It had been a long winter so this past weekend was a true gift. The sun was shining, the air was warm and all of the last few remnants of snow were melting. People were out walking, jogging and moods were definitely lighter. A weekend of raking dog poop and dead leaves was in store for me. I looked forward to shedding the heavy sweaters and soaking up the sun.
I raked, I rested, and I poked around in my garden to see what had survived the winter. I do not have much of a green thumb and I work hard for each blossom. I was happy to see that the daffodils were ready to bloom and leaves on many of the other plants were popping through the soil. I remembered that the other day I had noticed the leaves of my 'pig squeak' plant were turning a deep red color. I had bought the plant two summers ago because I loved the name. Pig Squeak has a pretty pink blossom which I had yet to see so I had been optimistic that this year would be 'the' year. Odd. I looked at the location of 'Pig Squeak' and saw some stubby plant sitting in its place. Where did my 'Pig Squeak' go? I walked closer and my knees creaked as I bent down to see what this stubby, no-leaved plant was doing in my garden.
I looked closer since I didn't have my glasses on. I shook my head. I sat down in total disbelief and shock. This stub was 'Pig Squeak'. Something had chewed the poor thing right down to the ground. I could almost see the teeth marks. I felt like someone had taken a bite out of me. What type of critter would do such a thing?
I sucked it up and kept working. I tried not to glance in the direction of my poor 'Pig Squeak'. I wasn't sure what to do for him. As a mom, I always gave my kids a bag of frozen peas when they had a bump or bruise to help ease the pain but I didn't think it was appropriate to put a frozen pea on 'Pig Squeak'. I am hoping that with time he will heal.
I continued raking in the backyard. I noticed that the piles of dog poop were much less out in the back which was a positive. But then I noticed the black marbles - piles and piles of them - everywhere. My yard was full of landmines in the form of deer poop! We have lived in this house for almost eight years and this was a first. We see deer walk through the far backyard on a regular basis but they never have ventured this close to our house. Wouldn't Bambi be encouraged to stay on the other side of the stonewall once he heard my dog barking and howling?
So I began raking up the deer poop. It was fresh and squishy. My mood was turning foul. I now knew who decided 'Pig Squeak' would make a great salad. Bambi. I have always been a huge Bambi fan. My youngest son loved the story of Bambi and I read that book at many a bedtime. As I worked to remove the smushed up deer poop from my rake tines I wasn't feeling as if Bambi and I were on very good terms.
I tried to shake off my grumpiness and focus on all of the good things in life. My mind wandered to the trip I would soon be making to go visit mom and dad in Florida. I thought about how much dad used to love to garden and of the little garden he had planted at my home five years ago. It is on a tiny plot right up against the foundation. Peonies, irises and tulips love it there. It reminds me of a time when my dad was in better health and could work in the soil with his hands.
Actually, the tulips should be close to blooming soon. I took a break from raking deer poop to go visit dad's garden. I love the way the red and yellow tulips sway in the breeze. I turned the corner and stopped dead in my tracks. There was not one tulip to be found. I crouched down and found that my tulips were the victims of the same violence as 'Pig Squeak.' Chewed right down to the soil - little stubs left for me to enjoy.
Now I became truly irritated. I call my gardening friend and told her my plight. I was informed that Bambi loves tulips. I was still confused. For all these years, the deer had never touched my tulips or any other plant. Why now? Initially I couldn't even be rationale and I didn't care to be at that moment. I went to the stonewall which separates our 'manicured' lawn from the vast acreage beyond. Our land eventually connects to a 10,000 acre state park. I climbed on top of a weathered boulder and lifted my rake to the sky. I denounced Bambi and warned him to stay on his side of the wall. Do not cross the wall. My brain raced as I tried to think of various ways to keep Bambi on his side of the yard. I remembered back to when I shared a room with my sister and the imaginary line we would make in our room to keep our halves divided so she wouldn't touch my stuff. It never worked well. Maybe I could hang some type of noise maker along the entire wall. Maybe I could get a dog that barks and howls at the slightest noise or shadow - oh, right, I already have a dog that does exactly that.
I climbed down from my boulder and put my rake away. Not wanting to find any more damage done by Bambi I went inside feeling much less positive than I had a few hours earlier. Enough of the great outdoors for one day.
As the evening wore on I became more rational. It had been a rough winter with record amounts of snowfall and the deer had to work hard to find food. Housing development hasn't helped their cause either. Bambi can't walk into the local market to purchase the makings for a salad. I tried to put a positive spin on it but it was difficult. I kept thinking about my little 'Pig Squeak.'
My gardener friend tells me that daffodils are a better bet - the deer hate them. So Bambi, maybe next year I will have a field of daffodils with an occasional tulip thrown in just for you ~ just stay away from my 'Pig Squeak'.