The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Deer-free garden

Deer deterrentWe haven't seen any deer damage in our garden in a couple of months, and even then their depredations were minimal.  Compare that to years past when our entire growing area was repeatedly defoliated by the hooved fiends, and you'll understand why I think Mark is a genius.

Last year, I was thrilled by the deer deterrents Mark made using old display motors, but those motors burnt out quickly and left holes in our defenses.  His most recent incarnation uses rotisserie motors, which seem more hard core and also go a bit more slowly so that that the noise is harder for deer to acclimate to.  To put the icing on the cake, the golf balls now hit brass cups, which makes the noise more pleasing to human ears --- very similar to a wind chime.

To be fair, it's really tough to find the true cause of our current absence of deer because every year is a bit different.  Maybe wild foods are especially abundant this year, but we don't seem to be having a mast year on our property.  And the deer pressure is still quite strong --- a neighbor told me that he'd recently cruised down our two and a half mile road and counted fifty deer.  Granted, I did take a potshot over the head of a deer a few months ago when he found a gap in our deterrents and ate my beans, but the efficacy of scare tactics like that has been short term in the past.  In previous years, I've lost the entire fall garden in one fell swoop to the deer.
Deer deterrent in action
We're hoping to have some guinea pigs test out deer deterrents around their own garden to give us a bit more data --- Mark has offered two free t-shirts to anyone who sends us some photos (and feedback) on their deterrents in action.  Your first step should be to read our instructions to make your homemade deer deterrent.  Those instructions use a motor that we no longer recommend, but it should be simple to add in the rotisserie motor and take out the drill, transformer, and resistor using the information Mark has been posting on his deer deterrent blog.  You can leave a comment here or there if you have trouble and we'll point you in the right direction.  I estimate that your total cost to produce a deterrent (assuming you buy everything new) will be about $30...or considerably less if you do a bit of scavenging for components.

I know that we have a lot of handy readers, so I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with.  Erich, Zimmy, consider yourselves challenged.

Mark's last invention --- the homemade chicken waterer --- has captured the imagination of thousands of backyard chicken keepers from Alaska to Australia.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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