Posts Tagged ‘deer’

This past Sunday we focused our Sunday Photos post on “rivers.” South Texas has been getting some spotty showers. Don’t get me wrong, every drop helps, but I have nothing to contribute about rivers at this point. In the beginning, I had even titled this post “This has nothing to do with rivers.”

Oh, sure, I can show you what the neighborhood dry creek beds looked like on Memorial Day weekend this year. That was great! It is just frustrating to not get much rain at all. Heat, Hot, Humid. Yuck. That is summer here (for me at least) and come this time of year I am more than ready for it to me over over OVER. This is also the time of year I talk about giving up trying to start a garden in the spring. I know it will start to cool off at some point. Hopefully I will feel better when that happens and I will get excited about starting the fall garden (at my own pace!)

scented geranium ready for selling at the jubilee this weekend.

scented geranium ready to selling at the jubilee this weekend.

This week I have a lot going on. The local garden club, that I am a part of, participates in the annual jubilee in our town. We sell plants that each member donates, and I donate a lot of plants that I have nursed a long throughout the summer. This year I also have made up 2 of the planters that are for the raffle. The deer, possums, and racoons have been less than helpful over the past month and a half. I go out and find the majority of the pots nibbled down to nothing or plain old dug up. I’ll tell ya, it is hard to get a nice pot of succulents or greenery looking at its best in order to sell raffle tickets with those kinds of set-backs.

You know when you really want to cry but all you can do is laugh... that was me. Finally decided to bring the raffle planters inside each night. What a pain!

You know when you really want to cry but all you can do is laugh… that was me. Finally decided to bring the raffle planters inside each night. What a pain!

During all this, I took the plunge and bought a brand new laptop, complete with Windows 8. I was working my way through the Windows 8 part but the laptop started acting up. Looping on start-up, getting stuck. After days and days and hours each day talking to technical support the laptop just up and died. DIED! (this is #1 in this chain of technological events!)

You would think that would be enough. Nope. Then my cell phone died. Died! Dang it, that is #2 in this string of events.

My brother helped to calm me down and get me set up with a new phone. Oh, let’s make that a challenge too! I now am the proud new owner of an iPhone 4 (I don’t feel smart yet!) right in the middle of the week with so much going on. I am working through figuring out some stuff. Just working through why I couldn’t hear any calls on the phone or head set was downright frustrating… until I figured out I just needed to take off the plastic protect bit on the front of the phone. Oh, that is so much better. The fun part about the phone is that it has a Wisconsin area code, so I am just telling people that I moved to Wisconsin and got a new phone. Maybe I will get some peace and quiet for a while. haWhatI’d like to say it has just been one of those weeks, but in reality it has been 2+ of those weeks. To top it off, my brand new iPhone slid off the car seat and into my nice tall tumbler of water yesterday. YUP! Can you believe that? The next call was to my brother to ask if I had insurance on the phone (no, I don’t!) but it is still working. and Yes, I did put in a bag of rice.

After writing this all out I figured out a better title to this post, so I changed it. No tears have been shed, but things sure have been frustrating. I will tell you that it was nice and quiet around here for a few days without a computer or cell phone. Technology is sure nice when it works, just super frustrating when it doesn’t!

Somebody must be trying to tell me something…. I am a bit slow sometimes and I haven’t figured out what it is yet.

How has your week been turning out?

Sincerely, Emily

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The entire East line of our property (300′) is full of cedar (Juniper) trees. They are wonderful because they help keep the morning sun off our house and that helps to keep things cooler for a while. They offer shade for some of the herb and flower gardens from the morning sun. They provide habitat for the variety of birds that live in our area. They also provide shade for the clothes line, because the hot Texas sun will fade our clothes rather quickly otherwise.

Chinese Pistache (Pistacia chinensis)

Chinese Pistache (Pistacia chinensis)

Around here, you will hear a lot of people say that the cedar (Juniper) are invasive. You will also hear them say the steal water for other trees and plants. Well, an invasive (to me) is an opportunist. It takes advantage of areas and will continue to grow and produce seedlings if the conditions are right. Back in the day when buffalo roamed our area, there were not a  lot of cedar (Juniper) trees. The buffalo hoof traffic kept the cedar trees under control. Since the buffalo don’t roam here anymore the cedar trees have taken advantage of the situation and now grow everywhere.

I am not sure if the cedar trees steal water from other plants, I do know that when it rains an inch, that all the leaves living on the tree soak up that water before it hits the ground. After that inch of rain, it is completely dry underneath the cedar trees. So, if that is “stealing,” then I guess they do.

