135. Hard work down on the farm

You’ve heard the saying that if you cut your own firewood it warms you twice?

Our friend, Joe, offered it to us — free trees already cut down and trimmed and dragged to the side of the road.

So, a couple of weeks ago, on the hottest day of the year so far, we cut and hauled and stacked firewood for next year.

Warmed us, yes…

Even Joe teased us, “You aren’t supposed to be cutting firewood in May,” he laughed.

But we were grateful for it — and we will be especially grateful when it warms us that second time next January… Thanks, Joe.

The entire time we were working on firewood, I kept anxiously thinking of the garden, which was supposed to be perfect beds completed in April, but were still very unmade. No spring lettuce or greens or radishes or peas here.

So now the  7 ft  fence is in –though Mr. H. C. is still fretting that our herd of deer will be able to jump the low side — there is a beautiful gate (awaiting permanent fencing in the future) and a summer garden is planted.

garden gate

It’s a first year garden with only some random compost dumpings from last year, and some mushroom manure, so we were excited to find a nearby farm that offered CSAs. That will take the pressure off our poor, small, first-year garden plot (and the gardeners too…)

It took hours days weeks of work just to get these two beds dug, free of grass, fenced, and the third one tilled up. The third one is outside our fence, so it has to be filled with veggies and herbs the deer won’t eat; I know from experience, there is no plant alive that a deer won’t nibble on and perhaps ruin. At the city house, I gave up vegetable gardening the morning I discovered one bite taken out of all the green peppers. They also ate the hairy, spiky zucchini plants that they aren’t supposed to like. So I’m skeptical even about onions and garlic, but I took the chance. I’m also going to plant some rhubarb there in the hopes they will eat it and die.

Okay, I know that sounds rash, but fencing is expensive, people! And it takes time. And it is awkward — I’m bumping up against the Industral Deer Strength Netting all the time.

But truly, the deer are also eating our fruit trees, which I foolishly set free from their cages too soon. They looked so lovely, wild and set free from their prisons.   

until overnight, this happened:

 

So the trees are caged again to protect them from the evil deer, and Mr. H. C. is reading up on solar electric fences. 

And though I’m not counting the peaches before they’re ripe (there’s 16) the peaches look hopeful.   

And there are walnuts on the walnut tree…

13 thoughts on “135. Hard work down on the farm

  1. When I lived in the Mountains of Colorado the deer were always a problem with the garden. We built a great fence and managed to keep them out but then a gigantic herd of Elk came through and tore it down. I loved living in the mountains but now I am glad to be in town where my garden is relatively unmolested by wildlife.

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    • It’s so discouraging! But you know, even in the suburbs the deer were terrible. I realize they are pretty, but they eat everything! Even the junipers that were put in to be landscaping plants! At least we don’t have to worry about elk here in PA! 🙂

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  2. I would like you to know that I find your willingness to erect such a tall fence and protect those precious fruits, commendable. And, inspirational. And, there’s totally a moral in that story somewhere, too. 😉

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    • So the librarian in me wanted to come up with a snappy — “and the moral of the story is…” All I could think of though is that verse in Ephesians 4 — and those who have been stealing must steal no more.

      It’s the deer that should be in jail, not out fruit trees.

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  3. We are plagued with groundhogs!!! What a nuisance they are. 2 are under our shed, one under our deck and many down by the creek. The kind thing to do, I guess, is to live trap them and relocate them. But who would want them?! Perhaps we should try the Caddy Shack method!

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    • And I had to admit to my husband that I’d never actually seen caddy shack and now I might have to watch it. What you need is a lawn chair and a twenty-two — more on that in my next post…

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  4. Bill just reminded me that deer don’t like human hair. Perhaps your local hairdressers would donate their leftovers to your cause.

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  5. I feel your pain. Sometimes I literally feel hatred toward the deer. Especially when they bite the tops out of plants they don’t even eat, like my tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and okra. It used to be we didn’t have to fence those gardens in. Now we can’t grow anything without fences. They will destroy our watermelons, cantaloupes and winter squash too. It’s maddening. I read recently that there are 100 times more deer in the U.S. today than there were 100 years ago. 100 times as many!!!

    Good luck and I hope they’ll allow you some fruit and veggies this year. 🙂

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    • I read your posts about all your gardens and the farm and I’m in awe. And recently I’ve wondered how you solve the deer problem. In PA, if you are a commercial grower and you can prove deer damage, you can get permission to shoot them, but the rest of us just have to spend hundreds of dollars fencing our measly acreage if we want to grow anything. Sigh. I hope you beat them to your melons.

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  6. PS. I’ve had my fill of those pretty creatures. I hit one a couple years ago and our woods are still think with them. At night we have to be so careful on our country roads.

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    • I know! I didn’t even get started on driving at night and how dangerous it is. They are just a menace– and we have rid the countryside of their natural predators, so I guess we are to blame.

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