Archive for the ‘deer’ Tag

08-20-2015 Journal–A Return to the Sanctuary!   Leave a comment

The Dog Days of August are upon us with all of the heat and humidity that they bring.  I’ve been staying fairly inactive due to the heat but it’s driving me crazy.  I just need to get the hell out of the house.

I decided to visit an old friend today. That’s the Wildlife Sanctuary in Scarborough, Maine.  Over the last five years I’ve spent a great deal of time there documenting the plants and wildlife.  I was driven to create a photo book of the place which took me two years to complete.  I was very proud of the result but knew all along it could be a double-edged sword.  My biggest fear was that people would read the book and then decide to visit the place in large numbers that might change things in the Sanctuary.  Unfortunately I was correct.

In past years the Sanctuary wasn’t visited all that much and remained a pristine place to monitor and photograph the wildlife.  In just two short years the place has dramatically changed.  Since the town received copies of the book, they’ve begun promoting the place.  The trails are now mowed to twice their original size and from all of the piles of dog feces, it’s becoming a dog park rather than a wildlife refuge.

Vandalism is evident in certain places with hints of teenage visitors from nearby high schools occasionally appearing. Most of the wildlife I initially photographed is now almost impossible to find.  They must have decided to leave the immediate area due to the increased human and canine traffic.

Here are a few photos I snapped as I made a casual walk-thru just looking for anything.

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‘The milkweed fields are as healthy as ever.’

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“Thistles continue to flourish.’

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‘Lots of elderberries available for use.’

The birds and squirrels are harder to find these days and even the deer seem to have moved on.  I decided to made a quick stop in the swamp, hoping for some dragonfly activity but even it was minimal.  In years past they completely filled the air over the swamp but that’s no longer the case.  I was hard pressed to get more than a handful of usable photo’s.

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I continued on to a second small pond looking for damn near anything.  Usually the place is overrun with frogs but I found just these two.

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There was a time when I could visit the sanctuary three times a week and never see another person.  Today there were three cars plus my own. A family with three small children and three dogs were running here and there while the parents picked blackberries nearby.  They spent part of their time trying to keep the dogs from attacking me, which I greatly appreciated. 

I’m sorry I ever made the book available to the public. I should’ve visited the Sanctuary, created the book for myself, and kept my mouth shut about it.  I may have helped ruin the place and that makes me sad.

05-14-2015 Journal- Family Gardening!   Leave a comment

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I love the Spring of the year.  It rejuvenates me like no other season can.  I can’t wait to get out of bed in the morning, go outside in the garden, and just mellow out.  I’m sorry if I sound a little like a hippie or a New Ager but it can’t be helped. 

With the better-half still out of town I decided to get as much done as possible with the garden before she returns home.  I traveled a few miles down the road to my favorite nursery yesterday.  It’s rather small and family run but the plants and seedlings I purchase there always seem to do better than the stuff the big box stores are peddling.  This small nursery takes a great deal of pride in supplying their customers with the healthiest and happiest plants they possibly can.

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I arrived at the nursery the day after Mother’s Day and the place was cleaned out.  The staff was busily restocking the greenhouses and repotting seedlings as fast as they could.  The owner who’s become a friend of sorts over the years told me that this Mother’s Day weekend was the best weekend they’ve had since opening the nursery almost fifteen years ago.  I love hearing things like that. It seems people are once again finding a home garden something they want to do and do properly.

I can thank my parents for my interest in gardening.  My late Mother was really into growing a large assortment of flowers and her knowledge of herbs was amazing.  She passed that knowledge on to me and I  thank her everyday.  To me she’s always seems to be hanging around my garden talking with the plants and checking things out as she always did. 

My Dad was more into growing vegetables and I picked up a lot of information and tips from him over the years as well.  He also educated me on the proper curse words to use when describing deer, groundhogs, and rabbits.  His war with them was epic and never-ending and it gave the rest of the family a lot of laughs over the years.  Just as a point of fact, he never won that war.

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‘Culpeper’s Complete Herbal’

This is my favorite book on herbs.  I’ve had my old copy for more than thirty years and for me it’s a real connection to the past.  Some of the information is outdated but in it’s day it was the ultimate source for herbal facts and remedies.

