Lakeside Living 6: Dear deer by Ruth Ross Saucier

     When your new house is sited on a deer path, you get a revitalized appreciation for many things in life: deer-resistant plants [your deep-seated desire to raise geraniums is utterly thwarted], deer deterrents, and matted deer nests in your flower beds. 

     When your new neighbor (whose house was also sited on the deer path) decided to plant vegetable gardens, but found them regularly decimated, I helpfully recommended a motion-sensitive sprinkler.  The sprinkler was modestly successful at driving off the deer, but it also soaked visitors (me) and delivery people with equal abandon.  No lasting harm there, but when a local dog found the sprinkler to be a joyful experience, he trampled the entire garden into a muddy mess.

     My then husband who was new to the depredations of deer, was delighted when mama and her spindly-legged baby wandered through the yard lightly trimming the hedge.  She then brought baby over to nibble on my only surviving rose, gently pulling off leaves.

     “Well, that isn’t so bad,” he said, “At least she’s leaving the flowers behind.”

     “Really? That’s not usual…” I said, as she inhaled an entire blossom, one huge delectable mouthful.     But we immediately forgave them, for the speckled baby was undoubtedly hungry, and we could not find it in our hearts to deny her. (The rose bush made several comebacks over the years, but finally disappeared when a beaver nipped it off at ground level and dragged it over the frosty grass to the lake. No doubt it was considered a prize for nailing together a lodge nearby.)

     It was early afternoon, though, when we experienced another deer habit.  Mom had twins that year, and they were daily visitors, grazing as they meandered through the yard.  But this afternoon, they grazed as usual and then bedded down. They stayed in the yard for nearly four hours, grooming and stretching, nibbling and napping. 

     No sign of mama, no sign they were ever going to leave.  It was pretty clear that mom had told them that only old people lived here, so they would be safe hanging out until she returned.  Then mom finally returned, gathered them up, and they were gone. 

     Only later did we discover that this is a normal part of the weaning process…but for a while, we were grandparents to twins.


  1. As annoying as they may be, they chewed my impatiens and sweet potato vine to the dirt, they are beautiful animals and so thankful to share my little space. The doe here had twins, too. Fascinating creatures. Thank you for sharing your deer story.



  Foiled and hand-colored card   I continue to bring in cards to the food bank where I volunteer weekly. Since we are past Mother’s Day, I’v...