hard to garden at all.

    Jenny,
    I realize they are not welcome by most, especially gardeners. I guess if I were more serious, I'd resent them also.

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