Unluckiest guy in the world

Today settles it. I’ve got the worst luck of anyone I know. Before I tell you what happened now, I will admit that if all the damage didn’t hurt so bad it would actually be pretty funny…but I’m not laughing too much, Turns out I have been the victim of a pest that I’ve never, ever heard anyone else on here ever get hit by. I’ve seen you all try to deal with every insect and animal I thought was possible…until today. I was gone most of the day and return to a sight of heavy damage and destruction. 4 fruit trees were wiped clean, and 2 of them had very heavy fruit loads and others were damaged but will survive… 41 hills of watermelons were destroyed. 12 tomatoes that were close to bearing, and I lost 1/2 of 2 60 foot long rows of green beans. That’s not all. 30 foot row of sweet corn, 8 sweet pepper plants, and a 30 foot row of okra was completely destroyed (and it was red okra which I’d never grown and was excited about), and then just a lot of random garden plants all over the garden. I had a burbank blum tree that had a very heavy crop and was looking perfect and it was going to be the first time. There were about 100 plums on the tree and now there are 4 and 2 of them are damaged. AN unknown peach tree that was about 2 weeks from cropping had almost all its fruit ripped off, much of it just left on the ground to sicken me. My methley plum, another first, had roughly half of its very large crop just stripped and mostly left on the ground. One small shenandoah Paw Paw tree (3.5 ft and 3 years old) had all the leaves stripped off and I doubt it will live.

I could go on, but you get the picture. Major destruction to garden and orchard. Its not as bad as last year’s spray which killed 18 trees and damaged 13 more severely and wiped out blooms on entire orchard, but its still big time damage that sickens me. If I did I not have last year’s tragedy to compare it to I’d be devestated, but with last year’s loss I’m able to keep this in some perspective.

So, are you dying to know what kind of pest/predator could do the kind of damage I am describing? Have you aleady guessed? If you are thinking deer,. its way more than even several deer could do in just a few hoursl But the prints did look similar- though much bigger. Just as I’m standing in my garden, screaming mad, and trying to figure out what did all this, I hear hammering in the distance and can just barely make out my neighbor or his farm workers banging and driving and repairing their fence…THE CATTLE FENCE!!! That’s right…can you believe that a neighbor who lives about 750 yards from me- apparently had his cattle escape! They had to cross a huge corn field AND a giant wheat field to get to my garden and orchard. Why they walked through all that food and then eat my stuff is beyond me. I don’t know how many there were and I didn’t even go talk to the farmer. I know he didn’t mean for it to happen and as mad as I am, I don’t feel its his fault the way the spray drift on the other side of me was. Cows get out. I’ve lived here 5 years and this is first time they’ve ever got out. So I’m gona forgive and forget, though I will let him know I got a lot of damage.

If you saw my post yesterday you know that I was in a great mood and feeling really great about my orchard, so posting all that positive stuff most have forced Karma to set things back! Today I’m asking if its worth it or what can come next, but my post from yesterday says more about how I feel than today’s bad luck! So I’d rather leave you with that frame of mind:


Oh dear, this is devastating news. I am so sorry for your losses, time and work. Please do speak with the farmer I am sure he will be understanding. When people say ‘things happen for a reason’, they don’t know what their talking about!


Damage like this can be very disheartening but we are not a group of people easily deterred


You’re not the most unlucky, even if you feel like it right now. That was still an awful blow to come home to. Sometimes it seems like being involved with growing things is enough to give a person extreme mood swings, even if he wouldn’t otherwise be prone to them.

I feel for the cattle owner, too. Having your cattle escape and cause damage is major concern, because the owner is responsible for any damage they cause, and they can cause a lot in very little time, enough to wipe out profit.

I really enjoyed your post yesterday, even though I didn’t have time to comment on it then. You’ve got a lot more days like that ahead of you. Really, you do. You have worked hard to create the potential for an abundance. What you were experiencing yesterday is just a peek at what may be in store in the years to come. I expect you to experience days like that many times over. Yes, there will be hail, floods, freezes, deer, grasshoppers, and newly introduced pests. Some negative things will happen every year, but more often than not, enough things will go right that you will harvest far more than you can use. The odds of those times will continue to increase as your experience increases, and you gain an eye toward potential problems.

