Please Leave, My Dear
And stay out.
The deer fencing is turning into a career. It’s coming along well, it really is, but there’s just so much to do. We’ve finished putting up the ginormous heavy roll of wire fencing around the top and side of the farm. Now we’re focussing on stringing aluminum wire in rows along the top of the barbed wire fence that already exists along our neighbour’s boundary.
We’re installing five-foot lengths of rebar on the existing fence, with holes carefully drilled to pass the wire through. Big Al wrestled with the drill and broke two bits before giving in and buying a drill press. J Roy and I installed a hundred foot section, clamping the rebar to the posts and threading the heavy-duty wire through the holes, trying to avoid the aluminum shavings that rained down on us from rubbing through the rebar hole. We pulled it taut with turnbuckles (I’m learning all sorts of new hardware-store words!), and stood back to view our accomplishment.
“It’s a beautiful thing,” I said in contentment.
“I can’t even see it,” J Roy said, marvelling.
We’d bisected a deer highway. Those masters of habit had worn down a muddy path that crossed our neighbour’s yard and leapt over the fence at a precise spot.
“Let’s see them jump THAT,” J Roy said with a smirk.
At twilight, we hiked up the valley. Rustlings in the bush alerted us to the deer. We’d spooked a large buck, who moved with determination away from us. When he reached the fence he paused, then leapt to clear it.
There was no way. His front hooves caught in the wiring half-way up the fence and he perched there for a moment, presumably with an expression of deer shock on his face. He wriggled free and fell away from the fence onto his back. Shaken, he scrambled up and started moving along the fence line, back toward us.
By this time we were beating a hasty retreat. The buck was large and muscly, and had recently been threatened and cornered. He kept his eyes on us as he paced along the fence, clearly nervous but ready to fight or charge. J Roy picked up a solid-looking stick as we backed away down the hill toward the safety of the house.
The next day in the daylight we walked the perimeter, looking for signs of a breach. All was quiet on the western front, and the aluminum wire was untouched.
“Joyce.” J Roy’s voice was incredulous. “Come see this.”
I hurried over. There was a gap of about a foot between the top of the barbed wire fence and the bottom of our aluminum wire. Great tufts of brown hair clung to the barbs and trailed across the ground along the deer highway. Instead of leaping over the 7ft of new fence, the deer had tried to glide through the gap.
“I don’t think they’ll be trying that again.” I peered at the hair, fortunately free of blood. Wounding wildlife was not in our mandate. “That must have been a shocker.”
“Time to get the rest of the fencing up,” J Roy said grimly.
The next morning J Roy awoke from a dream, which he shared with me over breakfast.
“We had huge antlers attached to our car, absolutely huge ones piled up high, and they were so big that we couldn’t fit the car into the garage.”
Redneck nightmares or deer dreams? Either way, we need to get this fencing done.