I purchased a few dozen marigolds yesterday that I intend to plant around the perimeter of the garden. They seem to magically keep the deer and other pests away and it something we’ve done for years.  Many of my neighbors complain constantly every summer about the wildlife that comes to visit and damage their gardens. I’m not sure just why marigolds keep them away but they do. I’ve been told it has something to do with their  fragrance but who really knows?

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Tomorrow my garden work continues with a general clean up but I won’t be planting anything else for at least the next two weeks. The fear of a hard frost  remains a real possibility until sometime after Memorial Day.

I can’t wait to get up and get going.

04-21-2014. Journal Entry – Spring Has Sprung!   2 comments

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The weather has finally begun to change for the better here in God’s country. Over the last week the snow has disappeared and I’ve been able to get outside and breath some fresh air without a parka, hat, and gloves.  But as well you know everything in nature is a balance.  You get some good and right along with that you get some bad.  Now begins the actual work of cleaning up after Mother Nature once again.

The snow cover this past winter lasted much longer than normal which has it’s good points.  Most of my perennials in the herb garden survived the winter unscathed.  I normally replace twenty-five percent of my plants each year but it appears this year to be much better than that.  The downside is that any plant tall enough to stick up through the snow was damaged severely by the long term cold during February. I’ve cleaned most of the debris out of the raised beds and discovered other issues that weren’t easily seen before.

Yesterday my better-half was frolicking in the yard with the grandson and made the mistake of sitting on the edge of one of the raised beds.  There was a loud crack and the board she was sitting on snapped in half requiring an immediate repair job and a trip to Lowe’s for me.

We also were able to remove a downed tree we lost during the first snow storm last Fall. It was a struggle but we finally cleaned up the area and removed the branches and trunk to a nearby woods.  I may cut it up later for use in our occasional bon-fires since it’s been sitting for a while and dry as a bone.  It should burn nicely.

We have a set of steps at the rear of the house that were badly damaged when at least five tons of ice slid off the roof and crushed all of the railings and a few of the steps. Fortunately the main structural beams were unharmed. Another trip to Lowe’s for more pressure treated lumber to make those repairs. Along with the mailbox replacement this  has become an annual event and one I’m very tired of dealing with.  I’m in the process now of redesigning and reinforcing the steps and hopefully that will resolve the issue for new year.

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I took a walk through my garden yesterday and discovered that the deer have found us already and appear to be eating my chives as soon as they sprout. It’s been a tough winter on the wildlife here in Maine due to the heavy snow cover. I’ve been told that the further north you go the worse it gets.  The moose and deer have had a rough winter and I ‘m sure many of them didn’t survive.  The good news is the small herd that hangs around our house looks pretty damn healthy.  As I walked through my back yard I found piles of deer turds everywhere.  This just tells me that I’m going to be battling the deer for control of my garden all summer.  They’ve been spending a lot of time close to the house which in itself is unusual.

A few weeks ago I was in my man-cave doing my exercises on the treadmill when I looked out the window to see four or five deer casually walking by. They stopped near the house and were standing in the yard as calm as you please. That’s very unusual for ten o’clock in the morning on any day.  I’m afraid they’ve become comfortable near the house which will eventually make for a real battle this summer. It’s not only the deer but also rabbits and freaking groundhogs as well.  I’m going to be busy, busy, busy.

I was able to run for my camera and snap a few quick pics of those deer before they scampered into the woods. Here they are.

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Who needs dogs and cats for house pets when you can have a herd of deer?

01-26-2014 Journal Entry – I Love the Nightlife!   1 comment

There was a time time in my life when I was the ultimate night person.  I slept all day and worked and played all night.  After work I’d  visit a variety of clubs and bars returning home in the wee hours of the morning.  It was a great time in my life because everyone knows the best shit happens after dark in the middle of the night.

I worked those hours for more than five years.  My job required visits to massage parlors (not officially as a patron), strip joints (not officially as a paying customer), and even the occasional brothel (again, not as a paying customer).  I became educated very quickly to the unbelievable quantity of nightlife activities, how to enjoy them, and even more important, how to survive them.

