Friday, October 31, 2008

a kite

They should know that the fence/wire/net they're using to protect their pansies won't work.

I mean, after all, they are supposed to be professionals and they should know by now that what they are doing won’t work.

If they had asked me I could have told them and they wouldn't have had to waste all that money.

Not that there is really an alternative.

I remember being desperate and trying everything, just like they must have done. I even did something like they’ve done. It must have been, maybe a decade or so ago.

It didn't work then and I don’t suppose it will work now.

I mean, after all, no matter what people think, deer might be a lot of thiinks but one thing they aren’t is dumb.

Or maybe what it is, is that hunger makes every creature reach down to the bottom of their intelligence barrel and dig up their best ideas.

In my case (and I guess that means my deers’ case) is that one year I had a big planting of sweet potatoes out in that field where the barn is now and the deer would come out with the dusk and start eating.

It turns out they really have a taste for sweet potato vines and leaves.

So, after trying just about everything and none of it working I had this really bright idea.

I would take row cover, that's this white fabric you use to protect your crops from insects and light frosts, its very thin, light weight, but sturdy and you take a roll of it and unfurl it over your plants.

Think of a roll of white material 16 feet wide and as long as the field. In that fields case, 300 feet.

You would think that it would work. A huge white piece of material laid out on top of all those sweet potato vines.

HOWEVER.... the deer would get in the field, just like they did before I put down the row cover. And they could smell those tasty vines. At first they would go around the edges and with their noses lift it up, push it back. Until the edge of the sweet potatoes were exposed.

And they would start eating.

After I saw what they were doing I started taking rocks and putting boulders over the edge of the material, surrounding the sweet potato patch, holding the material down.

That didn’t work for long.

It didn’t take the deer long to realize they could rip the row cover. They would walk out into the middle of the field and start pawing the material until they'd ripped it and then they would eat the leaves underneath. then when the leaves and vines were eaten in that spot they would move on, rip another hole and do the same thing.

After a while my sheets of row cover were starting to look rather frayed and bedraggled. Instead of one long piece of material, really long strands of rags.

And then early one morning a large buck went in the field and was eating the leaves using this maneuver, only his antlers got stuck in the row cover. We are talking about a piece of material 300 feet long and 16 feet wide.

He's got his head through the hole and the material stuck on his antlers.

He freaks!

And starts running, pulling up all of that material. Shaking it loose from all those rocks.

Did I mention the weather?

It's a frosty windy morning. I mean the wind is blowing something like 20 miles an hour. So here is this huge buck running from one end of the field to the other with this 300 foot long piece of white material (its real light weight) flying in the air like a kite, like a kite tail.

this is back when I had woven wire fences around the fields because I had goats. Woven wire with a strand of barbed wire on top.

He runs from one end of the field to the other. Reaches teh next fence and turns, looks around and runs back toward the other end, the material way up in the air, just like a kite ( I remember back when I was a teenager, we would attach half a dozen kites to the same string. Each kite used to hoist the string higher for the one before it. So finally, the first kite would be, maybe, a mile up in the air) this is like the deer.

So after making several rounds with this huge kite chasing him he decides he has to do something. He has to escape.

He turns a corner of the field, sees the distant fence and begins to charge it.

At first it's maybe 150 yards away. He's getting up steam. Going faster. Straight for the fence.

Getting up more speed. Actually he can't see all that well, what with the material wrapped around his head.

But he charges.

150 yards.


He's getting up speed. Going faster and faster. Closing on the fence. 70 yards. 40 20 10.

and he jumps.

Flies through the air.

And some how the row cover, his long white kite, catches on the fence, around his legs. over his head.

He flies through the air.

And suddenly...

He lands just on the other side of the fence.


Here's this big old buck all wrapped up in white material. And up in the air more of this white stuff, flying like some sort of a Chinese kite.

Long, dramatic. 20 mile per hour winds. Way up in the air.

Waving field, the far end of the material catching on a tree branch.

Maybe a hundred feet up in the air.

And on the ground, there's the buck, struggling, struggling to get to his feet.

To see out of the material.

Finally he does stand up, shakes his head, Gets his head free. Pulls away from the fence. Rips the material more. A long gash. Some of it hanging from his antlers, some hanging from the barbed wire.

And the buck turns, More ripping, and runs away, trailing a ten foot piece of row cover.

The remainder caught on one end on the barbed wire, the rest flowing, flying through the air from the fence up higher and higher until the far end is stuck on that branch a hundred feet up.

The deer runs up the hill. Gets to the driveway and springs down the driveway until he turns again, into the forest and up the mountain.

And leaving the material behind, Material, like a kite.

And even today, a decade later, if you look, there are pieces of row cover fluttering from a branch way up on the tree.

And if you ever ask yourself. "How did that get there?" you now know.

Leigh Hauter


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home