Thursday, September 07, 2006

Last Week in Paradise

First, a follow-up to the Care and Feeding of Editors posts. I happened to look back at them and saw a late comment that came in from none other than E1. Who accepted the challenge I gave her to write a Care and Feeding of Authors post. She even promised to throw in a bear somewhere. Now, I have no idea what she’s going to write, and if she depicts me eating all day, you’ll know it’s all a pack of lies. But I graciously wrote her and said you BGs would be thrilled to hear her side of things.

Truth is, E1 has had to herd many an author in her day. She’s the one who’ll gather us Zondervan novelists around and say, “Now, children, it’s time to be on your best behavior.” (She knows us so well.) “You’re going to be meeting booksellers now, understand? You’re meeting the public.

An editor has to make these kinds of statements when there’s a Jim Bell in her care. Me, I always behave.

Now for today—Last Week in Paradise. Yes, I’ve stolen one more week in Idaho, then it’s back to the concrete jungle of California. Nature seems to be reminding me I’m on my last days here. It’s come out in full force.

We’ve had a doe and her twin fawns all summer. They live in our forest. They’re out on our lawn every day. Sometimes when I’m working on the deck, the fawns will come out in the backyard and play, not even caring that I’m so close. This I find endearing. What I do not find endearing is their sudden taste for my flowers.

I’ve nourished these flowers all summer. They’re lined up in pots along the side walk. I bought a bunch of new ones in August, all different kinds and colors. Every morning I go outside and croon to them and water the things. They’ve grown happily.

Enter—The Evil Deer. I came out this morning to find four of my flowers plants totally gone. I’m talkin’ eaten down to the pots. One pot was even pulled off the deck and on its side on the lawn. And all today while I’ve worked in the lounge chair on the deck, around the corner I hear those deer snickering as they chew my blooms. Man. I’m about to pull out the mothballs again. That smell has finally disappeared, but I’m wonderin’ about sprinking a few of those things around my blossoms . . .

And then there are the bees. Various types. One kind—I don’t know what the heck it is. Black with white-striped head and feet. Whatever it is, it’s certainly ubiquitous. I keep a fly swatter near me while I’m on the deck. It’s not like the bees are out to get me. They’re doing their thing, that's all. I’m just not particularly keen on them doing their thing in my space.

I got real aggressive two days ago and killed four of the suckers. “Hah!” I yelled with every fatal blow. Reminded myself of the fly story in Getting Into Character. Oh, yeah, I was feeling vindictive about killing those critters. I whacked 'em a few extra times for good measure against the deck, then pushed them underneath the lounge chair next to me. By the afternoon I had quadruplets. Heh-heh. Filled me with Schadenfreude just to look at 'em.

Yesterday I came back to my usual place to write. Looked beneath the lounge chair beside me. Yup, four corpses still there. I grinned.

That afternoon I looked—and there were three.

I leaned over, squinted. Maybe my eyes were just tired. I fetched the yellow swatter, moved ‘em around.


I ask you—what happened to the fourth bee?

Did a deer eat it? Did Baby Bear sneak out and flick it away while I was inside fetching something to eat?

Is a Bee Zombie going to haunt me tonight?

Someone clue me in.


~michelle pendergrass said...


For the deer, take a bar of deodorant soap and your handy-dandy cheese grater out to your flowers and grate your little heart out.

You can take your bottle of garlic powder or cheyenne pepper and do the same. You just have to re-do them after a good rain. Keeps the critters away, though.

If you put out some containers of sweet stuff (soda, sugar water, etc) around the edge of your property, the bees will go there instead of your deck.


Anonymous said...

For the deer: Set the crock pot on "low" and simmer all day with onions and potatoes.

For the bees: spray their nests in broad daylight, ignoring the instructions on the can, and run screaming like a woman (no offense).

For the zombie bee, I think you have to cut off their heads. You can try a stake through the heart, but who knows where that is? Maybe it's not a zombie, maybe it was stolen. You don't have bee zombies, you have bee ghouls.

