The Exuberance and Joy of a Young Deer Running

Daisy following behind me, making our way down the hillside.

On a chilly, overcast morning this spring, I noticed Daisy deer at the feeder down in the canyon.  Like most mornings, I brought her a snack of apples and visited with her, speaking in soft tones.  When she finished smacking the apple chunks, she moved on to the deer plot where FD and I had sown turnips, chicory, peas, and a blend of various grasses deer like to eat.  I brought the camera with me, as I often do, and quietly observed her.

Daisy has an easier time ambling through the brush, brambles and vines than I do!

While Daisy grazed, I decided to have a walk through the woods.  Five acres of our property is woodland.  Part of it sits up high and the rest drops down into the canyon.  From below, I started a hike to the top, taking the animal path.  In the woodland, the animal trails are narrow and well-traveled.  Holding back branches that blocked my way, and ducking low to make my way through the most heavily treed area, I found myself a bit irritated that we had not yet managed to cut walking paths in this section of the property.  A couple of times I even had to crawl, and once got caught on a branch that tore the sleeve of my favorite, old red ranch coat.   My hair was in a pony tail when I started, but the more I crawled around winding my way through the brambles, it became quite pulled askew in many places .   I made a mental note to take a limb trimmer with me the next time I walked this way.  I felt like a Bushman, blazing a trail to unknown lands.  All I needed was a machete and a bone in my nose to complete my ensemble.

Daisy takes off on her playful run!

I guess it was a good thing, however, that I did not have a limb lopper with me or my favorite trimmer, the battery-operated reciprocating saw, which I often use to trim limbs and branches.  I realized Daisy was following me and such activity would have sent her running off.  I was glad she decided to follow me.  It was not often she and I were able to spend quality bonding time like this.  Most days, Daisy had a mind of her own and I didn’t know where she spent her time.  She often disappeared for hours.

Together, we ambled through the trees and brambles.  Daisy was much more eloquent in movement and leapt over fallen trees with ease.  I, on the other hand, grunted, groaned and yelped out in pain when I was scratched by a branch, got tangled in cat brier, or tripped over vines hiding in the leaves of the woodland floor.

Finally, we made it to the top, where I showed Daisy my favorite tree to rest against.  Then, I showed her the path to the area of cedars and to the edge of the hill where we looked out over the canyon.  A huge, fallen tree lay at the bottom, with splashes of turkey tail fungus growing all over it.  I love this place.  I wanted Daisy to know my secret pondering spot, where often in the winter or early spring, I can be found contemplating life.  Unlike early spring, coming here in summer or fall would mean a possible snake encounter,  which I prefer to avoid at all costs!

I stood amazed and in awe at the distance Daisy cleared with each leap she made over small, uneven areas of the woodland floor.
Round #2 of Daisy’s dizzying pace flying over the woodland floor!

After a some bird watching and taking a few photos, I made my way next down the steep embankment back to the canyon floor with Daisy close behind.  We ambled around twisted tree roots and ropes of vine that hung from branches.  English ivy covered a portion of the hillside but I avoided treading through that.  I wasn’t sure what might live IN the ivy, or whether I could get good footing, so I stayed to the red dirt route where I could easily see my path.

Daisy often chose another path but she was always near or just behind me.  When we made it back to the lower woodlands and familiar territory, Daisy stopped at the feeding station for a drink and a nibble of grass.  I headed back up the slope to our house, stopping at the top to gaze down below.  All of a sudden, Daisy began jumping around.  I call her erratic movements “the crazy head” when she does this.  It’s properly called “Gamboling” when a deer kicks its hind legs backward in unison, and as they are brought forward, the forelegs are simultaneously kicked forward.  When Gamboling like this, Daisy often brings her head down, then sideways, neck craning and twisting, as she kicks with her rear legs out.  This maneuver is repeated a few times, giving her the appearance of a bucking bronco!

As I watched her, laughing out loud and delighting in her playfulness, Daisy stopped suddenly and then took off running… running faster than I had ever seen her run.  She ran a good distance from the north to the south, then up the slope, whizzing just inches past me!  I couldn’t see where she made her turn up top near our house, but then in no time she came barreling off the top of the slope, leaping over the precipice, legs nearly horizontal.  Gaining speed as she made her way back to the starting point, her quick flight took my breath away as she charged over the burn pile and leapt over a small hill as she made her way back up towards me where I stood at the top of the slope.

