Visitors in the Night

I love early morning on the homestead. It feels so fresh and intimate. Seeing everything as it wakes up. Still damp and quiet. And the colors!

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It took long enough, and as soon as I saw it, I knew we were lucky to have lasted this long.  Now made perfect sense. It is fall after all. Plants are dying. Food is in shorter supply. And to tell you the truth, our garden is still looking extra yummy. Who could blame them?

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As I stood looking at my disturbed garden, I couldn’t help but smile. I kind of liked imagining a visit. Cooper did too. He smelled every moment of it. Scene, by scene. I could tell by how he paced around the chewed carrot greens and bean plant stumps.

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Are these teeth marks from the same creatures that roamed our yard in the spring, before the fence was finished? Was it the Mama and baby we saw on our walk the other evening?  Have these same animals been eying these very plants, each night, to finally make the leap last evening? Tentatively jumping over the fence, one by one. Keeping one ear out for that silly animal that barks incessantly. ‘Sleep, noisy creature’ they thought. I imagined that after a few minutes of nibbling, they sped off all at once. Heads whipping up in unison having heard something spooky in the wind. Then they were gone.

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So I don’t mind the scattered rocks, the chunks taken out of the carrot tops, the hoof prints in the carefully weeded, yet almost bare lettuce patch. Those traces feel like a secret gift, silently telling the story of a midnight snack. I am keenly aware that by planting this garden not only are our bodies interacting with the soil, but we are teaching our children about the gifts of the earth, making a statement about what we value by how we spend our time and money and what we choose to feed our family. Last night we participated in the neighborhood ecosystem. Yes, the deer are over populated, and our long term goal is not to grow food for the wildlife. But for a moment I was grateful. For the visit.  For a little more life here on the homestead. For the chance to interact with one of the few original inhabitants of this land. You know, before the lawns moved in.

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The giant fence and the dog both helped keep us deer-free all summer but we knew this was inevitable. Since this is our first year here, we are just learning about what fall looks like on the homestead. We love it all. Okay, even the deer bites.  Enjoy your snacks on me this fall, deer friends. But in the spring, I foresee another fence!



3 thoughts on “Visitors in the Night

  1. A good perspective of your garden raiders. They are hard to keep away. I’ve also heard that you can put a second fence around your first, spaced at 18 inches or so from the first. They don’t like to jump wide gaps. You could plant the gap in between with flowers to attract beneficial bugs. We noticed that after adding raised beds to our fenced garden that the deer weren’t as interested. I think they couldn’t find a level place to jump since all our beds are only a foot apart. Enjoy the rest of your garden!

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