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Always read the manual, or watch a Youtube video..

Before trying something new, even if you over rate your IQ and the job at hands seems obvious, it is better to read the instruction manual before starting the job if one is available. This goes for assembling IKEA furniture to sound systems, not to mention simple hardware items for landscaping jobs like weed block sheets!

Then there are things where no instuction manual is there.. like getting a mesh fence around plants with Galvanized wire. I vaguely remember doing this 11 years ago after a real hungry deer family of four, finished off 700 dollars worth of plants over one evening. We were new to Cupertino then and had just finished upgrading this house. We did not know about the maurading deers and their appetite for Yellow hibiscus @29.99 each! 

Very depressed, we went back to Yamagami nursery and they said "oh.. why didnt you tell us the plan was to plant these in the front yard. we would have suggested other deer resistant plants. you can only plant this in the backyard where the deer cannot come". I was frothing at the mouth after listening to that elderly woman because this information could have saved a lot of money, effort and sadness. Then she gave me a paper that had a "deer resistant" list and we bought a few plants to make sure the front yard was not a barren mess. 

Then came the drought and we stopped watering anything. Lost trees and plants. We also went through another remodel and this time there was going to be some watering, to bring back life into those dying trees that still managed to cling on. 

There were arguments about "buying plants". San had the wisdom to remind me of the heartbreak from 11 years ago. She said "you might as well throw that money straight into the garbage or feed that to the deer". Having spent all that time cleaning up the front yard, meticoulously arranging stones to precision and feeling like the reincarnation of some Inca builder, was not going to just "let it go". 

This time, Home depot. If the deer were going to get the plants, they were going to get cheap plants... ha! I would still have to face the angry lion at home if they got to the plants. A wise old man in the gardening section who was in charge of advising folks like me came up and showed me "you see these tags. they tell you if it is deer resistant or not!". I was like, me in a Home Depot. These kids in candy store analogies don't do justice to me in a Home Depot nursery. I take Jr. to home depot with me, just so she can practice rolling her eyes for her Indian dance class. Mexican beach pebbles at 15 bucks a bag? "hmm, these will look nice in that corner" will be me thinking out aloud and the kids will go "what?!"

Where were we? Yes, deer resistance.. exactly what units this resistance is measured in is beyond me, but after planting those last week and writing a nice blog about it, was surprised to find out Friday morning that resistance was futile. Touche.. yes. Deja vu.. yes. The lion at home roared in anguish and I suddenly commiserated with the deer for being deer? Yes! 

Amends had to be made and quickly. So like a guy who drinks some more in an attempt to forget the fact that he is too drunk, I went back to Home Depot and the wise man. A galvanized wire mesh of 50 feet was purchased, the old wire cutter from 11 years ago was searched and found and it was time to "protect" what was left of the plants. 

This is where the importance of instruction comes in. In what can only be described as a momentary flash of stupidity mistaken for brilliance, I put the roll of wire on the floor, kicked it with my feet to may it lie flat and started cutting the mesh. The minute I had cut a small section loose, some stress relieved itself somewhere and the rest of the wire decided to coil itself back. That would have been fine if it wasn't sprining towards me at 40 miles and hour, with the sharp cut edges coming at me like claws! By the time I managed to stand up and tried to block the mesh coming at me, my hands and legs were cut in multiple places. Both hands, both legs. This was bringing me memories of Kalidasa and my dad who would launch into sanskrit poetry when I was little and be annoyed that his son didn't just understand a language he was never taught. Turns out he was trying to reach me on the phone at the exact moment this was all happening to wish me a happy anniversary. 

My neighbor who was watching this comedy show came up and said "you know you could just stand that whole thing up as a roll and just cut it. Then it cannot roll over like that and come at you!" . After some first aid and deep breathing and recalibrating my IQ, came back to cut the rest of the mesh without further incident and finished the job!

The deer are evolving and one can never be sure.. but so far it has been two nights since the mesh was installed and the flower buds are still there! 

My hands have cuts and callouses that just started peeling off in the middle of a hot yoga class to the point where I could not grip anything with my hands without going "ouch". Right now the hands are getting some moisturizing treatment with stuff from the wife and kids cabinets. They seem to have half a dozen varieties of this stuff and I am.. let's just say, trying everything! They have not said anything or maybe have not caught on to it, because I just smell like them. 

There is still a lot more work to be done in cleaning up the front yard, but so far so good!

Learn from me! Always put the roll of galvanized wire like a cylinder standing up  and then cut. Also wear a nice thick glove and use a bolt cutter instead of a small wire cutter to avoid callousing your hands!

Most important.. it is better to fence the entire front yard instead of going through all this!

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