Rowdy Deer Makes the “2014 Readers’ Photography Showcase” in Outdoor Oklahoma Magazine!

It is that time of year again when I peruse photos from the past year, and choose my best work to submit to Outdoor Oklahoma Magazine’s “Readers’ Photography Showcase”. FD and I both subscribe to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s (ODWC) bi-monthly magazine as well as their weekly email communications.  As a state licensed wildlife rehabilitator, I enjoy the magazine articles about various wildlife species.  And, as an amateur photographer, I also enjoy the wildlife photography for which the magazine consistently receives national recognition.

My first time ever to submit my wildlife photography work to Outdoor Oklahoma was back in 2012, when I poured over my photographs from the previous year and settled on five photos – the maximum number of entries allowed per individual.  Our very photogenic orphaned red fox squirrel, Frosty, won a full-page glossy in the magazine that year! As his photographer, I was elated and felt more confident than ever about my photography skills. In fact, I was so excited about earning a spot in the magazine’s photo gallery, I had to share it with my fabulous followers in the post “Frosty The Squirrel Makes The “2012 Readers’ Photography Showcase” in Outdoor Oklahoma Magazine!

When 2013 rolled around and it was once again time for a submission to the Readers’ Photography Showcase, I was very hopeful about the photographs I submitted, feeling I had done an even better job with the camera than the year before. During the many outings I managed in 2013, Nature provided some excellent opportunities for me, much of which occurred while walking with Daisy deer to the river to explore a vast area. So, after sending in my five photographs, I was confident about my chances. But when the long-awaited July/August issue arrived showcasing the winning photos, not one of my photographs had been chosen. As I flipped through the many pages of wildlife photos, landscapes, and sporting activity, I was both surprised and disappointed. Compared to the year before, the images selected seemed to reflect the eyes of a novice, an amateur. “Hmm, I mused, it that year’s panel of judges, or single judge whatever it may have been – had a completely different perspective than what was reflected the year before. Oh, well – c’est la vie…”

The 2014 issue of Outdoor Oklahoma featuring the Readers' Photography Showcase.

The 2014 issue of Outdoor Oklahoma featuring the Readers’ Photography Showcase.

When this year’s submission period came around, I neglected the email notices too long and missed the deadline. I am not sure what I was so busy with but, in a way, I think I purposefully let the days slip by. It took a lot of work to submit the photos, and document everything correctly, and I often let myself become overwhelmed when there is too much work involved in a project.  Deep inside, I also knew I was still disappointed by the photography featured the year before.  And then, after the deadline for entries closed, I received an email announcing the magazine was extending the deadline by a month and was encouraging more photo submissions. I felt this was a sign that I should get busy looking at my photos despite my poor attitude. Additionally, I was pleasantly surprised to find that a new online submission form made the whole process a breeze! Now I had no excuse not to give it a whirl.

With my spirit renewed, I could hardly wait to see if any of my work had been chosen when the July/August 2014 Readers’ Photography Showcase issue arrived in the mail this summer.  With the new magazine hot out of the mailbox, I walked down the long lane on my trek back to the house, flipping pages, looking, hoping, and finally preparing myself for disappointment again. The judge(s) this year seemed to have a particular interest in birds. Page after page reflected migratory and native bird images, bird sporting shots, and bird hunting photos. Only a small number of mammal photographs were represented, and even fewer Oklahoma landscapes. I was surprised to see several reptile and insect images, along with some fishing photos, which were nice additions not normally represented. Then, on page twenty, there was a photo of Daisy’s little buck, Rowdy. It had been difficult for me to look back through photos of Daisy’s first twins after the loss of Rowdy, but the wonder and joy of observing Daisy’s first year as a new mother of two beautiful fawns, had completely consumed me, and was easily my number one subject for photography. As such, I would guess I had thousands of photographs of the three of them. Remembering that special time as I flipped through the remaining pages of the magazine, I felt happy that of all of my submissions, that particular one was chosen.

The caption under the photograph in Outdoor Oklahoma Magazine: "Bleating Fawn" A white-tail deer fawn calls to an adult deer at the edge of the woods.

The caption under the photograph in Outdoor Oklahoma Magazine:
“Bleating Fawn”
A white-tail deer fawn calls to an adult deer at the edge of the woods.

