Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Make Your Yard An Eco-Friendly Nature Preserve

Last evening’s unprecedented WE CANNOT PREDICT WHAT IT WILL DO winter storm did precisely what meteorologists predicted:  it dumped two inches of snow on my town.  This makes the meteorologists’ predictions 100 per cent incorrect, consistently, for the past three years. 

Originally, meteorologists said that their favorite computer model had forecast two inches of snow inside the Blackstone Valley Corridor, where I live. Then they reneged, noting they could not possibly predict what this crazy rainstorm-blizzard might do:  thunder-snow could turn to sunshine, causing potential droughts on the Cape and the Islands. There could be locusts, leprosy, Mayan Apocalypse Part II.

But the storm dumped precisely two of the originally-predicted inches of pure powder on my town. 

For my husband, this brought fanciful thoughts of shussing his way from the summit of Mt. Wachusett to my driveway, where he would segue from skiing to snow-blowing with imperceptible grace.

For me, my stomach growled.

When I woke up, I thought it was still snowing, but it was the wind blowing quarter-sized snow-puffs around our house.  As I examined the swirling flakes, I got hungry for the Pillsbury Dough Boy (his fool-proof crescent rolls always come out light and flaky.)

By the way, have you ever considered the etymology of the phrase ‘fool-proof’?  Does it really mean that even a fool can’t mess it up?  I only realized this today when I reflected on the Pillsbury Dough Boy, but that is not what today’s post is about. 

It is about deer.

This is a deer.  (Not the one in my yard.) 

Earlier this morning, all that puff circulated about like winged flake-fairies, then lighted on various landscape architecture out back (a heap of damp kindling and a broken backboard with rusting hoop).  It looked like some Bermuda Triangle Snow-Nexus had arranged itself into twisted snow towers at either side of the entrance to our woods.  

It was a bit entrancing in a scary way.  This opening marks the start of a trail that takes our wheelbarrow on a long journey to cords of wood stacked deep within the primeval darkness, nestled under a leafless canopy.  But now, it was offset either by snow-blanketed topiary from a British cottage garden, or two lions guarding a death-labyrinth from Stephen King’s The Shining.
Those entrance-mounds sort of reminded me of the snow-covered lawn jockeys that used to adorn the walkway of my family’s General Practitioner in winter.  This is why I no longer get flu shots.  Or maybe even a pair of fertility gargoyles that, in Medieval times, would guard our home from evil or virtue, I forget which. 

But as quickly as those entrance-guardians were formed, they vanished from a wind gust, revealing … kindling piled up, adjacent to a torqued backboard with hoop. 

The moment was gone.

But Nature Taketh and She Giveth Right Back because there, near those newly-naked artifacts, stood two deer.

Big deer.  Neither had a rack so I assumed they were either a lesbian couple or heterosexual, but the male suffered from ‘low-T’ or un-descended testicles preventing his horns from sprouting.

I was paralyzed with all this nature erupting in my backyard.  They were gorgeous. 

I looked around quickly to see if I couldn’t find batteries to load into the digital camera – (no) – then I scanned about for my cell phone (still in my car).

So I just stood there, mesmerized.

That’s when I noticed they had consumed the bottom-third of two evergreen trees we had planted years ago.  They were two of a total of twelve, designed to keep the soil from turning to spring mudslides that cascade into our neighbor’s pool.  The first time this happened, it was like living next door to the movie Poltergeist, only no caskets or skeletons bubbled up. 

These little landslides began the year we’d excavated to install a pool of our own, and the vast Mayan Burial Mound the installers created to ‘level off’ the backyard caused mayhem to race downhill into our neighbor’s yard.  We didn't think they were happy.  So we planted twelve trees to hold the soil.

Anyway, I found myself caught in a conundrum.  Was this not a rare gift?  A Nature Moment to relish?  Especially given that I had opted out of some cheap ‘Photo Op’ to enhance this blog.

Yet, were these two Acts Of Nature not foraging away our Goodwill Toward Neighbor, devouring landscaping for which we had paid more than $70 per tree?

They ate the bottom-third off of three more trees before I decided that their ‘special sculpting’ was quite enough, thank you, so I opened the slider and tossed them half a loaf of pumpernickel bread.

And like that – they bolted past the broken backboard and the damp kindling into the wilderness (and Route 16… to infinity and beyond).
Christmas Spike, 2013, after A Great Lopping

I realized I should have strewn my Ex-Christmas tree’s branches out there – as a deer offering -- to protect our landscaping investment, but how was I to know last year was a bad year for acorns, causing anorexic lesbian deer to eat my Landslide-Stoppers? 

Well, from now on I plan to keep a supply of pumpernickel bread on hand.  It is excellent deer repellant.

If that doesn’t work, I will take the Christmas Spike I created by lopping off all the edible branches that have now been composted, and place it across the entrance to the woods.  As a warning to deer everywhere.  “THIS is what all of our landscaping is like, so don’t bother foraging for succulent evergreen branches.  Go next door. The neighbors’ arborvitae is especially lush this winter.”

Not my neighbor's arborvitae (which means 'vital arbor' in another language)
Mmmm.  Arborvitae.  My goodness, nature is appetizing today.  Crescent rolls.  Salad.  Venison. 

I really have to post this, quick, and go make some lunch.  It’s nearly 1:30 already.