Mending the deer fence.
Zed left yesterday for three weeks in Canada with his dad's family. Like all his dad's departures (well do I remember them) it started with a hurricane of activity, people rushing back and forth and losing things and finding them again and tossing huge amounts of stuff into their gigantic Suburban - Zed was back here three times over an hour and a half in search of things he needed - and then, two or three hours past the appointed time, the hive swarms into the car (dad, wife, Zed, two younger sons, and dog) and suddenly - silence.
Zed's been with me for several weeks straight and we've been involved in a very important and engaging and time-consuming project of his. He left and silence suddenly filled my house - I could almost hear it get sucked into the space he'd formerly occupied - reminded me of those vacuum-packed wheatgerm jars.
Luckily I had an important project to keep me busy over that first quiet day. A few days ago I spotted two spotted fawns out the window, tearing up and scrunching greenery into their mouths as fast as they could. I squawked with horror - my deer fence was breeched!
It's easier to ease deer out the way they came in when there are two of you - Zed and I left the house from two different doors and the fawns, luckily, loped out the way they came in. We inspected the fence and found a place where a previous repair, imprudently improvised with sisal twin, had rotted away, so I fixed it.
(By the way, if you can't quite envision what I'm talking about, here's a promo picture from Benner's Gardens, the folks from whom I bought the fencing.)
I was feeling pretty optimistic until the next day, when rehearsal with Bob came to a screeching halt because I saw these same two fawns, in the same place, chowing down with the same enthusiasm.
What, after I'd fixed the fissure? No puede ser! (Our telenovela expression of anguish and disbelief - "IT CAN'T BE!!") We went out slowly and saw those little deer turn, wander back through the woods casually, and jump out - right over the top of the fence.
The idea of this fencing system: yes, deer can jump this high (ten feet), but they can't really see the top of the fence so they don't. How appalling that these two little adventurers had learned the secret! My sense of smug security was shattered!
So yesterday, after Zed left, I assembled a good fence-repair kit:
- Lightweight stepladder
- Nylon mason's line (two rolls)
- Nylon cable ties
- Surveyor's tape
- lengths of torn polyester fabric
- Two sizes of staples
- Heavy-duty nylon tension cable
I spent five happy hours in the woods; it wasn't horribly hot and only rained a little bit. I did fall off the ladder once and twisted it into a bit of a pretzel, but even a pretzel-ladder can be propped up to function if you're patient.
It was fun, not being in a hurry. I went methodically along about 500 feet of my fence (not quite a third of it) and looked it over from a deer's point of view. I hitched up places that had sagged, repaired places where branches had fallen and snagged the mesh, replaced the high-tension top line where a tree had busted it, and topped the whole thing off with a nylon line 18 inches higher than the top of the original fence (this is as high as I could reach by standing on the top of the pretzelled ladder) adorned with ribbons of orange surveyor's tape.
I'm sore - from my fall, and from five hours of dragging my kit through the woods - but hopeful.