Did I Say That? Fighting nature: Have a heart!

Color Pisani 07.28.16I won a battle. I lost a battle. Actually, I lost many battles. Actually, it’s been a long war, just like those wars that seemed to last forever between England and France, the Yankees and the Red Sox, the IRS and Bernie Madoff.

It was me against Mother Nature  — are we still allowed to use that term? — and I quickly learned the forces of nature are more powerful than the Avengers or the IRS. After 15 years, we put up the white flag and surrendered ignominiously to a band of marauding white-tail deer that pillage the neighborhood like pirates of the Caribbean after getting soused from too much rum.

My wife is blaming me because they ravaged our gardens and ate 50 hostas. Actually, I should have known long ago that deer love hostas as much as kindergartners love processed sugar.

Over the years, we’d spray the plants with all kinds of high-priced organic deer repellent because we were nature-loving environmentalists with Sierra Club memberships whose motto was “Hug a tree — or a bear if you can find one.”  We even tried things recommended by the Farmer’s Almanac, including human hair, urine, dehydrated human poop, dried blood, and pepper. The sad reality is nothing was successful — although I’m convinced some of Donald Trump’s hair would have scared the daylights out of them. Or even Hillary’s for that matter.

If something worked, it worked for only a short time because the deer eventually learned to love the repellent and nibbled the plants until all that was left were stubs. The next night, they’d return and eat the stubs as an appetizer before heading off to someone else’s yard for a main course of impatiens and lilies.

This last engagement was worse than the battle of Waterloo. After being criticized for not spraying the hostas enough, I doused them with a formula I got at the garden center that smelled like a port-o-let at a Manhattan construction site on an August afternoon in the middle of a heat wave. The repellent left a white residue on the plants that was supposed to make deer tongues tingle, but I guess they loved the tingling sensation because the next day every single hosta was gone.

After 15 years, I had reached a dead end and we finally surrendered. My wife said, “I’m sick and tired of doing this. I’m pulling them up and planting … cactus.”

The crazy thing — and I didn’t tell Sandy — is the deer have never eaten the neighbor’s hostas, which leads me to conclude they’ve been getting high snorting all that repellent, and I may have unwittingly supported their drug habit.

If that wasn’t enough, I fought another war against Mother Nature. For the past seven years, woodchucks have burrowed beneath our home, leaving holes around the foundation, which can cause structural damage.

To get rid of them, I tried cayenne pepper, the urine thing again — someone even peed in the holes — and high-tech electronic spikes that emitted signals guaranteed to cause woodchuck hysteria and get them to vacate the premises. I planted four of these sonic devices, which I later learned were actually sending signals to aliens in the Andromeda galaxy that said, “Invade our planet PLEASE before the presidential election!” For their part, the woodchucks seemed to snore through it and got used to the noise the way you get used to your teenager’s heavy metal rock music.

I also bought a half-gallon container of red pepper from Costco and poured it down the holes, but I suspect they used it to make a mighty spicy salsa. Then, I set up Havahart traps with carrots, vegetables, and peanut butter as bait but nothing lured them out. So much for having a heart.

In desperation, I loaded my pellet gun and in the tradition of Elmer Fudd, I went hunting, but when the woodchuck came out and started nibbling on the plants and flowers, he was just too cute and I couldn’t pull the trigger. Now, Pamela Anderson and PETA want to nominate me for humanitarian of the year.

Then, the situation got worse. They must have realized I was a weakling nature-lover because they dug more holes and devastated the gardens, so I called a fellow who specializes in “catching and removing woodchucks.” “Have Trap, Will Travel.”

I paid the bounty hunter a hefty fee and four days later, he called us and said he captured five of them. A whole colony had been burrowing around the house. It was a regular Woodchuck Woodstock. It was worse than a Kardashian family photo shoot. But thank goodness it’s over … except for the alien invasion.

 

Contact Joe Pisani at [email protected]

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