Remember last week, when I was waxing poetic about the night sky? And I mentioned hearing crickets, and sprinklers, and Pendleton eating windfall apples? Well.
That night Pendleton, who has been housetrained for months, snuck down to the basement and laid an enormous, foul pile of heinous fecal gore on the floor. Mike gagged when he cleaned it up in the morning (lucky for me, I was asleep and oblivious). What could have caused this horrific display?
We have some gnarled old apple trees in our backyard. They could use a good pruning, but we don’t have a ladder and anyway, they aren’t mine and not everyone appreciates a “good pruning.” I didn’t bother to cull the fruits this spring, and now we have dozens of small apples falling out of the trees every time the wind blows. Pendleton’s been foreman of the clean-up crew.
But the dogs are not the only ones who like free apples. The owner of the house we’re renting, last fall, told us that he kept the gate open so the deer could come in and browse. Otherwise, they all go to the wasps.
So, the morning in question, once I woke up and said, “Geez, it kind of smells like poop in here,” and Mike said, “You think?” before he went to take a shower, I walked out into the yard to collect the windfalls into a bucket, so Pendleton couldn’t reach them.
While I was out there, a doe walked up to the fence, as if to claim her autumn meal. The dogs went crazy. I calmed them, but the deer stayed put. Opening the gate is something of a formality, as any deer can jump a four-foot fence without even thinking about it. But she was, rightfully, afraid of the dogs and stayed outside the fence.
I wanted to scare the doe off, so I threw what I had in my hand at her. As soon as I did, I realized it was a bad idea. The apple fell short, and then rolled a foot or two toward the doe. She didn’t jump or even move, just considered it, and then took a step toward the apple and gently picked it up, staring at us while she ate it. That was not the message I was hoping to send.
I left the dogs in the yard and scared the doe off. She’ll be back; this is where those nice people throw apples for you to eat!
Mike’s and my yard-maintenance routine has included picking up poo-piles and refilling holes that have been dug. For the next few weeks it will also include regularly collecting windfalls, depriving deer, dog, and wasp.