Jessica Walliser
February 17, 2011

It has been a cold, snow-covered winter—certainly not as much snow as last year, but the cover has been consistent for more than two months. It’s good for the plants, I suppose—a bit of extra insulation and some protection from the deer is never a bad thing. 

Speaking of the deer, they are now consistently jumping our back fence every night.  I find fresh tracks each morning when I trek out to the chicken coop. They’ve nibbled some young branches from our fruit trees and feasted on the yews by our shed. I went to the nursery yesterday and bought some deer repellant and more netting. I’m going to head out this afternoon and put it on. 

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I’m feeling a little guilty about it, though. This has got to be a tough winter for the deer, and I’m sure they’re really hungry. On our way to school this morning, my son and I saw a doe and four youngsters cross the street in front of the car. They looked like they could use a good breakfast. I’ve been wondering how it would go if I started buying dried corn on the cob and piling them in the back clearing, outside of and well beyond our fence. I’m not sure if it would help keep them out of the yard or if it would draw more in. I wonder the same about a salt lick.  Anyone have any experience with it? 

Of course, our fruit trees and the yews mean a lot to both our lunchboxes and our landscape, so I will head out to protect them. But I can’t help thinking about the hungry deer this winter—and we have another month to go. What’s a gardener to do?

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