Early morning visitors

Early morning is my favorite time in the garden. It's quiet, dewey, and it's when you'll see some things that you probably won't get to see the rest of the day. The other morning was no exception.

Like many other suburban gardeners, deer are frequent uninvited visitors to our yards. I was going to write "unwelcome visitors", but I don't think that's really true, at least in my case. I like seeing the deer around.

Sometimes you see them, sometimes you just see tracks, or droppings, or the remains of a favorite plant that they've thoughtfully "pruned" for you.

That photo was taken last October. Is the deer picking flowers to bring back and brighten up the woods or wherever exactly they live? Nope, this bloom (and many of the others) are going "down the hatch".

I've learned not to get too upset about feeding the deer with my gardening efforts. I'll usually just watch them eat. Did you know that you can actually see the lump of food traveling down their throats? It's kind of funny. (Trying to turn a negative into a positive here.)

There they are again (probably not the same ones, but I don't know for certain) in late January. Parts of my yard looked like a stockyard at times last Winter -- just solid hoofprints! One good thing is that the deer don't eat bamboo. I've seen them walk up and sniff the bamboo leaves in the dead of Winter when food must be quite scarce, and turn away without so much as a taste.

Speaking of bamboo, here are the new shoots rising above last year's growth on one of my plants:

(It's the photo I was taking the other morning when I noticed I was being watched by the deer.)

I had deer bite off a couple of bamboo shoots last Spring, but this year they left it all alone as far as I could see. Something about the plant they just don't like. Perhaps I've just been lucky so far.

You know who does like bamboo though?

Cats! Cats love chewing on bamboo leaves. They don't go all Panda-bear on it and strip entire branches, but they do enjoy a nibble every now and then.

I just hope the deer don't see them doing it someday and decide to give bamboo another try.

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