Monthly Archives: May 2008

Fencing continues

I’ve been spending a lot of my time protecting my hard work from deer depredations. My new strawberry bed had been munched on a few times before I managed to get them protected with some roll up chicken wire covers.

The biggest fencing job is what we’re calling the dog pasture. The fencing will enclose a portion of the front yard that will contain the dogs and will include the areas currently planted and all the small fruit trees. The fence should discourage the deer from wandering through and keep out some of the bunnies. It should catch fall leaves which will compost in the gardens I’m placing around the perimeter. The fence will serve as trellising for fruits and vegetables and the posts serve as perches for birds who will add their poop to the gardens as well.

The fencing is now 2/3 complete and the front garden is half finished and planted with 4 varieties of melons and a zucchini and some mint varieties to attract insects.

The walkway entrance has changed a little because there will soon be a gate. To make space for the gate and allow for quick shelter during a downpour, I removed one of the boxwood shrubs and moved it to the other side of the big holly bush on the right.

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Thieves!

A crime was committed in my little shade garden. I finally came across some good shade plants. I planted a Coral Bell, a Foamflower, a couple of Calla Lilies and one Hosta.

The victim of the crime is the Hosta which has just recently started to bloom. The thief got away without witnesses, but left a calling card behind. And what was stolen, you may ask…

Nectar! Tubular flowers have evolved to force an insect to pass by the anthers, thereby picking up pollen, before they get paid with nectar. The thieves, a beetle or a kind of wasp have cut out a piece of the flower, before it opened, in order to get to the nectar first. So not only did the flower lose it’s nectar, but lost a chance to pollinate that flower. Dastardly insect!

More excitement

Previously, D’Argo had alerted me to a fawn sleeping in the front yard. When given the opportunity, both dogs thoroughly sniffed out the area, checking for deer poop, a canine delicacy. I had put the little deer out of my mind, assuming the doe wouldn’t leave the fawn in the same place because of predators. Boy, was I wrong.

I was heading for the mailbox, D’Argo on leash and Odo lagging behind in the heat, last Friday, one week after we found the fawn. When I got to the mailbox and looked back, there was no Odo in sight. I didn’t think anything of it at that moment, because he often waits in the shade for us to return or finds a private spot for any “business” he needs to attend to. As D’Argo and I walked back up the hill, D’Argo kept trying to stand up to see over the rise. When I looked to see what might have caught his attention, I saw Odo, with a happy face, looking at something and wagging his tail. As I panned to the right, I found the object of Odo’s delight: the little fawn, splay-legged, and clearly stressed. Of course just as I yelled “Odo, NO”, he takes off again, chasing the poor little creature, who is bleating like a lamb for help.

I ran around the curve of the driveway, D’Argo leading the way, trying to cut Odo off and was stopped by another scene. The little fawn, having decided there was no escape running, tucked it’s head and butted Odo in the side, then reared up and whacked Odo in the head with it’s little front hooves. Odo wasn’t fazed and was still attempting to sniff the fawn’s butt when I finally managed to intervene. With three enemies to deal with the fawn just stood staring as I pulled both Odo and D’Argo away from it. The poor little fawn was no bigger in size then D’Argo, but was a few inches taller with it’s long gangly legs. It had spunk though, trying to take on a predator twice it’s size. I’m sure it didn’t know what to make of the events it had just survived, but I was glad to see it start feeding soon after we got back to the driveway.

I will be SO glad when I have the fencing finished! In the meantime, apparently, I need to keep a much closer eye on Odo.

"What the…"

I was working on a new fence line garden in the front yard. D’Argo was out with me poking around. When he starting fussing, I looked up to see what he was looking at. Far up on the hill, in the shade of a group of post oaks, some kind of creature was moving. It was too far away to see clearly, but I thought perhaps an armadillo. It seemed to settle into the grass so, while D’Argo sat frustrated and whining, I went to take a look. Once I got a peek of the critter, I quietly moved away to get my camera.

This is what I found: a white-tailed deer fawn, not much bigger than D’Argo. (Click on the picture to enlarge it.) I’m glad I checked first, instead of taking the dog with me. It is awake, wiggling it’s nose at me. Since their first defense is to freeze, I knew it was safe to take some pictures. Once I saw the nose start to wiggle, I backed away and left it alone. The fawn’s presence explains why I see the same group of three deer in the front yard all the time. From the flattened grass under the tree, it was apparent that they slept there last night and left the fawn there for the day. Very cute. I’ll have to watch tonight for the return of the doe.