Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Rats in the Berry Patch

Yesterday morning as I was leaving for work, our new hyper-sensitive alarm system (Bella the half-Beagle), went into frantic alert mode.  Many times when that happens, I'm unable to determine the cause, but a quick glance down the line of her furry nose into the back yard directed me to the danger source.  The large furry rat pictured at the right was moving around my garden.

Mrs. ProfessorRoush directed me to run to get my camera to photograph the beautiful young maid, and so I did, only to return and find that the brazen hussy (I'm referring to the deer here, not Mrs. ProfessorRoush) was climbing through the currently unelectrified fence right before my camera lens (as seen at below left), and proceeding to sample my prized strawberry patch!   So much for deer jumping over fences and obstacles;  this doe was so well-fed and lazy that she thought she'd just push her way through.

My flash was going off automatically in the dim morning light for the first few photos, and it attracted the doe's attention (as seen in the first photo above), but did not deter it.  Casting aside my awe and joy at this unexpected appearance of Nature in favor of the survival of my luscious strawberry future, I sprinted outside to shout and wave my arms at the invader.

It was then I noticed that there were not one, but TWO does present, the second already in the middle of the vegetable garden, camouflaged against the grayed walls of my compost bins (as shown at the right).   With my luck, this one had already ate her fill of the strawberry plants.   Both deer initially stared at me with disdain, and then began to turn away when they finally realized that I wasn't going to shut up until they left.

Preferring the peace and quiet of the prairie to the loudly antic and frantic hominid, both deer slowly ambled towards the bottoms, taking their time and occasionally glancing back to see if I was gone and they could return to a quiet meal.   Shaking my fists and making "bang, bang" sounds didn't seem to hurry them up one bit, either.

Now, since Daylight Saving Time is gone, I've got to run home at lunch soon so I can fix and turn on the electric fence and perhaps leave a few little peanut butter treats hanging from the electric wire.  It's simply too bad that it is illegal for a gardener to hook up the electric fence directly to the household current isn't it?  Maybe just this once, for the sake of the strawberries?


  1. Yup, rats with antlers (not in this case, tho, since these are does). I was talking about deterring deer with a fellow garden club member a few weeks ago, and she swears by the motion activated sprinkler. It may be worth a try for you, if you have any hope of getting berries from this patch next summer.

    1. I have a sure-fire home brew that will repel them. If it becomes known that I've applied it to my strawberry patch, however, other humans may also not want to sample the strawberries. Which, with my love for strawberries, is not necessarily a drawback....?

  2. I love the deer that hang around our house in the summer but I do agree that it's so frustrating when they eat all the flowers. We managed to deter them by hanging CD's on the trees which shone in the sun and kept them away. Helen

  3. I find that our German shepherds seem to keep deer away. Occasionally I see tracks in the draw, but I've not seen any sign of deer in our gardens or near the house. I know they are in the neighborhood, as we do see them along the road sometimes. Maybe Bella needs a new, larger pack-mate?!


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