She made two more rounds like this and finally stopped next to me, panting, ribs heaving while she looked at me like a child who had just shown off a new skill.  I praised her and petted her and then we walked back down the slope, allowing time for her to catch her breath and calm down.  In just a short time, she recovered from the fatigue of her shenanigans and walked off purposefully to the south, where she often spent mornings somewhere in the woods resting and napping.

Round #3 where Daisy takes a shorter path in front of the feeding station at the base of our slope.
Whizzing past me up the slope, Daisy high-tails it to an eventual turnaround spot where she started the process all over again!

Daisy’s antics and play I observed this day serves a useful purpose.  It builds conditioning as she matures.  Running, jumping over obstacles, dashing, dodging, and bucking all help to stretch, build, and stimulate muscles.  It increases lung capacity and stimulates the heart.  Playful maneuvers, at this point in her life, will serve her well later to escape predators and hunters.  Perhaps she knows this intuitively.  Perhaps not.   And perhaps Daisy could care less about “purpose” in her running and leaping.  Maybe she was just delighting in the moment and running off excess energy.  And maybe it was as simple as wanting to show off for her Mamma!  I did find myself filled with awe and delight, having witnessed such a display of my girl showing off, and remembered similar times in my young life when I was brimming with exuberance and joy and squealing with delight over something that thrilled me so.  Don’t we all enjoy showing off and getting a little attention every now and again?  Isn’t it wonderful to do a simple little crazy-head dance and be rewarded with our Mamma’s loving smile?

A happy and exhausted Daisy returning to her Mamma (me)!

© Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…


35 thoughts on “The Exuberance and Joy of a Young Deer Running

  1. Beautiful story of life. I feel so invested in Daisy and your writing is just lovely. Thank you for this wonderful woodland respite from city life.

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    1. I am so happy you enjoy a walk through the woodlands here. Daisy is indeed a gentle spirit who awakens the desire to experience nature in all of us. I always wonder what new gift she will bring me. Thank you for your kind comment!

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  2. Lori, You are SO blessed to have such an amazing relationship with this beautiful animal!! Daisy was TOTALLY showing off for her mama! That was my first thought exactly 🙂 It is so sweet and wonderful to read about. So often your posts about Daisy bring tears of joy to my eyes and this one is no exception! The way that she followed you so that you could show her one of your favorite spots, just amazing, don’t know another word for it! So glad to be reading new posts from you about the latest adventures of your beautiful animals! Your pics are amazing, it seems as if Daisy knows what the camera does and she likes to “vogue” in front of it, lol 🙂 Great post as always my friend!

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    1. Thank you so much Karen!! You always make me feel good about my writing. I really enjoy sharing my experiences with Daisy. It is a unique relationship, and one that has helped me heal and awakened a deeper sense of spirit. I am so glad people are enjoying my journey with this incredible fawn. Thank you for such a lovely comment!

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      1. Lor,
        I loved the romp through the woods with you and Daisy. Maybe one day this spring Daisy will allow me to watch her do her antics. She is a beautiful animal. Loved the writing that you do. Makes me feel like I was there with you and Daisy. I recognize some of the places that you describe so vividly. Thanks for sharing. Love ya r

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  3. Daisy is so much like our puppy. She certainly is showing off for you and enjoying just being with you. It’s almost like she’s paying you back for what you did for her – taking you through what she loves, and then allowing you to show her your special spot.

    Such a great relationship and so much to learn from. As always, thank you for sharing this wonder through your tender writing and excellent photography. It is very special, Lori!

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    1. Thanks Michael! I think Daisy and I enjoy each other. I sure know I adore her and I’ve bonded with her more than I thought possible. I’m both delighted and proud of her antics. She’s a beautiful spirit I’m honored to have had the privilege to mother. I enjoy sharing Daisy with the world… I just express what I feel!

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  4. What a cutie! I really enjoyed reading about your time with Daisy. I spent years 4-18 in Oklahoma, and still have lots of family in the state.

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    1. I love living in Oklahoma! The weather is usually agreeable for me (I like the heat!) and it’s beautiful. Thanks for reading about Daisy. She’s been a gift from the get-go, little speckled fawn alone in the woods grown into a beautiful, young lady!

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  5. It felt like you were bringing your own son or daughter on a hike to a mysterious, secret spot…What a sweet and amazing relationship you have with Daisy….and I’m so glad you didn’t “spook” her off with any electrical equipment lol

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    1. Daisy seems to be getting used to our noisy work outdoors. Last week she hated the lawn mowers, but this week she watched us from a distance, lazing in the deer plot. I probably won’t do any more clearing paths in the woods now, since the leaves are shooting early and with warm temperatures the snakes will be out any day.