I’m not trying to make light of today. That had to be a spirit crushing sight. I’m so sorry that this happened to your orchard and garden. Maybe your neighbor could compensate you with a side of beef to fill the space in your freezer that your fruit and veggies won’t be occupying this year.


They usually don’t do so much damage but I’ve had a few herds here at a time. Thankfully your ground wasn’t wet as they leave huge holes in your yard that are a real son of a gun to mow over. I told my neighbor nicely Kansas is a fence in state not a fence out state and if he could keep his cows home I’d appreciate it. 2 other herds came here last year. Once last year in the middle of the night I was herding them out of my yard with a switch and a bull I didn’t see because he was an Angus and it was dark got mad at me and charged me. I jumped out of the way but it broke a stick the size of an arrow off in my leg and took a few weeks to heal. Just lucky there was moonlight or else I would not have heard or saw him. Just happened to look back. I’m sorry it happened to you and I hope you saw the last of them. Bottom line is I have red clover and brome grass and water you can’t blame them. The grass was burned up at the neighbors and they don’t have ponds full f water. I would have been hot had I been you and likely would not have handled it as well as you did. Seen some bad blood between families through the years over cows, hogs, fences, dogs, and chickens. The fence is the only one out of that group I just mentioned I own because the cows and dogs etc. will sure get you into fights with your neighbors!

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Oh my gosh. I just don’t even know what to say, Kevin. My heart goes out to you. I hope your neighbor whose cattle destroyed your lovely garden has offered to make amends. We had our horses get out once, and they trampled my neighbor’s yard across the street. You’re right - animals get out sometimes. But, we offered to pay for all the damage. It won’t get you back your hard work for this season, but at least it’s the right thing to do. It would be inconsiderate of him not to offer, truly.

Patty S.

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I would suggest that you gather up friends and family and hold a giant steak barbecue out in your orchard/garden. It won’t bring back the damaged produce, but in this particular case, revenge is a dish best served medium-rare!


Yes I think I would have a little talk with the owners and let them know your freezer needs filling and since their cows ruined what you were going to fill it with they can now fill it with beef !


Man, tough blow. When you were describing the damage, I really thought you were going to say it was a black bear (and I don’t know where you’re located). I agree with some of the others, you need to have a discussion with the neighbors about some restitution, be it a freezer full of beef or some greenbacks.

What a thing to come home to!

Ask your neighbor to come over and look at the damage caused
by his live stock. I’d also take lots of pics, in order to back up your
claim, if he doesn’t do the right thing. We all feel your pain.

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I have a client whose neighbor used his fenced orchard as a corral while he was out. Fortunately it didn’t do much damage, but his land is a hunting preserve and not a source of forage for a cowboy and his herd.

Not that the story is of interest to you at this point.

In your case, you certainly need payback from the responsible party as has already been stated. I am part of the pain feelers here, but such set backs are inevitable at times. Growing fruit has very little in common with shopping.



But the pain in the pit of my stomach can’t begin to match yours.

Wish you well


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This is just another sad thing to hear. People who don’t nurse fruit trees along probably just can’t know the pain. I’m distraught when wildlife damages things, I can’t imagine when avoidable human error type things happen, like when a paid applicator messes up and ruins things like the other thread, and here where livestock gets out and does all this. Feel just terrible for you. Hoping something really good happens for you today!!!

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Kevin, so sorry about what happen to your garden and orchard. Can’t believe this happen to you again!

I agree with others that you should talk to your neighbor and see if you can get some compensation, this is just part of their cost of doing business. Unless your neighbor is really impoverished.

On a lighter note, I had a little pig showed up in my yard a couple of weeks ago. it didn’t get into my vegetable garden, just ate the few strawberries hidden in my flower bed and left. I am so glad it’s a little pig, not a cow or a bull.



