Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Suburban Wildlife

Animals.  We've got 'em.  In our little neighborhood alone we've seen: garter snakes, alligator lizards, salamanders, tree frogs, mice, moles, rats, squirrels, foxes, raccoons, wild rabbits, deer, and birds too numerous to mention.  I'm sure I've missed a few species.  Coyotes, skunks, porcupines...

Everybody loves the furry ones.  They're so cuuuuute!

Cute?  Yah, okay.  Nuisance?  Definitely.

I just do not understand how we 'city folks' (okay, suburban) have so much more trouble with wildlife than our friends in The County.  Take those adorable raccoons for instance.

Last summer I realized the boys were outgrowing our little pool, and decided not to store it for another winter.  Just when I was ready to post it on craigslist, two raccoons decided to use it as a playground and popped the inflatable ring around the top.  (eyes roll)  I have patched and I have patched... and that was the end of the pool.  And if that isn't enough, apparently they have fantastically toxic poo, with millions of roundworm eggs that can survive for years in the soil.  We've seen so many raccoons my yard may qualify with the EPA as a Superfund clean-up site.  Fabulous.

The squirrels and birds I don't mind so much, since I don't have a garden yet.  (A project for next year.)  But I'm not overly fond of the Dawn Patrol, singing at 4:30a.m. every morning.  Also, the squirrels do dig in my flower beds, endlessly burying and retrieving the peanuts my retired neighbors supply all year long.  (Do the squirrels ever figure out that they don't have to bury them - there will be more tomorrow?  Or that the jays watch them from the trees and come take nearly every nut they bury?  Life has so many questions.)  And the birds... good grief.  If I find any more blue feathers I'll be able to reconstruct an entire Steller's Jay.

And our yard?  Well.  The moles are having a field day... oh, I crack myself up.

But the deer... the deer.  Those long-legged scavengers.  They eat my plants.  Not the weeds.  Only the pretty ones.  Roses, impatiens, tulips, balloon flowers, Chinese lanterns, hosta, burning bush maples, and even - sob - my stargazer lily.  Kerry likes to buy those.  Frankly, I find them overwhelming in the house, but one year he bought me a live one, which survived nicely in the yard.  It managed to escape the notice of the deer until it bloomed.  It had seven enormous buds.  (The operative word there being had.)  Two opened and filled the yard with their glorious fragrance.  For one day.  That night the deer came and promptly ate the plant down to a nub.  I couldn't even find it this year.  Gone.

My tree-hugger neighbor would probably sigh and talk about how we've encroached on and destroyed the deer's natural habitat.  (Rotten humans, you know.)


This neighborhood has been here for  more than a hundred years.  I have pictures.  That deer has not been encroached on.  We were here first.  It knows a free lunch when it sees one!

All of which put me decidedly in the wrong frame of mind to re-read The Yearling.  Because at the end of the book when Jody's yearling deer keeps eating their crops the minute they sprout, and he tries to build a fence (which would have to be a good 10 to 12 feet high to be any good - trust me) and is completely avoiding reality...  You're supposed to get all weepy and sympathetic for him and his love for the pest pet deer.  But I couldn't muster up any compassion.  Your family is hungry?  Just shoot the d*#n thing and eat it for dinner.  Because I'm all about being soft headed hearted. 

So there you go.

That's the way it stands between me and the deer.  ;D


Felicity said...

Things like this are only nice when you live far away, and don't see those kind of animals. I'm sure other people would think it cute if we had an elephant ploughing through our garden and eating our trees! (WE don't have them here, don't worry)
Sorry that the deer keeps eating all your flowers...

The dB family said...

Oh deer! ;o)! You do have a battle on your hands. It is strange how you're in the 'burbs and so pestered by them when out here in the boonies we have yet to see one. I guess it's because hunting season can't happen in the suburbs and those stinkers know it! You're going to have to have chicken wire over your garden when you have one. Not fun!


Q said...

Well, if they're on your property, are they not fair game? (No pun intended.)

Doug Hibbard said...

Lock and load, that deer will make good chili this fall.


melanie said...

I was going to tell you on the last mention of the long legged rats. Can you get a cattle panel or two? It's fencing... stiff metal with lots of cross pieces (think cross hatch quilting ;-) almost) My 'neighbor' up the creek had to lay the stuff over her strawberries to keep the deer out ~ They don't like to walk on it. Or they would walk through her lovely patch pulling up plants by the roots, nibbling a few leaves, then drop them :p

Um, yeah, you have a good scout crew... Lock and load, like Mr. Hibbard said.

Loudest Mom said...

I feel your pain....we have deer as well, but it's the moles that kill me on a daily basis :)

Choate Family said...

We don't have many of those furry mammals here, only rats, ugh. The rest of our critters are scaly, swim in the sea, or both. Maybe you should move and join us ;-)

Ann said...

I'm rolling with laughter! Our farmers around here would commiserate for sure - some of them are on their third soybean planting because of those stinkin' deer!