Feel better? Give me a call when that venison is ready.

I'm not really anonymous. Beta blogger hates me.

Kristy Dykes said...

The bee wasn't dead. You only wounded it. Hit harder.

The reason they bother you is because you're a redhead. Bugs love redheads. At least that's my opinion. Bugs never bother Milton. But they bother me. I have eight new mosquito bites from this weekend's outing. Milton doesn't have a one.

I just read Michelle's and Ron's posts. Michelle, you're brilliant. Ron, you're hysterical!

Lynette Sowell said...

Bees. You should feature those in a book. Like with the spiders.

Our town has over 30,000 people. My pastor's wife lives in a neighborhood with houses elbow to elbow. But the deer that roam her street in the evenings always eat her flowers. She's given up on the pretty potted plants thing.

Lynetta said...

Ranchers in Wyoming keep the deer away from their haystacks by putting human hair over it. Beauty salon operators actually keep bags of it and donate it to local ranchers. Although Michelle's hints seem more palatable, I thought you'd want a more grim (grimmer?) option, being a suspense novelist and all.

Karen Eve said...

Deer love domestic vegetation, even when there's plenty of wild around. I would definitely consider some of the above for next year. Of course, you'll want to make sure that none of those options attract skunks. :)
As for the bees, give me snakes, give me spiders, but don't even talk about bees around me. I can envision that little guy recuperating and planning his revenge. He's probably bulking up to come back as a giant killer bee and get his revenge. Hopefully on the skunks.
BTW - my mom used to nail a piece of bacon to a tree away from our campsites when I was growing up to help redirect the bees. Of course, since other critters like to eat it, you have to do it daily. It seemed to work, although you wouldn't want to walk close to that tree. Me, I don't camp anymore (except for Motel 6 or the cabins at Mt Hermon), so it isn't a concern.

Julie Carobini said...

Sounds like a title you could use for a future book, you know, when a corpse turns up missing: "And Then There Were Three."

Let us know when it's available :-)

Anonymous said...

Brandilyn, Brandidlyn... You REALLY don't know what's going on? Remember the old Twilight Zone episode, the one where three astrounauts return from space? At least there SEEMED to be three, until one disappeared. When the other two asked the hospital employees where he went, they were met with blank stares, and chilling words: "What other one? Only two of you came back." Then, the second guy went missing, and the one that was left was told "Only you came back." And then...dum! dum! dummmm!...HE was gone, and the newspaper headline said SPACESHIP RETURNS EMPTY, or something like it. Idaho is an evil place, Brandilyn, with its own way of handling outsiders. Mark my words, each of the other two bee carcasses will vanish, and soon we'll all be saying "Brandilyn who? There was never a Brandilyn in that house..." Go! While there's yet time... *G*

Catherine West said...

THat Ron is a sick puppy.
We have deer at the lake - they love to come and eat up all my hydrandeas and hostas, long before I get a chance to arrive and take care of the plants, but even so...deer in a crockpot? Ugh.
They are a nuisance but I blame the previous owner. She used to feed tham...go figure.
My neighbour has a great concoction she sprays on her plants to keep the deer away. It's got something like hot tamale sauce and God only knows what else in it...but her plants look great.
As for the bees, I can't discuss them, I might break out in hives....:0))
While I'm here, I'd like to invite you to check out Christian Women Online
If you would like to link to us, there are various ways to do so. Instructions are on the website. I hope you will join us in "uniting women of faith!"

~michelle pendergrass said...

Oh Kristy, you flatter me! I'm not especially educated in matters of the wild. You see, my husband is a great outdoorsman and he hunts. Since we have 15 acres, it benefits him to keep the deer from our foliage and lure them to his treestand. If nothing is edible around our yard, they must go to where he has planted a food plot for them on the back of the property. LOL That's just the way it is. Who am I to argue?