As the trees get taller and older, the bottom branches die off.  Around our house, we have worked at trimming them off as they do that. The last few years we have noticed that more and more of the cedar are dieing and we find ourselves trying to come up with a plan to plant other trees amongst them to start growing and replace the cedars as they die.

You’ve probably heard the question, ” when is the best time to plant a tree?”…… answer: 10 years ago. Nothing grows real fast here, so had we been on top of this 5 years ago we would be that much more ahead of this game now. Well, we are not, so the best time to plant a tree for us is NOW.

We have four Chinese Pistache (Pistacia chinensis) in our yard. They are very established and are wonderful. One of them produced a lot of babies last year so I dug up several and potted them up to get them growing and last fall we planted four of them in the ground and they are doing really well. This spring I was able to dig up more seedlings and we will get them planted this fall. We also have a Vitex (also known as Chaste tree & VERY deer resistant) that is growing in the clump of cedar in the front yard. It does not get enough sun so it is rather leggy and scraggly, but we have taken out three cedars that were around it and it is starting to look a lot healthier now. Last Spring I found two babies under it and potted those up to get established. Last fall we planted those up near the front of the property line so that as we take out more cedar they will be growing up and provide us with some replacement trees and privacy.

front yard project 4This is an ongoing process. I am not able to head out with the chainsaw and trim cedar limbs or take down tress right now, so we are doing it as my husband has time. Normally, I would load the truck and take all the cuttings to the recycle place, but I just can’t do that yet either.

Several weeks ago my husband went on a trimming spree and we had 4 truck loads of cuttings that he took to recycle. On one of his trips he brought back a load of mulch. I had a plan to start planting more in the front section of our lot near the street and had picked up another Vitex and several ornamental grasses to go with a few agave babies from our neighbor. My husband dug holes and I helped him plant everything. Then I put out the paper feed sacks and we (he) covered that all with mulch. It is doing well.

You can see the area of cedar in our front yard and a few more dead trees that need to come out.

You can see the area of cedar in our front yard and a few more dead trees that need to come out. You can also see the Vitex blooming (light pink) in the background.

I have plans to create some sort of berm using some of the tree trimming and cover it with dirt and plant on and around it, but that is really going to have to wait until I am completely recovered so I can take that on myself.

My husband is really starting to see the urgency of getting other things planted as he starts to see how many of our cedar are dieing. I am grateful that he has had the time to help with the trimming and planting to move things along. It is an ongoing project, but it is nice to see some progress and some things taking shape.

Are you working on any yard projects?

Sincerely, Emily

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The three water gardens we put in a few years ago are doing really well. In the one that is lower to the ground, we have frogs and toads using it and singing happily on various nights. The little minnow-type fish all also happy and multiplying in all three water gardens,  keeping them clear of nasty mosquito larva. I also have one open 55-gallon drum that catches water from a leaky rain gutter that I have also put those little fish in and they are working hard in there too.

Last spring when 2 mama deer decided our fenced in backyard was a perfect spot to have their babies. They thought it was great. I thought something completely different. since then there are a few deer that frequent the back yard every day…. munching their way through this and that (including all the native and “deer resistant” plants I have back there.

Oh Deer - water garden

I know there is never a guarantee to the “deer resistant” things, what makes me so mad is that things were going along great until these two mama deer had their brilliant idea.  While these deer make their daily and nightly visits one of them favorite treats seems to be the lily pads and water lilies!  Well, I fixed that. I put a piece of hardware cloth over each water garden. HA! it isn’t the prettiest things, but the lily pads and water lilies are able to grow  and do their thing.

This was a great quick fix. One of the water gardens has a metal cage around it and the hardware cloth is raised up above the water lever about 7″ giving the water lilies room to pop up out of the water and flower. The hardware cloth on the other water garden sits right on the top and the water lilies try to come up and bloom, but are scrunched and squished. So my husband built a quick little frame that would raise the hardware cloth up a bit so there is enough room for the water lilies to bloom.

watergarden project 2

What is great about this little renovation is that everything we already had everything that we needed sitting around waiting for just such a project! We didn’t have to buy a thing – that is always a great thing.

watergarden project 3My husband built a PVC frame that would raise the hardware cloth up higher and then he bent it down on two of the sides and trimmed excess off one end and added it to the front. That enclosed three sides so the deer couldn’t nose their way in between the top of the frame and the water garden to get at those scrumptious lily pads! So far, so good, The water lilies are able to pop up and bloom with all the room they need and we get to enjoy them.

One very small REAL Renovation success for us!

Do you have to protect something in your yard from deer or dogs? What is your solution?

Sincerely, Emily

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