Saturday, September 27, 2014

Chewing Creatures

Marley having a nice lie down in my kitchen porch chair this summer, before she tore that screen down The deer ate my nasturtiums this summer. They kept my apple tree’s leaves trimmed at an even height across the bottom, chomped on my columbines, stripped the leaves and buds from the roses, ate the potato plants back to nubs, consumed the cosmos, and even munched the mallow that my mother once was pleased to tell me is a weed. A tasty weed to a deer, apparently. Deer will be deer. This is the first time since I moved here in 1977 that they have been so bold as to graze inside the fenced yard. As far as they are concerned, the fence is nothing. I don’t like their chewy depredations, and may have said a few unkind words about them. My flowers make me happy, and losing them to the deer makes me sad. I’ve always had a “live and let live” attitude toward the deer, but they are not letting my plants live now, and it is causing some hard feelings. But the plants will grow back, mostly, if the deer stay away for a while, which they seem to do. They come in and feast, then go away for a few weeks. Today I have a different kind of chewing situation. I didn’t sleep well last night, and had to get up early this morning, so was looking forward to having a nap this afternoon. When I got home, I let the dog out and went into the bedroom to lie down. A couple of hours later when I woke up I went into the kitchen to let the dog in. Now, here’s the thing about my dog. Marley has separation anxiety. Perhaps it is because she was abandoned more than once before VIPP rescued her, or perhaps it is simply her anxious nature. A couple of times in the past when she was on what she considered the wrong side of a door, she tried to chew her way through it, leaving a splintery patch in the door jamb. Today she freaked out because I left her outside, and because I was asleep I didn’t hear her trying to get in. She had shredded the screen I had hanging in the doorway. It was one of those screens you see on TV, that is two pieces with magnets that hold it together in the middle. It was an ideal solution to the problem of the dog wanting in and out in good weather. Once she learned to go through it, she could go in and out as she wished, and the screen kept out the usual plague of flying insects that get in the house in the summer. No mosquitoes or mosquito hawks, no big slow buzzing flies, no regular house flies, no moths. I really enjoyed not having them. Well, that screen is history now, and I’m sorry for that, but she also tried to chew her way through the door again. The small chewed patch in the door jamb is now a big chewed patch, with large splinters sticking out, and more large splinters lying on the porch, plus a little blood from where she hurt herself on the splinters. A close inspection of the interior of her mouth with a flashlight showed me the abrasions on her gums. No splinters there, thank goodness. It is gratifying to have a dog who wants to be with me; however, it would be nice if Marley didn’t freak out in such a destructive way to herself and the house when she has an anxiety attack. Some of you will say it was my fault for leaving her outside and going to sleep. I can’t deny it, as usually I would not do that, but I was so tired. So now the flying bugs are with me – those big buzzing bombers, and tiny little gnats or whatever they are. At least there is more food for the indoor spiders (always trying to look on the bright side). Oh well. The dog will heal. It is autumn now, and the door will be closed more than open. I can get a new screen next summer. When I got up this morning and went out to have coffee on the porch, I saw one small, pale lavender cosmos flower blooming amidst the chewed off stumps of the rest of the cosmos, and it made me feel better somehow. The deer didn’t get them all. Life will keep trying. Good to know. Addendum: A few days after I wrote this, I noticed a white crab spider living on that single cosmos bloom. It's been there now for about a week.

1 comment:

Barbara Millikan said...

I can relate; but most of my depredations have been caused by two legged members of the animal kingdom rather than four. Our self appointed gardener here at the apartment complex removed my rock rose while I was away for a week, and when I confronted him about it (I'd been carefully nursing it back to life after the roofers dropped the roof on it) he said it was too much work to maintain. Grrrr. And then he removed the little patch of everbearing strawberries out by the parking lot. The kids (and me too) loved them. I bet he thought they were messy. I came home one day and found the kids fencing with my bamboo tomato stakes, the plants flat on the ground. And it was probably the next door 3 yr old who picked several of my green dwarf meyer lemons (1") and threw them on the sidewalk. They had tooth marks. Sigh. So this is commiseration. City or country there's always some attrition to the garden.