As I poured back over the magazine photographs, I examined them with more of a playful eye, rather than focusing so much on their composition or technical aspects. So what if birds were mainly featured in this year’s showcase issue? Thinking back to past issues, there tended to be a lot of attention given to landscape images, or photos of large mammals like deer, elk, and buffalo.  It would always be a crap-shoot as to what next year’s judges would be looking for, and certainly if the judges were all photographers – amateur or professional – each had their own perception of what made for outstanding wildlife photography.  And if the judges were not photographers, their selections would simply be about how the images inspired or delighted them personally.

This coming January, when entries are accepted for the 2015 Readers’ Photography Showcase, I will again submit my favorite photos, and this time not worry about what might be favored. It is always a thrill to be recognized, but really, that recognition is only someone else’s idea of what is exemplary. I like this quote by Salma Hayek to help keep this all in perspective:

“People often say that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder,’ and I say that the most liberating thing about beauty is realizing that you are the beholder. This empowers us to find beauty in places where others have not dared to look, including inside ourselves.”

© 2014 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…

Posted in Nature | Tagged , , , , , , | 43 Comments

An Hour in the Lives of Mr. Gambini and Punkin

With the weather unseasonably warm last week, I decided one morning to get out of the house and do a bit of tidying up on the back porch. No sooner had I began to mutter about the mess of sunflower seeds and pecan shells scattered about on the porch floor, than I heard the familiar “pouncing” noise on the porch railing and pitter patter of little feet as they ran along its length. Mr. Gambini, one of our orphaned juvenile squirrels, had arrived from a westerly direction. Likely, he spotted me from below the slope and came to the porch to see if I had brought out anything good to eat.

I greeted Mr. Gambini as he made his approach along the porch railing, finally rising up on his hind legs to see what I had to offer. But, as soon as he realized I had not brought any food, he scurried away and proceeded to the flower beds below. Once in the bare dirt of the bed, he began to dig in earnest, but did not seem to find what he was looking for. Not to be defeated, he continued to sniff around when the first hole did not produce anything, relocating himself several times in about a two-foot square area.

Gambini_8854

Mr. Gambini searches for a buried snack.

Mr. Gambini searches for a buried snack.

I watched him for a while, taking in his diligent digging and patting around with his paws. Finally, he moved to a more grassy area nearby. Closing his eyes, he nosed deeper into a depression in the grass, and more digging ensued. Then, after much tugging and yanking, Mr. Gambini pulled a rather large, black item out of the hole. It was a half-eaten portion of sweet corn on the cob. After securing this large hunk of corn (which was bigger than Mr. Gambini’s head) in his mouth, he set off for a fence post where he proceeded to nibble at his prize meal. It did not take him long to consume what tender kernels were left on the dirty hunk of corn, and he soon tossed the cob to the ground and took off down the slope to the west again, scrambling up one of the many elm trees that grow near the water tub.

Gambini_8862 Gambini_8863 Gambini_8867 Gambini_8869

I was surprised to find that squirrels bury all sorts of food items for their winter cache.

I was surprised to find that squirrels bury all sorts of food items for their winter cache.

While ascending the tree, I was pleased to see that Mr. Gambini was practicing good squirrel safety tactics, such as hiding around the backside of the trunk where a predator could not see him. Any time a crow flew over, he froze in stillness and waited for the danger to pass.  I also observed him hanging upside down on the trunk of the tree, stretching his body and legs, and looking quite leisurely for the moment. Then suddenly, he scrambled further up the tree and leaped to a smaller branch where he began eating small buds and slender twigs. Though the branch did not look large enough to support him, his weight seemed perfectly balanced as he moved up and down the twig, while constantly nibbling at little goodies along the way.

Mr. Gambini safely makes his way to the bottom of the slope, always alert for predators!

Mr. Gambini safely makes his way to the bottom of the slope, always alert for predators!

Gambini_8960 Gambini_8961 Gambini_8962 Gambini_8964

Elm trees provide tender buds and twigs for nibbling. Nearby hackberry trees put off tasty berries and yummy tree bark. Even the dying leaves can be a food source. Daisy deer loves  to eat autumn leaves!

Elm trees provide tender buds and twigs for nibbling. Nearby hackberry trees put off tasty berries and yummy tree bark. Even the dying leaves can be a food source. Daisy deer loves to eat autumn leaves!

After observing Mr. Gambini for a time, I walked back up the hill to resume cleaning up the back porch. It was not just Mr. Gambini and Punkin who had made such a mess on the floor, as various birds had discovered my daily offering of seeds and nuts as well. I also noticed two neighborhood squirrels had recently been making themselves at home on our porch, running off with the loot whenever I showed up to send them packing. And at nights, the usual raccoon trouble had started up again. This was a constant problem especially in the winter months. And considering that our orphaned squirrels were burying their corn on the cob around the back porch, I surmised that, along with the barrels of deer feed and corn, the raccoons could also detect fresh food in the vicinity.

