Have the Moose Committed to Eating Locally?

By , March 25, 2010

The moose cow and her calf continue to linger on the peninsula. Tuesday, hiking home, we passed them as they browsed near the trail. First thing the next morning, Michelle chased them off the property.

We’re torn when deciding how to relate to these animals. We can either “keep the peace,” passing them quietly on the trails, watching them only from the corners of our eyes, or we can get obnoxious in hopes of driving them out of the area, thus making our plants safer, and our visits to the outhouse a bit less eventful.

It’s possible, though, that our plants are safer than we feared. We’re beginning to think that the moose are dedicated to eating locally.

After our visitors hightailed it off the premises this morning, urged on by a few shouts from Michelle, we took inventory. The lilac bush and cherry trees were untouched, even though they’d obviously crowded the porcupine fence surrounding the lilac off its mounting, walked right under our largest cherry tree, and browsed for a while right next to our newest cherry saplings.

The currants, which grow wild on the edge of our yard, did not fare so well. They’ve been thoroughly browsed by the recent visits.

This isn’t good news for us. Michelle makes a mean currant jelly that’s foolproof. If it gels properly, it goes with peanut butter. If it stays more liquid, it’s syrup for sourdough pancakes. Either way is fine with us, as it’s delicious! Now it appears we’ll have to go beyond the yard to get any jelly this year.

I suppose it makes a certain sense that the moose would browse local wild plants before imports. The only exception to this “rule” Wednesday was the kale they cropped (which grows beneath the cherry saplings). That sacrifice is all right. That particular bed is composted with used cat litter, so we had not intended to eat the kale that volunteered there, succulent and robust as it appeared. At any rate, we need to stay vigilant, in case they change their minds soon. Moose devastated our large cherry trees a few years ago, and their yield is only now beginning to recover. And, after all, the currants are pretty slim pickings now.

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