Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Thug Deer and a Mug Shot

Every neighborhood has its hooligans. Ours have antlers.

Last year, our first in Wisconsin, was the initial encounter. There were two adolescent bucks by the stable that now houses the gas cans for the mower, a bunch of concrete blocks, an old ratty table inexplicably left behind in the basement by the previous owners, and the barn swallows. The pair seemed to be up to no good as they swung their small nubs of antlers, huffing and stamping at Charles, who was standing on the deck some 50' away. They packed up their cans of spray paint and slowly sauntered off into the woods, making rude gestures as they went.

Since then, we saw the two of them sporadically, but this last week they have obviously become bored with terrorizing the other smaller woodland creatures. First, they trotted all around our yard in the middle of the day, getting right up to the house, drinking from the rain puddles and eying the garden. After a while, they left, for some reason scuttling under the fence (a 18" high opening) rather than leaping it (a 4' height). There is no barbed wire. Clearly, they are into limbo dancing at their raucous and degenerate parties. Equally clearly, it was meant as some sort of taunt.

This morning (5:58 am, if you must know) they were standing in the middle of the road, blocking our egress (the road is about 10' wide), and NOT about to back down, even when we pulled up to within a few feet of them. After a while, as we bravely sat in the minivan with the windows rolled up, quietly yelling and waving our arms, they figured that we were not going to give them the sport they wanted and leaped off the road, heading for our yard. I didn't quite catch the remark they made about our mothers. I fear for our tomatoes.

I think they are casing the place with a plan to break in and steal DVDs and electronic gear. They will also likely steal the beer from the fridge and call 900 numbers.

In other breaking news, of interest probably only to Teri, I have figured out what the Evil Bastard Aster Destroying Insect Invaders are! I found it in my new favorite gardening book, something I should have bought years ago. They are Chrysanthemum lace bugs. (Here is a picture of a sycamore lace bug, which is not as dark a gray, but otherwise looks the same. I couldn't find a picture of the real thing.) I find it funny and fitting that the natural pesticide treatment, neem oil soap, is made from pyrethrins, derived from... chrysanthemums! (Asters and chrysanthemums are in the same family). I also found that these particular lace bugs like to suck the life blood out of my beloved pincushion flowers. Death to lace bugs!

So, there you have it. Yet another installment in the chronicles of our gripping life in the bucolic country. Thugs, assassins, chemical warfare.

Pass the neem sprayer. Maybe it works on deer.

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Blogger Teri said...

I'll take your thugs over ours any time! We have the gun-toting variety who shoot local business owners and people sitting on porches. Oh yeah, they maraud gardens too, but they don't eat what they take, they throw it at each other. (Ahhh, city life is just soooooo idyllic.) There is a spray you can purchase that is made from, of all things, deer predator urine. If you spray it around the perimeter of your garden, it's supposed to keep the deer out. Sorry, I don't remember what it's called. Our animal life is limited to bunnies, squirrels and raccoons and the occassional coyote or fox, but they like to stay in the parks where there are patches of forest.

Thanks for sharing what the evil aster-destroyers are! i was very interested.

10:17 AM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

Bad deer! Bad!

Hilarious post, Diana. I had a great time imagining deer as sullen teenagers. Being a city girl, my interactions with deers are less, shall we say, pleasant. In case you get bored, here is the link...http://greenduckies.blogspot.com/2004/12/doh-deer.html

Death to the Lace Bugs indeed. What a pretty name for such an icky creature. Have a lovely day battling the evil that lurks in your garden.

1:16 PM  
Blogger Mojavi said...

seriously.. I never new life in the country could be so dangerous... please remember to lock your doors, just incase the deer and lace bugs get together and plot *wink*

1:27 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Teri- My first thought in figuring out what the bugs were was, "Eureka!" My second thought was, "Teri will be excited." We have the gun toters, we just call them "hunters" and make sure to wear bright colors and avoid trees during The Seasons. Ours also aren't intentionally shooting at us and are so very sorry if they cause any grief. Given all the peeing Emma does, let alone her patrolling the perimeter, you'd think no deer would venture forth.

Dana- Glad I could amuse. I need to read your deer post. I, too, was surprised at such a lovely name for the evil ones.

Mojavi- Given the timing, I am not at all sure that the thug deer didn't have a role in the infestation. I can see them ordering them from some biological online source and dumping them on my plant. I wonder if they used my credit card. Better keep an eye on the statements. Paranoid? Me?

2:02 PM  
Blogger Jamie said...

You SHOULD be paranoid. You've heard about my doe delinquents. Just think what the young bucks are capable of.

10:34 PM  
Blogger Rozanne said...

Ooooh! I love it when you anthopomorphize!!

Hilarious. I love the image of deer making rude remarks and plotting to steal your electronic gear (I'm sure they have their eye on your gigantor TEE-VEE!)

Teri is not the only person interested in the aster culprit. I'm glad you made a positive ID. Now I'm worried though that they're going to start showing up on my superhealthy asters. Mum's the word!

