I've been fortunate in that for the past 20-plus years I've had very few problems with critters and our gardens, with only an occasional rabbit nibbling off a few young plants and robins sucking the strawberries. That is until now. This summer we discovered that a doe had given birth to twins. At first they didn't bother anything or anyone. As the little critters have gotten bigger, they've gotten braver. I'm glad the vegetable gardens are winding down but as for my wife's flowers, that's a different story.

The twins began venturing into our yard on an almost daily basis about a month ago. The two dogs haven't been much help as Stanley is tied up and Marley is so old and blind all she can do is stand there and bark in the general direction. A couple of weeks ago the twins ate just about all of my wife's impatiens in front of my play house. They got bolder and must have been actually brushing against the house to eat the next round of flowers. Yesterday I noticed they had gotten the petunias in the milk can.

As you can see by the photo, they even hang around and watch Hannah train her horses. In fact they often stand right by that little shed you see, which is about 20 yards from where the horses are running.

Being new to this problem I figured I'd check out the web and see what kind of suggestions there are for deterring deer in case they don't meet their fate this fall. There are a lot of suggestions, including some that involve a fence, herbs, hair, socks, soap, urine and CDs.

You apparently can't try all these suggestions can you? Or should I? Maybe this spring I'll call Silvan from the Owatonna Art Center and invite him to come out to inspect my garden and see if it would make the cut for their Secret Garden Tour in July. After climbing over the fence I'd point out the bars of soap hanging down. This one is Irish Spring and over in that patch I used a combination of Lifeboy and Ivory. The radio is blasting Kat Kountry 105 and I've found that these Merle Haggard's Greatest Hits CDs work the best. The smell you may notice is coming from the socks over there and don't walk in that corner, that's where I pee. Now if you pull back this oregano and basil you'll see a couple of small petunias. Aren't they cute?

I'll admit the urine idea is intriguing as it makes my pocketbook happy. I could probably get away with it since I'm in the country. But what about my wife. "Loren, what in the world are you doing in my flower garden?" Telling her I was protecting her flowers from deer probably wouldn't cut it.

Spring is a long way off so I guess we'll worry about it then. Though I'm thinking a pair of my socks hanging in the garden after work might deter a lot of things including the deer. Or maybe I could drive a post and hang a calendar and turn it to November. Think that would work?