As I finished my cleaning task, I heard the pounce and patter of feet again. Mr. Gambini was back. This time I found him investigating other areas of the porch in which I would rather he showed no interest. I warned FD that these two juvenile squirrels were becoming much too inquisitive and, sooner or later, we would be sorry for allowing them winter quarters on the back porch. Recently, I’d caught Punkin red-handed with a freshly chewed off portion of the  pull chain of our sun shades in her mouth! Now, here was Mr. Gambini running like a pro along my rolled up sun shades, snooping around the outdoor speakers, and deftly using the satellite tower to make his way to the dish on the rooftop. Those connections on the rooftop would be far too interesting and chewy to pass up one of these days. Thinking of this probability, I visualized FD in his easy chair watching football one Saturday or Sunday afternoon when all of a sudden, BLIP, the satellite signal is gone!

Gambini_8701 Gambini_8705 Gambini_8707 Gambini_8711

As I was coaxing Mr. Gambini down from his perch on the rooftop with a pecan, Punkin showed up.  Fortunately for her, I had a spare nut in my pocket which she was only too happy to take off my hands. I watched the two of them nibble away at their pecans with lightning speed. As soon as each finished their portions, a squabble started up over what discards were left. Mr. Gambini attacked Punkin, but it was ever so gentle, actually more of an interrogation of “let me see what you have” if anything. A little rough housing followed, and then Punkin leaped on the porch rail, with Gambini following. From here, they both gazed out to the woods for a while, and it was not long before they set off to the trees – Mr. Gambini to the west and Punkin in a more northerly direction. There was still plenty of daytime hours to discover what else the woodlands had to offer, and then that nice lady would be putting out fresh vittles at bedtime…

Gambini and Punkin_8695 Gambini and Punkin_8696

I hope this is simply playful practice and not an indication of Grandsquirrels in the spring!

I hope this is simply playful practice and not an indication of Grandsquirrels in the spring!

© 2014 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…

 

 

 

Posted in Nature | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 48 Comments

A Butterfly In Winter

Old man winter blew through the south amazingly early this year. In fact, we had to batten down the hatches a couple of weeks ago in order to battle the blustery winds and frigid below-freezing temperatures that arrived nearly two months earlier than normal. Back in September and October, FD and I were actually predicting an early arrival of winter’s harsh conditions based on observation of Nature preparing the woodland critters well in advance. Daisy deer’s glossy, thin coat of summer hair, gave way to a thick, coarse pelt in darker winter hues of browns, with a fringe of black on her ears and tail. Her face became fuzzy, and her underbelly grew to a thick padding of white hair. Her girth increased and she seemed robustly prepared for the onslaught of cold temperatures and frozen moisture falling from the skies. Even Punkin and Mr. Gambini, the two orphaned squirrels we are raising, had already developed thick coats of hair and extra fuzzy ears and tails.

Winter 2014_8826

Weather normally seen in January in the southern states, arrived rather early in November this year. These are views of the woodlands just below the slope at our back porch.

Weather normally seen in January in the southern states, arrived rather early in November this year. These are views of the woodlands just below the slope at our back porch.

I suppose I was not terribly surprised when Heidi deer disappeared during the recent cold snap. I was terribly sad when Spirit’s late season fawn, Willow, disappeared earlier, and even more disheartened when Daisy’s six-month-old fawn, Dancer (Heidi’s twin sister), vanished recently. I thought Heidi, being the lone survivor of this year’s offspring, might escape whatever was taking our woodland fawns one by one. But after waiting out more than a week of her absence in the bitter cold November weather, I have given up hope. Lately, I have watched Daisy and Spirit mutual groom one another time and again, as if consoling each other over the loss of their babies. But losing Heidi was the last straw for me, and I could not seem to grieve openly. I think it was more about acceptance of yet another loss in my life – and yet another season of joy and contentment gone terribly wrong.

Daisy and Spirit_8795 Daisy and Spirit_8797

Daisy (orange collar) and her yearling fawn, Spirit, watching for bucks to return who have been chasing them all day. They take a moment to mutual groom each other - a beautiful bonding ritual that I am often able to witness.