Hang in there. Trees are very forgiving. They will branch out strong again. I agreed with others that your neighbor needs to reimburse you for your loss.


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As both an orchardist AND a cattleman, I can sympathize. Have had my own cattle and the wife’s horses destroy so much stuff over the years - fortunately only my own plants… It happens; even when you (or your neighbor) has done everything right… a tree down on the fence, lightning blowing the fence energizer, a kid (or you) accidentally leaving a gate open, or failing to make certain that it’s properly latched/fastened. It alway amazes - and incenses - me that they will walk through lush grass/clover to come bite the top out of, or rub the limbs off of, the most desirable tree you’ve nursed along. Grrrr. Aaackk!.

Hang in there!


I was so aggravated that this is the first time I’ve logged on since my original post. I cannot believe how much it helped reading all your responses. I appreciated the empathy and enjoyed the humorous comments (and photos!) very, very much. I feel bad for continually having to come to you guys to complain about my problems and continuing to rely on you to cheer me up and remind me that things aren’t really as bad as it seems. It has only been a year since I came here complaining about one neighbor’s spray damage, and now I’m once again here complaining about another neighbor and the damage he caused. So let me first say that I promise I’m not generally a pessimestic person who goes through life telling everyone I am a victim…so I sincerely hope it doesn’t seem that way to you all. I was just upset and turned to those here that I knew would understand. Now that I’ve calmed down, I promise not to continue griping about my problems…it was just frustrating. I found 2 more trees today that were apparently violently twisted because even though they are standing up, the trunks are severely damaged in a pattern that obviously came from have a large limb pulled around until it ripped the trunk. Oh well.

What is interesting is that they man who owns the cattle was a big big critic of the neighbor who sprayed my trees last year. I still here this neighbor (who owns the cattle) repeatedly saying “well, the least he could do is come apologize and offer to pay for the damage. I can’t believe he is just hiding and acting like it isn’t his fault”. And now that is EXACTLY what this guy is doing. And it isn’t that he doesn’t know. I had another neighbor tell me today that the cattle owner and his workers actually spent a lot of time in my orchard and my garden trying to round up the cattle…so he HAD to see the damage. Oh well, guess its different when its his fault and not someone else’s.

The other thing that just blows my mind is exactly what Lucky said: These cows had to cross a huge corn field with young, tender corn plants. Then across a soybean and wheat field- both things cattle eat and enjoy. But they come all the way to my garden and eat my 2 rows of corn (among other things). Same thing with my fruit trees. I have quite a few trees in my orchard that I am already considering replacing- either because I don’t like them, or they have problems, or etc. All these cows pass dozens and dozens of trees, and tear up and destroy 2 of my very favorite trees in my orchard. Also ruined a paw paw, and you know how slow they grow…why couldnt they tear up a similar sized tree like peach or plum- they only take a year to get as big as this paw paw was in 3.5 years.

Anyway, I could go on, but as I said, I’ve acted like a victim and complained to you all long enough. And I honestly am much more forgiving of this situation that the spray drift. The spray was reckless and irresponsible and preventable and caused far more damage. The cattle owner had actually put up a new fence recently and while I don’t know what went wrong, he was trying to do the right thing. If I would just come apologize and offer to pay I wouldn’t let him and I’d feel 1000 times better, but even he doesn’t. I forgive him since things like this do happen.

SO we’ll put this to bed… Thanks again for letting me vent and for all of you taking the time to offer support. I’ll stop being a complainer and victim and put this behind me. Hopefully this was be the last loss I will have DUE TO OTHER PEOPLE for a long time! Thanks again…I really did enjoy each response very much.


Cows are not stupid when it comes to feed and that was a big compliment they gave you walking through 2 fields to get there. I would still install a large spit rotisserie like this one http://www.gardengiftshop.co.uk/acatalog/Grizzly_Spit_Rotisserie.html. I would be very indirect and just say I could not wait to use it and I feel I would have an opportunity coming up to try it soon.

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For what it is worth, I’ve read that deer are attracted to better “fed” plants- that is ones receiving more supplementary nitrogen. Apparently because of the higher protein content.