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Renovation & Design

Could make wine if deer weren't so hungry

Apples, berries popular with people and wildlife

Photos by Laurie Mustard / Winnipeg Free Press

Apparently, there’s wine growing in my yard.

That can’t be a bad thing. This wine is currently in its earlier form, chokecherries, which I know people make jam from, as well. What a waste.

If you’re going to do that, at least make chokecherry jam wine. Best of both worlds.

I will be doing neither with them, I just leave them for the birds. And even though the chokecherries are in a fenced area, maybe the deer will eat them, too, because a bush that was loaded with chokecherries a couple of days ago is now totally stripped.

I have a five-foot chain link fence. My neighbour says he often sees the deer jumping out of my yard in the morning. Good for them. Chow down, deer, humans have stolen way too much of your natural habitat. Help yourself to every yummy berry and apple I’ve got. And HUMBUG to those who chase you away. You’re beautiful. Yes, you’re welcome to my willow leaves, as well.

See how good Mustard is for you?

There are lots of berry bushes in and around my yard, including Saskatoons on either side of the driveway out front. But I never get any of those because the birds and deer scoff them as soon as they’re bite size. Again, help yourself.

The deer really love grazing off the apple tree in my front yard, as well (full-size delicious apples in a properly wet year), and sometimes entertain me by standing on their hind legs to reach the high ones. I’ll take the Deer Apple Ballet over the regular kind any day. I know how skilled and graceful professional ballet is, but I prefer the Ali boxing variety ballet, where the dancers get to punch each other in between steps. So much more interesting — (cue Rocky music).

Not only do I grow wine in my yard, but Laughingthorn berries, as well. What better pairing to go with chokecherry wine? Actually, I believe the correct name is Hawthorn, which are actually pommes, or tiny apples. And, according to Mountain Rose Herbs and numerous other sources, they are also very good for you. In fact, Hawthorn leaf, flowers and berries have been praised over the centuries for their heart-elevating properties, believed to uplift and strengthen both the physical and emotional heart.

Who knew?

Hawthorn, along with supporting healthy cardiovascular function, was also revered for ceremonial and spiritual purposes. You can also make wine from Hawthorn berries.

Well, since I can use help in all of the above categories, I’d better start eating them. There might be hope yet.

Now, aside from apples and berries and such, I also have mushrooms growing in clumps — very pretty until they shrivel, turn black and look evil. Warning. You must be very careful when deciding whether the mushrooms you find are safe to eat or not.

Some can be poisonous.

If you eat them and you die, those are the poisonous ones. Don’t do that again. Am I a big help, or what?

That apple tree out front is very popular. I have a friend who calls each year asking to come and strip it clean to make wine, which I think the deer may have figured out, so they’ve sped up their harvesting a tad.

He called a few days ago to ask if he could come over to pick, so I looked out my front window and noticed in the last couple of days or so, between the wind and the deer, the tree was pretty much bare.

That’s OK. My buddy can buy wine. The deer can’t buy apples.

Comments or feedback, love to hear from you.

lmustard1948@gmail.com

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