November 17, 2011 in Washington Voices

Cool observers pay yard, gardener a farewell visit

 
PAT MUNTS photo

The deer supervisors go back to looking for food after seeing the fall garden chores are done.
(Full-size photo)

Last weekend I got two special treats while doing the last fall chores.

Saturday I dashed out to move some deck chairs to their winter spot. The wind was picking up and each gust announced itself in a treetop to the west of the house. I realized winter was arriving.

The whistle of the wind in that pine faded, only to be picked up by the next tree and so on across the field. The wind cut through my thin shirt. Icy pinpricks started hitting my face. Rain or snow? I let enough of them fall on my dark shirt to see it was tiny snowflakes. Off to the west, the slopes of Tower Mountain were disappearing behind a veil of white. Some serious snow was moving in. I watched it swallow the mountain and then Ponderosa before moving across the field and shrouding our pines, which the wind was still tossing.

Soon the snow was whirling around me in the ever-shifting wind. I was cold, and the deck was turning white. It was time to go in and start a fire. Winter had come.

It was a light snow, though, and by Sunday it had melted enough to plant the last of the daffodils, drive some posts for a wind break for the beehives and bring in a load of wood. I was enjoying my time outside by myself. But I wasn’t alone.

Driving metal T-posts into the ground is best done with post driver, a heavy metal contraption with handles and a weighted end. I was putting in my second post with much clanking, banging and flailing when I looked up. I had “supervisors.” Six deer – two does, three fawns and a spike buck – were looking at me from 15 feet away. They watched as I worked, not bothered in the least. They eventually continued on their trail and up into the backyard. It was a treat I wasn’t likely to get again for a while. Or so I thought.

After planting the daffodils and finding a lovely crop of winter weeds, I moved on to get a wheelbarrow of wood. Getting to the pile took some huffing, puffing and muttering. Then there was the rustling of the plastic tarp to uncover the wood. Of course the wind blew it back down twice before I got a rock to hold it into place.

As I put the rock in place, again with a lot of noise, I looked up. My supervisors were back, standing in a line not far away. They seemed to ask if I knew how silly I looked. About this time, Dusty the cat showed up and started horsing around; his nickname is Tigger. They must have all met before, because nobody panicked and everyone just watched each other.

The wheelbarrow was emptied, and on the way back to the woodpile I had to wait for them to clear out. After all, supervisors or not, bucks come with horns and you don’t mess with them.

Pat Munts is a Master Gardener who has gardened the same acre in Spokane Valley for 30 years. She can be reached by email at pat@inlandnwgardening.com.


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