November 20, 2009
A deer ate the Walliser's jack-o-lanterns
Photo by Jessica Walliser

My son’s pumpkin (written about in a previous post) made a terrific Jack-o-Lantern for Halloween.  He was thrilled to watch it grow, and he was more than happy to design Jack’s face and take part in the carving. 

But a Halloween night visitor found Jack and left him face down on the front walk.  At first I thought we had a neighborhood prankster (I couldn’t imagine how since nearly everyone on our little street is at or beyond retirement age).  Then I realized Jack wasn’t smashed…he was eaten.

We’ve had a female deer prancing around our front yard for the past few weeks, nibbling the random hosta and occasional coral bell. 

I don’t mind her taking a few bites of my plants this time of year, but, golly, did she have to ruin our ‘art’ work?  The pumpkin’s face was now a gaping hole with a candle in it and deer tracks were everywhere.  Disappointing for sure. 

A gardening friend told me to be happy that the deer didn’t eat the pumpkin while it was still on the vine.  At least we got to harvest and carve it, right?  That doesn’t make me feel any better.  Phoey.

Outside of our marauding deer, life in the garden is beginning to wane.  The perennial beds have been cleaned out and put to bed.  The veggie patch has been limed and cover crops have been planted.  Lots and lots of daffodil bulbs are still waiting in the garage (a handful of Allium ‘Globemaster’ have already found their way into the garden), and the leaf clean up continues…and continues….and continues…

I am suffering from leaf-induced insanity and have officially requested a leaf-sweeper for Christmas.  We have a large maple in the front yard and lots of gargantuan maple, cherry, and tulip trees in the back so the raking is non-stop.  The by-product of all the raking does make it worthwhile…eventually (when the leaves finally rot down into compost). 

But it is such a backbreaking chore.  The neighbor has a leaf-sweeper on the back of his tractor.  I just lean on my rake and watch him zip up his own leaves while mine taunt me from below.  I need one of those.  It’s a good thing I’ve been so good this year.

Even if I do get my coveted sweeper, I will continue to do some raking at least; for what would fall be if there were no piles of leaves for my son to jump in?  But, one small pile will provide a good hour’s entertainment.  There’s really no need for the mountain.

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