      I do love spending time with Daisy. She’s an amazing girl. Thanks for your kind comment!

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  6. Really enjoyed reading your blog. Daisy’s antics were making me laugh. I love happy deer. I also understand the pain of going through brush and briers..Great photographs…how blessed you are to have been given such a one-of-a-kind Daisy.

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    1. Yes I am blessed, Josie!! I imagine you have a LOT of experience crawling and making your way through the brambles and briers! And your deer photography is outstanding… I admire your work with our beautiful “deer people”.

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  7. I wish we were neighbors. But your writing and photographs are the next best thing. I always feel like I am right there. Thank you for this loveliness. ~ Lynda

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    1. Oh Lynda… I wish we were neighbors too though I’m afraid we’d get nothing productive done!! I’d be following your Polly around, we’d have chicken talks, the dogs would all run a muck, we would have walks with Daisy, and in our spare time we might do a little gardening. I’m sure there would be much more… you have a larger small ranch going on than I do!! I love getting sidetracked with these animals. It’s a good life and very fulfilling! I love your writing too, my friend!! I think I’ve read your latest on Polly a dozen times!! I always have a good laugh at the animal antics on your place! Thanks for delighting me so much!

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  8. Lori, You don’t know how much I enjoy reading about your adventures with Daisy. The beautiful way you write about her and your bond together is just awe inspiring to me. I was raised on 77 acres of land and was an only child. Many times I took the walks you speak of and as a little girl pictured myself as Snow White sitting in a meadow with all the woodland creatures surrounding me. When I read your stories, it brings me back to those wonderful fantasies and allows me to be that little girl again filled with wonder. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and if you get a chance please give Daisy a special hug from me.

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    1. Pam, thank you for such a wonderful comment! I will be sure to give Daisy a giant hug from you when I see her this morning. It will be raining all day here but I know I’ll see her at the corn feeder at some point. She loves corn! I think animals, wild or domestic, allow us to be more carefree and playful, as children are. Just last night Daisy got frisky in the evening as the sun set low. FD and I were on the slope looking out over the canyon, having finished mowing. Daisy was making silly maneuvers and running fast! I feel so happy when I see her enjoying being wild. I feel like the luckiest person in the world on this little piece of land… enjoying what nature provides.

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  9. I AM loving daisy’s enthusiasm.
    just cant thank you enough for keeping us aware with daisy’s activities.. i am so in love with her.
    and the band daisy’s wearing in her neck is just so adorable.. let her wear it all the time .it suits her a lot 🙂
    lots of love for daisy..
    stay blessed

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    1. Thanks so much! The protective collar will always be on as long as she’ll allow us to put new ones on. They occasionally break or she may outgrow them. They’re reflective so people can see her if she crosses a road, and very apparent so hunters would know she’s been raised by humans. Other folks around here who have raised deer do the same. We try to find lightweight material using velcro so that if Daisy gets caught in anything she can rip the collar loose.

      Thank you for reading about Daisy. She is indeed, special!

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  10. Loved the pictures of Daisy’s playfulness and I’m happy to know she’s also exercising to be able to quickly run away from predators. Thanks for sharing the story of your time together!

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    1. Thanks for your kind comment Barbara! I sure do love photographing Daisy, and I’m fortunate she loves the camera. I believe it was important for me to see her run and leap like that, so that I didn’t worry so much about her. I have seen this activity many times. She has become quite familiar with the area she lives in and is able to escape when she needs to.

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    1. Oh, I enjoy spending time photographing Daisy. Sure enough, if I leave the camera behind I regret it as she has some kind of performance or special moment to show me! She is unabashed in front of the camera!

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  11. Your stories are always so lovely and heartfelt and truly a joy to read. But I must add that your photography is PHENOMENAL! I knew you were talented, but the way you perfectly captured Daisy’s movement is just spectacularly beautiful. I hope one day I get to meet her. I feel like I know my “Deer Cousin” already. 😉 Love you!!

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    1. Thank you Becky! I am afraid it’s just luck with the camera. With wildlife it helps to have great equipment, like a zoom lens, to capture shots I can’t get close to. Animals are so unpredictable, so often I get whatever I’m fast enough to react to. Or, it’s a trial of patience… waiting, waiting and waiting some more! I’m fortunate too, that Daisy is not afraid of the camera. Curious about it, yes. I can’t tell you the number of times she’s nibbled at the strap, licked the lens or snorted at the camera! I hope you’ll get to meet your cousin too… she’s a beautiful soul… just like you!

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