Sadly – this is now a “before” picture of how our fruit trees looked right after planting.  I will be heading out with camera today and post “after deer have destroyed them pictures” later.

We have always heard and read from so many about all the damage and destruction deer can do to their yard, garden and plants.  Whenever we talk to anyone about our garden – it doesn’t take long for them to ask – “What about the deer – do they destroy it all?”   Most are astonished that we just haven’t had much of a problem.  We joked quite often that we must have Bambi and her friends in our area – the well-behaved and friendly deer. In fact,  up to this point – I don’t think we could quite empathize with those that have had so much damage.  Other than the once this past summer when they enjoyed a meal of our purple green beans –  the deer had all but left all but our little farm alone.  That was until now.  Upon heading out to water our newly planted apple trees Saturday morning – I noticed driving into the farm that one of our yellow delicious trees was leaning heavily.  I just figured the little bit of wind we had the night before had made them a little wobbly – and decided that I would go ahead and get them staked today.

We are still getting good amounts of peppers in – I am so glad we planted the Italian Roaster Variety (the red ones). Great taste and perfect for roasting or stuffing.

I was wrong.  It wasn’t from the wind.  And no amount of staking was going to help or for that matter, save the tree.  A deer had completely destroyed it.  Taking its rack to the 1 to 2″ thick trunk – he had stripped every bit of bark and had all but splintered it.  No amount of first aid was going to save this tree – it was a goner – courtesy of Bambi’s crew.

So – needless to say –  today will be spent fencing in the remaining trees and their trunks to prevent us from losing any more.  I think what scares me even  more – is that the trees are only about 50′ from the start of the 4 long rows of grapes that we put in this spring.  Are they next?

As for the rest of the farm – the summer garden is down to mainly peppers, onions, carrots and potatoes now.  We picked over a bushel this week of  Big Bertha and California Wonder green peppers, Italian Roasters, Marconi’s and Hot Banana Peppers.   We have pulled all of the fading tomato plants, spare a couple of late planted ones that we keep for fresh tomatoes to eat.  The fall crops of sugar snap peas and lettuce are up and growing well – and this coming week we will be planting our garlic.  Garlic is one of those strange crops that needs to get started in the fall to have a successful harvest next summer.

So far – this is about the extent of the landscaping for the entrance to the farm. This week we hope to get started on the rest.

We have also begun to work on the driveway entrance to the farm.  Up until now it has been pretty much an overgrown thicket of trees and a large hill of dirt.  We started by adding the old barn window address sign a  few weeks back at the top of the hill.  And now – with the help of Old Betsy the farm truck – we will be getting a few loads of large rock to install as a retaining wall up the hill.  Hopefully we can create a nice landscape bed behind the wall and all around the sign.  We want to get it in now so we can start early next spring to fill in the beds with more transplanted ornamental grasses and perennials.

One thing is for sure – the temperatures have cooled of nicely – into the mid 70’s for highs – right where we love it to work outside!

– Jim and Mary

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