1:31 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Jamie- Thankfully, ours have not visibly been sampling the wares...yet. Equally thankfully, I have removed most of the thistles in the grass from the back door to the veggies, so as I go screaming out, barefoot, waving my arms in a copy of you, my feet should not be too damaged, unlike yours with the horrible fire ants. How scarily similar our lives are.

Rozanne- Thanks. I always thought of deer as being so timid. Hah! Some of them are, but these 2, sheesh! I found a few of the lace bugs on another aster this morning. No severe damage, yet, but they will get theirs. (snicker, "mum's the word", snort)

8:24 AM  
Blogger Teri said...

The Humans Must Go
a play in one act

King Deer: Hark! The interlopers persist! We must chase them from their abode. It is our land, and they do not even pay proper respect to the king of the forest. We will drive them out!

Young Prince: But what can we do? We have blocked there paths, we have done our war dance. We threaten their vegetables. They do not budge!

King Deer (deep in thought): A-ha! I have it! We cannot get to their garden ourselves, thanks to that barking deer hunter they live with, but we have allies! We must contact the Insects! Call in the Lace Bugs! The Aphids! The sweat bees! The mosquitoes! The biting flies! If we cannot reach them directly, our allies will drive them out! We will get them at last![Thunder crashes in the distance]

(King Deer and Young Prince exit stage left. The sound of diabolical laughter is hard as they leave.)

11:59 AM  
Blogger Teri said...

make that:
(King Deer and Young Prince exit stage left. The sound of diabolical laughter is heard as they leave.)

12:03 PM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

Teri, you are brilliant. That was quite Shakespearian. I love it!

1:03 PM  
Blogger Diana said...


(or possibly "herd" as they leave?)

You rock.

1:19 PM  
Blogger Teri said...

I was unusually inspired this morning. Glad you liked it.
Gah! I just saw another typo. I hate that.
"We have blocked their path." Stupid homonyms!

7:04 PM  
Blogger Cagey said...

GREAT post! I agree that deer are not as nice as they appear. Just be grateful you don't have moose - they are even worse and can be dangerous.

I always thought bucolic was over-rated anyway. hee hee

11:19 AM  
Blogger The Lioness said...

You lot stop that! I have coke in my nostrils now.

This is one hilarious little blog, the posts and comments - OY! You need to put up some Bambi posters, we all know what happened to his mum. THAT will show them. Or maybe this: http://www.nurstoon.com/Images/026.GIF seeing as you are NOT a nurse they'll get the message. (Do NOT read Dana's post on a full stomach!)

Oh, and this? (Diana's Dad, cover your eyes quickly, teachers must remain pure!) http://www.4to40.com/images/jokes/deer_withoutfear.jpg

I am reading abt male reproductive tract diseases and am firmly convinced that the middle male there has a Sertoli cells' tumour. You know, hyperoestrogenism? Yes.

"I didn't quite catch the remark they made about our mothers." - :DDDDDD

And Teri, that was fabulous! Wasn't it you that told me not to be so hard on myself over typos though? *harrumph*

11:22 AM  
Blogger moegirl said...

Yes, the deers, definitely the thugs of the forest. Hopefully, they weren't throwing any gang signs, or they aren't fleeing into the woods to round up more of their posse to roll-up on your crib to do a "drive-by" in their hooptie. Really, there should be a non-profit to help them escape life in the notorious Wisconsin deer-gangs. You are in my prayers, life in the 'hood ain't easy!

2:03 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Cagey- Yes, moose would be worse. "The majestic moose. Moose bites can be nasty." (Can you place the reference? Anyone?)

Johnny- Bambi posters! Or a mural on the stable! Brilliant! I love the deer sandwich pic (I read your post before getting here and will look at the other link in a jif.) What dangerous chemicals hormones are! Just think of the state of the human race if our noses worked better. If we really get in trouble, our neighbor is a bow hunter. We feel safer with him around.

Stacy- See, this is what happens when the deer population gets too big. The neighborhoods crumble and there is just not enough for these poor kids to do, so, yes, what else is there than for them to go looking for trouble. Maybe we can get a grant to set up a program. And a study. And a charter school. Then we can write a book and go on the lecture circuit and rake in the bucks (pun) as consultants. (Well, you can do the lecture part and I can sit behind the podium and not open my mouth as I don't want to break my vow to never publicly speak again.)

3:14 PM  
Blogger Teri said...

""The majestic moose. Moose bites can be nasty." (Can you place the reference? Anyone?)"

Isn't it from the credits on Monty Python and The Holy Grail?

4:58 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

AAAAaaaaannnnddddd... TERI gets it! For a hole in one! (clap, clap, clap)

(Actually I don't golf. At all. It is best that way.)

Scary that you know Monty Python credits as I do. I think I trace my llama fascination directly to those credits.

9:34 PM  
Blogger Teri said...

I, uh, actually own every last Flying Circus episode on DVD. It's a box set. And my husband loves me.

I was laughing hysterically just thinking of those credits.

10:14 PM  

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