As anyone who gardens will attest, there are no shortage of pests competing with you for your food. From voles who eat my beets to aphids that munch on my lettuce, it seems like we are always in a defensive mode. Except during the winter.
In the winter the garden has been "put to bed" and most animals are hibernating. There is little out and about to be concerned with. Little, but not nothing. The deer are still grazing!
New Year's morning. We had been out late (2am) at our friends' house celebrating the end of 2010 and the start of 2011. The weather had been chilly for days and the animals' waters were frozen over. I woke up at 8am worried about everyone and got up to break ice off the water, give the sheep oats and toss scratch to the chickens. Me getting up woke up Jeremy and he went out as well to check on things (always concerned about water pipes given our current main breakage). Just as we had both gotten back in side and were warming up, I noticed movement through the kitchen window. Upon closer examination, here is what I saw ...
DEER! Munching on my strawberries! You can't see it in the picture, but there are two more about 15 feet away helping themselves to the raspberry canes. Now I know I should be OK with this. After all, it's all part of living in the country and the plants are dormant so the deer weren't killing anything. But these same deer do serious damage in the spring, when the little baby plants are sprouting. My slightly hung over, very tired New Year's day brain could think of only one solution - shoot them!
Don't worry, we didn't; but here was my rationale as I pleaded with Jeremy in the kitchen to go get the shotgun: 1. There are plenty of deer out here. 2. We are nearly out of red meat and Jeremy was skunked during hunting season. 3. They will destroy my garden in a few months. But Jeremy's rationale won out: 1. It 8am on New Year's morning and our neighbors might be a little ticked at a shotgun going off. 2. Hunting season is long over, so it would be illegal.
I hope those deer realize how lucky they are that I don't know the combination to the gun safe!