Tuesday, July 21, 2009

From the Garden

This little fellow was so pretty, perched on some water plants in the pond! I practically fell in trying to get close enough to snap his photo. There was a second dragonfly that was decidedly more...creepy. He was HUGE and bright orange and he was on a reed in the pond not more than a couple of feet from me. He kept...looking at me, I swear, he had these eyes and they were all...shudder. I just don't want to talk about him. Plus, I took about half a dozen pictures of him, and even though he was not moving (not even a little) they all came out completely blurry. Not the whole picture, just him, as though he were flying. But he was really just sitting there. Staring at me. Did you have an uncle who told you that dragonflies would sew your ears shut? I did, and that orange one kind of made me think that maybe he wasn't just a crank.

Other horrors from the garden...my strawberry plants. I know the signs. See the 'sticks' that are just poking up, where there used to be leaves and berries? Looks like the deer have been feasting. On Sunday my brother and his kids came over for a bbq and to do some swimming, so we were in the backyard for several hours. During that time, I got some clues as to why my tomatoes aren't currently thriving. Everything else in the main bed is humming and thriving. The eggplants, cucumbers, pumpkin, and watermelon are all chugging along. Even the yellow squash is perking up, after having mixed feelings about being transplanted. But my tomatoes were showing some of the same stumpy signs as my strawberries.

And, although I place the blame for the berry situation squarely at the feet of the dear, I think the tomato situation has a lot to do with the birds. I go to great lengths to try and convince birds to come into my yard. I have several feeders for seed and nectar, and they love the waterfall. It's like a wee bird spa, and I love watching the wild finches, sparrows, wild doves, and blue birds bathing and frolicking in the water. Between them and the fish (we have four koi in our pond) the little ecosystem has provided hours of staring entertainment for me.

And so I have mixed feelings. I love the birds. I love the deer. I love tomatoes. So I went to a local hardware store, thinking maybe some netting would do the trick? And, as happens so often, I bumped into a generous gardener who shared that he just ties strips of mylar around. Oh, yes, of course! I see this all the time in the vineyards. Duh. So yesterday I had a couple of hours in the afternoon and I worked on a sewing project and did some gardening. I put in stakes and posted terracotta pots all around, and added mylar strips. The mylar came as 'tissue paper' in the wrapping section of a local party supply store. I cut and tied strips to the the little posts, and directly to several tomato plants. I also tarted up the strawberries, though on further advice I'm drawing a big ol' scary eye onto a couple of paper plates. I'll place those in the garden today.

Apparently, the deer (as well as other pest-like animals) are not the sharpest tools in the shed. They see that eye and think somebody is staring at them and they won't come in. I feel bad for the deer because they are everywhere these days, along the hills surrounding the freeway and in all of our yards up here on the hill where there is still some open land. I am sure they're getting squeezed out by 'progress', and their food sources are getting scarcer. I'll plant something along the fence that they enjoy eating, so they can snack without coming down into the gardens, but I draw the line at sacrificing my strawberries!

1 comment:

  1. Alot of people here put in deer feeders to keep the deer around, but out of their gardens. You don't necessarily have to buy a feeder though...just get the bagged corn from a feed store and spread it around your fenceline each evening. They will quickly get used to the sound of the corn if you shake it before putting it out (use something tin) and will happily come and feed for your enjoyment...and then move along.