Saturday, October 9, 2010


I think Fall is here. Today I feel the chill in the air, and want to stay inside where it is cozy and warm, but there are still so many things to be done to get this little farm ready for winter, to put her to bed.

Everyday we pick tomatoes, hoping to get as many as we can before the first frost. But now we have to get them before the deer get them. For several mornings in a row now, I have awakened to find deer standing in our tomato field. Today it was three does, but more than once it has been the young buck I have caught eating my pumpkins too. Sometimes I can chase them off, and my two Chihuahuas are great for this task, and being behind a fence, the dogs never get close enough to get hurt, but the commotion they cause with their barking and tearing back and forth along the fence scare whole herds of deer away.

My usual experience is to run outside waving my arms in the air and shouting, but this guy just looks at me as he munches. I threw a piece of wood mulch at him, but I missed by a mile and he continued to chew.   As I approached him, asking him nicely to please stop eating my pumpkins, I eyed his antlers, and wondered how close he would allow me before he just decided to charge me instead. Would he do that? Was this battle over a green pumpkin, that probably wouldn't even reach maturity before the frost came, worth it? I shouted at him one last time, ready to run and was happy to see him trot away from the pumpkin patch.

The deer left me the top of the jack-o-lantern

The fish wind spinners my Aunt Sylvia let me borrow are not working against the deer either. Two mornings now I have found one of the nylon fish crumpled on the ground, it's fluttery tail several feet away. Is this the work of the deer? Are they trying to eat the fish too? Are they laughing at me in the night as they dismantle my deer obstacle course and chime haunted field?

I'm tired of yelling at deer. Let them have it, I say. Until we get the property fenced adequately, it is a losing battle. And, I can't help but think, when the deer come, the coyotes start coming too.

Fall is here.

Today was cool enough for me to make a chicken soup (mock chicken with broth and no chicken), and as I stood in the kitchen peeling potatoes and making biscuits, I was happily entertained by the birds singing outside the back door. I remember when we moved to this house a little over a year ago, there were no birds. I remember thinking, how odd, how horribly still it seems without birdsong. And Richard told me, "Don't worry, the birds will come." Sure enough, the birds have come to live in the junipers and eat bugs out of our gardens. What a wonderful thing.

Fall is one of my favorite seasons, followed by Spring, and as the leaves turn and the birds sing, we wind down from our hectic harvest and garden schedule to a more relaxed state of mind. There is still urgency--get the greenhouse covered and get the goat barn situated for winter, get the goats bred and start thinking about Christmas.

Welcome to Fall.

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