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Dear Deer
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Living in the Midwest can make gardening difficult. No, not the weather as we usually get adequate rain and sunshine; not lack of variety as the growing season is long enough to enjoy a multitude of yummy and healthy foods. No, the number one thing that makes gardening difficult in the Midwest is deer.

I have heard that deer don't like tomatoes. Wrong! They love them, particularly while they are still green.

I have heard that deer will stay away if human hair is scattered around the plants. Wrong.

I've heard that a radio in the garden will keep them away. Nope. They love dinner music.

Urine? I've tried everything from coyote urine to...yes...human urine. Don't ask. It works for a day or two, but then they learn that whoever or whatever is relieving itself is not doing it during dinner.

I've also heard that one may even order lion dung from the UK to scare them away. I didn't go that far, but I did dump the litter box along the border of the tomatoes, hoping the deer wouldn't know how big (or little) the kitty was. Come to think of it, though, how in the world does an Iowa deer know what a lion is anyway?!

Soap and Dryer Sheets 

I have sprayed and sprinkled every product available. I've even hung bars of soap and dryer sheets among the plants as I heard deer don't like the soapy smell. I'm pretty sure I saw a doe showering beneath the bar of soap in the rain and then dabbing just a bit behind her ears as she left.

I would gladly plant the deer a garden of their own if they would just stay in it. Unfortunately, they prefer buffet style.

It was better when we had a dog, but our old Molly died this spring, so we are without animal defenses.

Recently, in exasperation over the damage of the previous night, I resorted to something that I probably shouldn't even admit. I wrote a letter to the deer. Dear Deer, I don't want to hurt you, and I do think you are beautiful animals,so I am asking you nicely to please exclude my garden from your diet... Not that I thought it would work, but I hoped that a little comic relief might buffer my anger issues.

Then it hit me. The solution to my madness was to simply to let go of it. I had thought of the garden as mine. My seeds, my fertilizer, my water, and even my soil! But all those things belong to God, including the deer. Who did I think I was getting all grabby with the abundance that comes from the hand of the true Gardener? So I surrendered the garden, the deer, and my anxiety to God. What relief came over me! It's in God's hands! The Bible says, “For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills” (Psalm 50:10).

Hopefully, I will remember this freedom as I face opportunities to surrender other things in my life to God as well.

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ByGwen Scott Simmons. Copyright © 2013 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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