2015-03-25 / Here's the Scoop by Brian Sweeney

Here's the Scoop: March 25, 2015

What’s for dinner?
While humans have been complaining about The Longest Winter for quite some time, we actually have it pretty easy. Although they may be expensive and/or hard work, we have options for heating our homes. The same with eating — we head to the store and grab whatever we like. For a special treat, we get some takeout.
Deer, on the other hoof, don’t have these luxuries. Sure, they are outfitted with some pretty durable, all-natural coats, but the food and shelter aren’t automatic. Even a rugged fur coat can’t be that comfortable against sub-zero temperatures and whipping winds. I’m guessing that, in the past few years, there are plenty of deer who decided that heading south during the winter months wasn’t an idea that’s strictly for the birds.

It’s still here
Anybody who has stuck around the Catskills during the past few winters realizes that these seasons have lingered longer than most. There’s been lots of snow. Cold, too. For humans, the heating bills continue — but such conditions give us something to gripe about the post office. Severe weather is a standby topic for column writers, too.
It’s a little more serious for deer. This is the time of year when metabolisms are picking up and greater amounts of food are a necessity. When there’s still a great deal of snow cover, this lead to: Deer-speration. No matter if you live in town or out, you’ve likely witnessed Deer-speration in recent weeks. Deer are everywhere. They will eat anything.

Check this out
Deer are particularly fond of the offerings in yard, since a southern exposure clears the landscape of snow long before the meltdown starts in the surrounding forest. Unfortunately, once the deer arrive in an innocent search for a few blades of grass, it doesn’t take long for them to decide on a full menu of appetizers and entrees. Forsythia, pussy willow, rhododendrons and many other landscape plants (that I pretend to know the names of when asked) are all eaten with abandon.
For me, this situation presents a dilemma. I really hate paying for these plants and there’s a lot of labor involved getting them into place. On the other hand, I’m not a big fan of starving deer, either. As a result, I generally tend to ignore the deer that are treating our yard like an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Not in agreement
My wife (the gardener) doesn’t share my fondness for the deer. She chases them away, whenever possible. Unfortunately for her, it’s a futile task until more food sources become available. Compounding this problem is the fact that my wife has had a terrible cold and could barely get out of bed for days last week, much less shoo away deer.
After several days of existing on my less-than-stellar culinary creations, it was decided to get some takeout. In our household, this scenario is called: Dear-speration.
Anyhow, a funny thing happened when I arrived home with the salad and eggplant pizza. I hadn’t realized it, but deer are much more fond of fresh and cooked food than I had imagined. Pulling into the driveway, the “doe eyes” all around me suddenly turned to “dough” eyes. I raced to the door and was able to barely get in without losing the battle vs. these voracious creatures.
After I composed myself, I thought about this incident. “Maybe next year, I should cook a lot and spread my culinary creations around the yard. That would scare off the invaders. I’m sure it won’t be deemed deer-licious.
— Brian Sweeney

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