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Our extended forecast calls for rain, rain, and more rain! Yes, rain is the norm for this area at this time of year, but after the abnormal load of snow and ice that was deposited over recent months, we’re completely saturated.

I was going to start on some spring planting over this past weekend, but after a sloshy jaunt across the lawn, thought better of it, as I began to envision my pending seeds, bulbs, and roots rotting away. The daffodils are up, but they’re struggling to hold their heads up against the wind and rain. Being smacked by occasional falling twigs and branches from overhead probably is not helping either. Perhaps I’ll plant some umbrellas in the garden. Wouldn’t that be a sight?

For now, I’m being tortured by browsing the garden catalogs, knowing that the shipping windows for every shiny delight will be closing before my soil is ready to plant. Woe is me!

Maybe this isn’t such a bad thing though, as I have a tendency to want to plant things at the first sign of spring. The delay of the season this year seems to be forcing me to do things “right.” Things like, focusing on clearing up weeds and thinning out self-sown seedlings. And of course, my least favorite chore… pest control.

The deer weren’t much of a problem for me last year. During previous years, they destroyed just about everything. All sides of our lot were considered an all you can eat buffet. Deer-proof plants? Ha! They ate the hostas, the daylilies, and even our Japanese maples and overhanging foliage from larger trees. What they didn’t eat, would often get smashed down to the ground, as they would stand on smaller plants while they snacked on another. Repellents? *pfft* Pepper sprays? I wasn’t about to waste my time and money spraying what would amount to everything. I also was not going to fuglify our tiny lot by surrounding it with a deer fence. And so… I watched them. What was making our yard so attractive, while our neighbors were suffering only moderate damage from them? Ah-ha! It seemed that no matter what path they took, their final destination was the roses, planted along the side of our property. Everything else was just a snack along the way. Poor things, they were nothing but thorny stems, and they were growing weaker every year. I love roses, and the idea of digging them up and tossing them to the compost seemed blasphemous, but off they went. I convinced myself that I was putting them to a merciful end. It took a bit for the deer to stop searching for their beloved treat, but over time, they got it. No roses. Although they still pass through our front and side yards, that seems to be all they are doing. I’ve stuck with the same so-called unappetizing plants, and it seems that without the main course, they have lost their interest on tasting everything else along the way. Hopefully, that will continue to be the case for this year.

My current focus is on the moles and voles, whom have been just as destructive below ground, as the deer were above. After trying just about every bait and kill-you-acide locally available to us in previous years, last year, we ended up hiring a pro to deal with it. After about 2 months of service, we appeared to free of the buggers. A few months later, more had moved in to take their place. It’s a crock that one only has one mole doing all of the damage. I suppose that in ideal conditions, that is probably the case, as they are territorial. However, when they’re overcrowded, the damage is insane. Last year, I had actually witnessed them shooting out of the ground, fighting with each other, on two separate occasions. They were also getting run over in the street. How many moles must one have to regularly find them as road kill in front of your house?! We have 2 different types of moles, and the voles are new to us this spring. This time, we’ve laid out a castor oil based repellant. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.