How to Keep the Deer Away

Keeping deer away, it said.

The notecard my mother-in-law left me last week.

Laura, after things dry off after a rain, mix a solution of ¾ parts water & ¼ part milk in a spray bottle. Spray all your garden plants. If you don’t have a spray bottle, just take your fingers and sprinkle the plants—must do this after every rain. It will keep the deer away.

My tenderettes had turned up nibbled down to the nub one morning. I called my mother and father-in-law. They are my gardening consultants.

It’s the deer, she said. They love beans!

She left me the card while I was at work one day. I don’t know why, but I didn’t do it.

The next day, I noticed that the tops of some of my tomato plants had been nibbled. And my hydrangea. I’m doomed to never see that thing bloom.

I still didn’t sprinkle the milk. I don’t know why. I just didn’t do it.

The next morning, I was incredulous.

Those boogers ate my tobasco peppers! I told my husband.

Sprinkle the milk, he said.

Well, I didn’t think they would eat hot peppers!

The milk, he said, emphatically.

I didn’t. Do. It.

The next morning, I was enjoying a cup of coffee at the kitchen table. The birds were frolicking happily at my feeder and I was lost in the flutter of wing and flash of gold. Then, on my periphery, something moved in the meadow. Something large and brown.

Slowly, I stood up from the table. The birds startled away in a poof of feathers.

It was a doe.

Breathlessly, I watched her move toward the fence, edging ever closer to my garden. I was ready to make a big ruckus. I could put a scare on a doe like nobody’s business. And then the little fawn appeared.

I sat back down.

She nosed her little muzzle up against the fence.

Perhaps that dear little creature needs those beans more than I, my clouded thoughts wondered.

The thieving duo disappeared into the thick underbrush of the meadow and I began thinking of vine-ripened tomatoes. Of homemade salsa and the snap of fresh-picked beans.

I sprinkled the milk.

While I was doing so, I wondered to myself…what took me so long?

Does that ever happen to you? You know you should do something, but you just don’t? You know it will make your life better, richer, more beautiful…but you don’t.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. (Romans 7:15-20)
Some seasons, that sin nature just beats me. And I’m not talking about sprinkling milk here. Some days, are dark days where I question and doubt, some days my words tear down instead of building up, some days I’m eaten up with negativity and ugly, some days…I do what I do not want to do. Some days, that sin nature comes soft with downy white spots on its back and a pretty pink nose pressed up against my fence.

There is a simple solution. That sprinkling again. When I remember the sprinkling of my baptism…it keeps me from being nibble down to the nub.

What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord.—Romans 7: 24-25

 With Jen and the Soli Deo Gloria sisters today:


  1. says

    It is a beautiful analogy Laura. I find myself behaving in exactly the same way. I know what I need to do and instead do everything else.

    By the way – did it work? Once this drought is over I’m going to be more aggressive about keeping the deer away from my flowers. Right now, I can’t bear to deny them – especially the Mama and her twins that come every day to drink from the bird bath and hunt around for something to nibble.

  2. says

    I read that very same passage yesterday in my daily Bible reading — thank you for putting into a visual what Paul said.

  3. says

    OK, Laura. You are not going to believe this. But I’ve done the same thing. Not with the milk and deer but with other things. I really want to do what I know is the best thing to do but I keep saying, “No” to it. I really did not think anyone else did this. Especially more than once about the same thing.
    Thank you for pointing me to that Scripture~and for making me feel like I’m not the only one who does this strange, “No” business.

  4. says

    Laura, first your “new” blog is beautiful. I have been away for awhile so I am not sure how “new” it really is but I love it!

    I have often been the incredulous one. Sadly, too often.

    Wise words.

  5. says

    LOL….I can so relate. I thought I needed to find my “want to” in an area of my life. What I realized is that I had my “want to”…it was just the wrong “want to”. It seems so simple….sprinkle with milk. But yet….. Thankful, so very thankful that He loves me no matter what. Finding my way, praying for enough grace for this day, for the right “want to”.
    And the milk thing is interesting. I’ve never heard that one before. Hope you have a grand day with Him Laura!

  6. says

    Laura, only you could take the scourge of deer and turn it into a spiritual post. You are amazing.

    Good luck keeping those varmints out!

    love, your friend Megan, who lives in the land where white-tailed deer outnumber humans.

  7. says

    I feel your pain. Why are we so slow to do the things that we know make a difference? For me, usually it’s holding my tongue instead of releasing scalding words…

  8. says

    I had an interesting conversation with a publisher rep at the conference this past weekend. She wanted to know “how I did it?”. How did I get through my cancer season with a sense of purpose and peace? I thought the answer would be obvious to her, but instead she was asking for more. I simply replied with…

    “Daily faith investments.”

    Doing the spiritual life even when I didn’t feel like doing it. 45 years worth of doing it. That kind of living changes everything.

    Even so, I must continue in my doing. Trust me when I tell you I don’t necessarily feel like doing today, but I keep to it. You do the same, and don’t be surprised where it will land you!


  9. says

    Great story–think it’ll help me remember to just sprinkle. That scripture–it’s so powerful. I remember the first time it really hit me when I read it in college. If I’d ever doubted God “got” me, that scripture assured me He did. Such truth.

  10. says

    I can so relate. The hearing but not doing. The waiting, struggling, trying to find my own path…While, along…He knew the way. And in the end, I always find…His way…so much easier than mine. ~ Jen

  11. says

    I’ve told you this before Laura, but you really create a special feel at your place, here. The things you write about, the words you choose…

    As for your question, do we ever put off something we know we should do? Yes! Lately, I’ve lived by whatever was spinning in front of me and needs my immediate attention gets it. This leaves quite a bit to just fall away.


  1. […] and perched him high above my tomatoes, hoping to frighten off the birds and rabbits. I mixed up my milk solution and sprayed my remaining beans to deter the deer. I cleaned out the deadening squash and cucumber vines and fertilized the meager […]

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