Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The deer are taking over!

Is it the time of year? Is it because they know my dog isn't allowed to chase them? What is it that causes the deer in my yard to have such courage, such audacity, such chutzpah? I catch them rubbing up against my siding while eating my plants. I catch them walking toward my cats, looking them straight in the eye, as if to say, "Get outa my yard, you silly cat!" But, this tops it all.

Yesterday while I was at school, Scott heard the doorbell ring. It was one of our CSA shareholders. I'm sure he thought she would be concerned because someone had taken her egg share or her fruit -- that's the usual complaint. No, when he answered the door, she meekly said, "Um, there's a deer under your deck. And it's eating someone's flower bouquet." (Yes, our CSA offers not only veggies, fruit, and eggs, but also a cut flower share!) Scott looked out the door and saw another frightened looking woman standing at the bottom of the stairs. Right as he began to say, "Well, yell at it and scare it off..." Callie interrupted him. She was under the deck waving her arms and yelling, "GET OUTA HERE, DEER! GET OUTA HERE!" How is it that a three year old girl can deal with deer more effectively than two forty-something women? Luckily, the deer only got a few nibbles of the gladiolas.

Those gladiolas were still under the deck in their bucket at seven o'clock this morning when I left for my morning walk. They were beautiful blue and purple ones, and if their rightful owners didn't come collect them by mid-morning, I was planning to add them to my bouquet inside. As I walked down the driveway, I passed two mama deer and their babies. They skittered off when they saw Libbie (even though she was leashed and no threat to them). The thought that they might finish off the flowers never even crossed my mind. When we returned from our walk, they were loitering in the driveway again, probably taking a digestive rest. Libbie tried to chase them off, straining at the end of her leash and sending gravel flying everywhere as the deer took off into the open space. Libbie and I walked up the driveway and I immediately saw the damage...all of the gladiolas were gone.


All of them.

And apparently the deer were still hungry after finishing off the bouquets so they started in on my "deer resistant" plants. The deer nibbled the tops right off of them. The deer have been so good all summer; it's the first summer I haven't had a problem with them. Until yesterday. Grrr...somebody teach me how to use a bow.


Court said...

You seem to always have deer problems. Was is last year that you were able to add the beautiful decor to your laundry room (or where ever he ended up)? I didn't realize that you were running a CSA out of your house.

Hillary Dickman said...

Yeah, we do have major deer problems (see But, that's better than my friend Laura's problem...she had a bear living under her back deck. And most of the cats in our neighborhood eventually become food for the coyotes and foxes.

I am the neighborhood's crazy organic produce lady. We have about 22 families who come pick up their produce and eggs from us every Tuesday. When they forget or are out of town, I find some lucky neighbor who wants the box of food. Sometimes being the dropoff person is a pain, but most of the time it's fun. Well, especially now that school's back in and I'm gone during the pickup time. FYI: I get nothing in return from the farm. Except that I don't have to drive to pick up my food. And the occasional half-eaten bouquet of flowers!

Susi said...

Hey, can you tell me about your CSA? I've been thinking about it and calculating costs this year. I really love the idea. What's your experience with it? Thanks!

Hillary Dickman said...

Hi, Susi! You might check out Grant Farms' website for more specific information about the CSA. It's We really love the whole idea of the CSA and it has worked beautifully for us this year. I used to spend between $175-$225 per week on groceries, mostly at Whole Foods and some at Costco. This summer and so far this fall I've been spending closer to $100 a week, mostly at Costco. And I think the cost of our CSA items comes to about $24/week for veggies and eggs. Because I don't need to go to the grocery store for produce, I end up just going once every two weeks to Costco and stocking up on the necessities. For us, that's cereal, some fruit, fish (the wild salmon at Costco has been great this summer -- I've stocked up and frozen some), dairy, bread, and bison. About once a month I pick up some frozen grass fed beef and happy pork at Back to the Basics on Vickers and Academy. Their prices are really reasonable.

Since we just bought a half pig and ordered chickens, turkeys, a duck, a goose, half a lamb, and a quarter grass-fed beef, I don't see myself buying meat in a store for the rest of the year. When the CSA ends in mid-December, I'll have to start shopping for produce again.

One of the things that has made this all possible for us is having a huge freezer. We got a 21 cu ft freezer from somebody on Craigslist at the beginning of the summer. It's hidden down in our basement and it's been a HUGE help to me. Not only for the meat, but also for making meals out of our leftover veggies and freezing them. It's a little work, like last Sunday when I was in the kitchen all day making batches of pesto and several spinach lasagnas, but I think it will be worth the effort.

The other thing is that, since I don't have to go to the store as often, I think I end up spending significantly less just because I don't buy things at random. That's been a nice change. The only bummer, I guess, is that there's never any extra food in my house. We only have what we really need and when my kids want a snack, sometimes they get frustrated that their options are so limited.