Daisy (orange collar) and her yearling fawn, Spirit, watching for bucks to return who have been chasing them all day. They take a moment to mutual groom each other – a beautiful bonding ritual that I am often able to witness.

Now, the only fawn in the woodlands that remains of all of those birthed over the spring and summer is a little button buck. He and his mother have frequented the feeders and water tub over the summer months. Now, he often waits down below the slope for his mother to return from the chase of the rut.  In fact, he has been hanging around so much, I have actually managed to make friends with this little fella over the last few days. He does not let me get as near to him as Heidi and Dancer would, but he watches curiously from a distance. I noticed a scar near the button antler on the right side of his head, and a gash torn on the same side near his shoulder. Also, his right ear has a small notch in it. The more I observe the deer in our area of the woodlands, the more I realize that they incur all sorts of injuries and ailments during their lives. Thinking about this, I was thankful to see this little fella patiently waiting on his mother in the safety of our feeding area, and was glad he felt comfortable here on the fringes of our woodlands.

The button buck fawn grazes alone near the feeding area.

The button buck fawn grazes alone near the feeding area.

A five-point buck dominates the corn feeder while the button buck waits nearby.

A five-point buck dominates the corn feeder while the button buck waits nearby.

The button buck hopes to catch sight of its mother.

The button buck hopes to catch sight of its mother.

The button buck leaves to head to the pecan orchard in search of its mother.

The button buck leaves to head to the pecan orchard in search of its mother.

The five-point buck heads on to the pecan orchard as well.

The five-point buck heads on to the pecan orchard as well.

The wind and snow made for blustery winter conditions that day. Like humans, animals hunker down against the elements, protecting eyes and face from the sting of snow and wind.

The wind and snow made for blustery winter conditions that day. Like humans, animals hunker down against the elements, protecting eyes and face from the sting of snow and wind.

Today, I was in the kitchen doing some cooking to help knock off the chill in the house, when I saw something yellow, tumbling about in the wind – floating up, hurtling down, then back up again in a crazy somersault pattern. At first I assumed it was a leaf, even though most of the leaves were now brown or a weathered red. Our brilliant colors of oranges, reds, and yellows had disappeared after the first days of below-freezing temperatures. But it did not seem normal for a leaf to travel in the wind in such a manner.  As I followed the yellow object with my eyes, it became apparent that it was a butterfly! I wondered how on earth had it managed to survive the extreme cold for nearly two weeks?

As it passed on by the kitchen window, I raced to the back door to continue following the butterfly’s journey across our yard and down the slope to the bottom. I tried to photograph it but, flying such a crazy pattern, it was impossible to capture. Finally, it disappeared into the woods. Still, I was elated at having witnessed this miracle of sorts.

What a delightful beauty the button buck is. This photo was taken the day after the snowfall.

What a delightful beauty the button buck is. This photo was taken the day after the snowfall.

Daisy has never forgotten her parents. FD spends a quiet moment with his special girl.

Daisy has never forgotten her parents. FD spends a quiet moment with his special girl.

Spirit returns to reunite with her mother, Daisy, after being chased all day by the nine-point buck!

Spirit returns to reunite with her mother, Daisy, after being chased all day by the nine-point buck! Already the snow has melted! Snow does not stick around long in the South.

Punkin and Mr. Gambini nibble on sunflower seeds and pecans watching the sun set through the trees.

Mr. Gambini  and Punkin nibble on sunflower seeds and pecans, while watching the sun set through the trees.

After the butterfly disappeared, I went back in the house and, as I turned to finish washing dishes at the kitchen sink, I caught the gaze of my smiling Eeyore staring back at me from the window sill. I had long ago found a discarded Eeyore patch in the parking lot of the local Walmart. The morning I discovered him there, I had been in a dark funk (Discovering the Eeyore in Me…), and that little Eeyore patch reminded me just how pathetic I had become! So I picked up the patch and have kept it on my window sill to remind me of the old Eeyore attitude that used to make up so much of my personality. Still today, or anytime I am in a doom-and-gloom mood, or just being negative, that little patch makes me smile. After all, if old “woe is me” Eeyore can smile, then so can I!