The more things change the more they remain the same.  All these years later I’m discovering a whole new word of nightlife here in Maine that I’ve been totally unaware of.  We live in what could be called a rural area.  Our home is adjacent to a small river and a large forest of pines.  We live far enough out that without assistance from technology (range extender) we can’t receive cell phone signals and are not registering on most GPS devices.  It’s like living in Never-Never Land.  That being said, we love it. We thought that “wildlife” in this area was mostly confined to the Portland metro area and was low key and had a minimum of crime to deal with.  How little we really knew.

Last night we had an unusual snow fall. It snowed for no more than twenty minutes and then stopped completely.  There was just enough snow to cover everything in a pristine white sheet.  We went to bed after the snow fall stopped and remarked to each other about how white and smooth the back yard seemed with the new snow cover.  There wasn’t a mark of any kind on that snow.

We awoke this morning and walked to the window and were shocked at what we saw.  It appears that our backyard is the night club for most of the “wildlife” in this area.  These pictures will give you some idea of the night time traffic taking place in our back yard.

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We live our lives giving little or no thought to the “life” swirling around us every day and night.  I saw tracks of coyotes, deer, chipmunks, squirrels, one lonely turkey, a big fat skunk, and a trail left by that sneaky cat belonging to our neighbors.  I’m not surprised too often but this was amazing. I guess that one day warming trend we were blessed with brought everyone out to celebrate.

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I think I may have to pay a little more attention to what’s going on around me.    With a good lens and a small night light I might just be able to get some really interesting photographs.

05-30-2013   Leave a comment

It appears that Spring Is really here this time.  The night time temperatures are rising and yesterday they made it into the mid-eighties for the first time.  Maybe just maybe we can put the worries about frost and cold air behind us.  We suffered a light frost two nights ago which was more than a little unusual for late May even here In Maine.

The garden’s been completed with all the plants in the ground and on their way to producing the things we require for next winter.  The herb garden had some recent issues with space requirements due to an out of control apple mint plant that was determined to take over the entire area.  It grew up and over an oregano plant that I’ve had for years and killed it.  I was forced to attack that plant with a shovel and cut away close to sixty-five percent of it.  I then surrounded it with a box that extends deep into the soil to stop it from spreading it’s runners in every direction.  I replanted three new oregano plants nearby and hopefully they’ll grow healthy and keep us supplied through next winter.  I need to be extra careful that I don’t harvest too much or I’ll be the idiot responsible for killing them.

Last year at the beginning of the season I planted two rhubarb plants.  I knew it would be at least a year before I could harvest any of them for jams or jellies. The plants need to be firmly established before you can start chopping away at them. I think I’ve been successful because both plants are growing out of control already.  Normally my neighbors, who also grow rhubarb plants, see theirs grow not much more than two feet high.  Both of my plants are going strong and are already three and a half feet high and I can just about taste that strawberry-rhubarb jam we’ll be making later this Fall.

I can now sit on the deck and watch the garden grow for the next three months.  I’ll be forced to kill some insects, slugs, and other assorted pests but that’s just normal gardening activities.  My biggest fears are the deer that love to show up once the plants are a few inches tall and chew them off a ground level. This is the same battle my father fought for years and never was able to completely win.

Everyone I know has their own methods for dealing with deer but honestly they don’t have much more success than he did.  I’ve been told to spread powdered blood around, hang human hair in panty hose from the trees, build a six foot high fence, and the best and most disgusting solution was for me to urinate around the garden  whenever possible.  As much as I like peeing outside, I think I’ll skip that one.  It could very quickly make my neighbors a little uncomfortable.

My better-half has suggested we build a human size scarecrow in the hopes it will scare the deer away in those early hours of the morning when they usually visit.  I think I’ll try and create one that looks as much like my ex-wife as possible.  It should certainly scare the hell out of them just like it will scare the hell out of me.  I guess I can deal with that kind of trauma if it keeps the freaking deer out of my garden.  Man just thinking about that sends a cold chill up my back. 

Thank God there aren’t many moose in this general vicinity.  Even a scarecrow of my ex-wife wouldn’t scare those big bastards away.  Life in Maine is always interesting.