Last year, a couple of deer decided to make the immediate area around our house, their home. They were often spotted on the terraces in front of our house and on many occasions, we opened our windows in the morning to see at least one of them munching away under our walnut tree. Our rose bush outside the dining room door was very soon stripped bare but I forgave the deer this, as we got to see her up close in action. I was not so forgiving when our peas and broad beans also provided a tasty meal.
Our evenings were filled with their ‘barking’, letting us know they were near, even if we couldn’t see them and then all of a sudden, they disappeared. Or perhaps we just got so used to them, we stopped looking? Evidently though, they had offspring and for a while now, we have seen a fawn. She is a pretty thing, reddish brown in colour and not afraid to come visiting at any time of the day. After noticing a few tomato tops and the odd leaf here and there had been eaten, we spent yesterday morning hastily erecting deer defences. At half past two today, I went to check on our construction when M shouted out of the window: ‘the deer is on the vineyard, heading this way.’ I rushed up the orto steps and promptly startled the deer that had just walked onto our land and was standing by the olive trees. Off she raced while I went to grab the camera and track her down.
M adopted a high vantage point and scanned the area from our terrace and quickly spotted her on the land near the chicken shed. I quietly made my way over there but she was clearly camera shy and stayed hidden in the grasses.
I could hear M calling me so I gave up with her and went back. ‘There’s another’ he said, pointing at the vineyard, ‘and it’s got little antlers’. So, she has a brother. I gradually crept towards him and snapped away. Every now and then he would look up directly at me, but as long as I stayed still he seemed unfazed. Eventually, he had had his fill of the grass on the vineyard and went off towards the paddock and woods below.
They are both clearly bolder than their parents and I suspect (and secretly hope) their visits will continue. What it does mean though, is that we will have to think of a more permanent solution to our deer defences than our current hastily cobbled together netting and bamboo cane barricade. In reality, this will probably mean fencing off a section of the orto, with some sort of gated access. Not ideal as we will lose a little growing space but at least we will be able to protect what we do grow from our neighbourhood deer. Hopefully, this won’t discourage them from coming to visit every now and again.