Taking in Eeyore’s kind reminder, I began to reflect in a more positive tone. What about this butterfly in flight who shouldn’t have survived two weeks of freezing, and below-freezing temperatures? And was it not something special to see that one, lone button buck surviving wounds and loneliness, awaiting his mother in our area of the woods? To see Daisy and Spirit deer every few days, with a buck or two making chase – and being able to enjoy watching the rut activity just outside our back door – who else had such entertainment? And the orphaned squirrels, Punkin and Mr. Gambini, eating morning vittles and then scurrying off to the woods for the day, representing another successful rehabilitation effort! Thinking of all these blessings, I found myself redirecting my thoughts of loss and sadness, to all of the bliss and happiness to be found right here, at this very moment. If we try, we really do not have to look far to find life’s little miracles.

This Thanksgiving, FD and I are invited to spend the day with special friends. For us, it is not the traditional way we grew up celebrating the holiday – always driving many miles to be with family. But, for the past few years now, our Thanksgiving celebrations have been about enjoying the day with people we love right here where we are. And maybe this Thanksgiving Day, I will just have to wear the little Eeyore patch pinned to my jacket. It surely will make for some great storytelling about recent happenings and how I have learned to look beyond these troubling times, to find miracles in every day, every moment, and to be thankful for the beauty that surrounds me.

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends!

The smiling Eeyore patch sits on the windowsill at the kitchen sink as a reminder to keep a cup half full attitude!

The smiling Eeyore patch sits on the windowsill at the kitchen sink as a reminder to keep a cup-half-full attitude!

© 2014 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…

Posted in Nature | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 52 Comments

Lost In The Chaos of the Rut

In early October, I began to see signs of the rut beginning in our part of the woodlands. Where the usual deer sighting had been limited to does and fawns (mostly Daisy and her little herd), it became quite common to observe a few very young bucks roaming the area just below the slope. Often, a low grunting noise accompanied the sighting of a buck with his nose to the ground, in search of a doe. I saw Daisy or Spirit being chased many times, attempting to get away from the unwanted attention of these love-struck, one- and two-year-old bucks. Whitetail does are not interested in a buck until they are in estrus, and only then do they decide they are ready to mate – but that does not stop the boys from trying!

Dancer_5234

Dancer is just a week old, hidden in the iris beds.

Dancer is just a week old, hidden in the iris beds.

At times, it appeared that Daisy and Spirit almost seemed to enjoy the chase. One morning in particular, I witnessed Daisy going round and around the same hill in the woods, each time pausing near the feeders to wait for the buck to catch up. Just as he would catch up and start prancing towards her, making that low grunt of interest, she would take off running again. Another time, I spotted Spirit coming around our house on a dead run, then come around again and leap over the fence into our neighbor’s back yard just a minute later. Soon after, a young, one-antlered buck came trotting around the house, nose to the ground, intently searching for that good-looking gal who could run and jump like nobody’s business! Of course, both Daisy and Spirit knew their home territory well and, with that advantage, would be able to cleverly elude the young bucks – for now. But I knew it would not be long before both of them would come into estrus and would actively seek out a buck they were interested in.

Another aspect of the rut that I have been able to witness and document for the last two years, is the affect its chaos has on fawns. Last year when Daisy had only Spirit tagging along, Spirit was mostly able to keep up when Daisy was being chased. But on occasion, we would see Spirit bedded down or at the feeding station by herself, awaiting Daisy’s return. When Daisy did come in estrus, she disappeared for four days while she sought out a buck. During this time, Spirit managed just fine on her own, appearing comfortable with hanging out close to home and “the people” who seemed to know her mother so well. Sadly, that is not always the case for most fawns. Many fawns get separated from their mothers while trying to keep up with them as they run from the pursuit of a rutting buck. Unfortunately, they sometimes get hit by a vehicle while blindly following their mother across roads. Because of all the chasing going on, vehicular tragedies are fairly common during the rut.

Dancer was never far from her Mama Daisy.

Dancer is never far from her Mama Daisy.

Dancer and Heidi were inseparable all summer.

Dancer and Heidi were inseparable all summer.

Daisy and Dancer sharing a nibble of corn.

Daisy and Dancer sharing a nibble of corn.

Maybe because of the number of female deer involved (fawns included), this year’s mating season seemed to bring more chaos into Daisy’s herd. So far, I have witnessed four different bucks pursuing Daisy and Spirit. Often, this activity happens in the dark of night, so I can be sure there were many more chases than the four I observed. Early in October, after finally eluding a young buck, I twice found Daisy searching for one fawn or both. Hours later, after seeing she had finally located both Heidi and Dancer, I breathed a sigh of relief. It was also helpful to know that the fawns were now nearly six months old and able to survive on their own if need be. After watching Daisy continually seek out her fawns after the chase was over, I wondered if this could have been what happened to Spirit’s late-season fawn, Willow. After all, it was early October when she was last seen. Only two months old at the time, and considering the likely chaos and speed of the chase, it would have been difficult for her to keep up with her mother, and she certainly could not have survived on her own if she had become separated from Spirit.

Dancer acquired quite an injury to her head late in July.

Dancer acquired quite an injury to her head late in July.

Nonetheless, the rut was obviously progressing quickly and it would be possible that, before it concluded, both Heidi and Dancer would be the subject of interest of some young buck, totally enamored with their beauty. We had just recently decided that Dancer was a doe, rather than a buck, as we originally thought. On many occasions over the summer months, we observed another doe and her buck fawn feeding on deer chow down below the slope, and just recently discovered that her little buck had developed “button” antlers. Considering that Heidi and Dancer were about a week or two older, and that Dancer had no buttons, we now knew that Daisy had produced two doe fawns this year.

From the beginning, Dancer and Heidi were two very different personalities. Heidi always showed great confidence and was very leery of FD and me. She was also more robust than her sister and very aggressive during nursing time. She could always be seen stomping her little legs in earnest while sucking from Daisy’s udder. Ears back, Daisy simply endured the aggressive activity! Dancer, on the other hand, was a mama’s girl – always right beside Daisy. She seemed to sense that her mother was calm around us, and so she would be too. She accepted us as part of her mother’s herd, and did not fear us. When it came to her family members, Dancer seemed to be a worry wart. If Heidi ventured out of sight, Dancer cried after her. Or if everyone else arrived at the feeder ahead of Dancer, it was not uncommon to hear her bawling from back in the woods as if to say, “Hey! Wait for me!!”

Dancer was easy to identify with the little black strap under her chin!

Dancer is easy to identify with the little black strap under her chin!

And so, considering the progression of the rut, I was not really very concerned when Heidi and Dancer came up missing one recent morning. Daisy had shown me time and again that she would eventually locate her kids, and neither she nor Spirit seemed urgent as they headed out from the feeders to the pecan orchard that morning – an area they often frequented year-around. But later that afternoon, only Heidi appeared with Daisy and Spirit. By day three, I began to feel some of the same sadness of loss that I had when Willow disappeared a while back. Looking for an answer, I took a walk to the west and also to the north, but it was impossible to search in the thick weeds and heavy ground cover. Daisy’s ability to track by scent was a much better tool than my inept, human ways of tracking. Still, after Dancer had been gone more than a week, I took a drive down the nearby road to see if I might spot her body, hoping, at least, for some sort of closure – but I found nothing.

Dancer (front) mutual grooming with Heidi.

Dancer (front) mutual grooming with Heidi.

Dancer resting at the base of the slope.

Dancer resting at the base of the slope.

Dancer and Daisy mutual grooming.

Dancer and Daisy mutual grooming.

In my mind, where I can still see Dancer, she was an absolute beauty. Her markings and vivid blue eyes she had as a wee fawn, were outstanding. FD and I will both admit that she was our favorite. Her personality was calm and trusting. She was always the first to initiate mutual grooming with her mama or her sister. She was the first to bed down, knowing when she was ready to relax. She was vocal. And maybe that is what got her in trouble in the end… being vocal in the wild is not always a good thing. She never did well when separated from her family, crying out whenever she was alone. Yes, Dancer was a little girl with a most gentle spirit.

Daisy Heidi and Dancer bedded down at the dry creek.

Daisy Heidi and Dancer bedded down at the dry creek.

Everyone shares a corn snack on a hot afternoon!

Everyone shares a corn snack on a hot afternoon!

Daisy grooms Dancer during a family gathering in the clover patch. This is the last evening I photographed Dancer with the little herd.

Daisy grooms Dancer during a family gathering in the clover patch. This is the last evening I photographed Dancer with the little herd.

In nature, only the strong survive, while life happens all around. And as life presents itself, we do the best we know how – guided by instinct, by fear, by love. There are hard times, and there are seasons of bounty. There is loss, and there is new life. With each, we accept and move on. We come to the circle of being – of wisdom.

I try to be thankful for the gift of each moment I have spent with these incredible creatures of the woodlands. I cherish the gift of understanding they so often bring to me, though sometimes it is the gift of not understanding that comes my way. However it may be, each are Nature’s gifts – of miracle, and of mystery…

Willow and Dancer, October 6, 2014.

Willow and Dancer, October 6, 2014.

© 2014 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…

Posted in Nature | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 51 Comments