All snug in the bed this morning at 7:30, I debated in my mind whether to get up or stay put. It was a little too early to be outside with the camera, capturing the frozen state of the landscape before the morning breeze got up. It would be too dark to capture decent ice images with the camera. On the other hand, it was late for me to be lounging around. I decided to catch the news in bed, and laze for just a few minutes longer. I grabbed the iPad and checked the morning email and weather updates.
There are some aspects of technology I enjoy. I am often teased about my old cell phone. It is not a smart phone and half the time it no longer rings or emits a sound to inform me of a call or a text message. I check it periodically to call or text someone back, but I maintain that I do not like to be at everyone’s beck and call anyway, and I truly do not desire to be so connected with the outside world. The iPad, however, has been a wonderful gift from FD. It is reliable when I need it for information, and it alerts me of incoming messages. There is nothing demanding about it. So this morning I looked through the email, perused the WordPress app for comments and notifications, and finally decided to migrate to the coffee maker.
The first call of duty though, was to let our three Japanese Chin out to do their morning business. Zoe and Bear stepped on to the frozen grass (now dormant) not venturing out very far. I am sure I would not enjoy stepping out onto ice in bare feet either, first thing in the morning! Mr. T did not want to go down the icy stairs. He is our big fella, and a tumble on slick ice is a lot harder on him than Bear or Zoe. He looked at me with an indignant attitude as if to say he was not proceeding. I assisted him where he eventually wandered to the driveway to do his business on the rocks. Apparently smooth rocks are more appealing than crunchy, cold grass. Of course, Mr. T required assistance to get up the stairs too. I guess at the very least, as a critter mama, it is nice to know my eight year-old still needs me.
Once back inside the house, I headed to the back porch for a gander down the slope. There I spotted Daisy deer bedded down near the dry creek, chewing her cud. Spirit was nibbling some frozen ivy near a hackberry tree. I checked the feed trays with the binoculars and they appeared to be empty. Coffee would have to wait. Daisy and Spirit usually did not stay in one place for very long, and I wanted to spend a little time with my girls. I donned my insulated camo jacket and matching pants. This outfit was a gift from FD during the holidays last year. It was the only reason I ventured a mile out to the river during the winter last year, and what I generally wore if I spent hours in the cold temperatures, waiting for wildlife shots with the camera. I would surely need the warmth this morning. The breeze had not gotten up yet, but I could hear the crackling of ice in the trees. It would not be long before the woodlands would be a treacherous place to be walking around!
I scooped feed into two buckets and made my way down the slope… very carefully. I was thankful we had let the grass on the slope grow longer this autumn. Had we cut it short, I would have slid all the way down the steep grade this morning. Daisy rose from the weed patch she had bedded down in. She knows fruity deer snacks will be mixed in the feed. It is a treat she has enjoyed from the time she was a wee fawn. I busted the layer of ice that covered both pans. Something had already managed to chop some of the ice, likely a critter that was hungry in the night. Once I got Daisy and Spirit fixed up with feed, and I scattered a bit of corn on the ground for Spirit, I made my way up the slope to fetch the camera and zoom lens. I would capture some ice shots before the breeze got up.
By the time I got inside for the camera, I saw Daisy and Spirit had come up top to nibble around on whatever they could find up here. We laugh about our yard deer, but it has become a bit of a novelty to have them around the house. It must be a safe place since Daisy birthed her twins here this past spring, and made her nursery in the iris beds across the pasture. This morning I snapped shots of Daisy and Spirit, nibbling frozen leaves from trees, heavily drenched in ice. I watched Spirit root around for frozen dandelion leaves, while Daisy kept an eye on the neighbor’s dog. The neighborhood was still quiet at this time. Not a car was traveling down the icy streets. It appeared to be a sleepy morning on the outskirts of town.
As I crossed the pasture in search of interesting frozen matter, I marveled at the crunch and crackle of the grass. Above, a light breeze gently rocked the glassy, ice-weighted trees creating a snappy tinkle, then splash of ice. Suddenly, Daisy and Spirit took off running, high-tailing it to the woods. A small, yapping dog running loose down the street had spooked them, and they wasted no time making an exit to the cover of the trees. I followed them, eventually finding them at the feeding area, where I had started my morning chores.
Eventually, the girls made their way down the path to the food plot. Daisy rubbed scent from the glands near her eyes, on a slender tree branch. I wondered about this continued ritual since I was just sure she was already bred last week. I mistakenly thought her rutting habits would be over by now. A local seven-point buck had been busy setting up his territory in the area for several weeks. By rubbing his antlers on slender trees to leave his scent, he had destroyed many young trees in the area , including my new pear tree. Daisy had been avoiding him and gave him the slip last week when she disappeared for several days. She had come into season, and evidently had other ideas about courting another buck! So this poor fellow had continued to make his daily rounds, not finding a doe… at least that I know of! Still, here was Daisy rubbing her scent on a tree branch. I make plenty of observations about the deer, and especially my Daisy girl, but there are many habits and rituals I have questions about and will never get the answers to!
Finally, I gently petted Daisy and scratched her woolly face hair. I picked a tick from her jaw, and told her to be safe since it was the opening day of rifle season. I saw her wander back to the west, where I had noticed deer Scarlet and her twins, and the seven-point buck yesterday. Perhaps Daisy and Spirit and their friends would spend the day safely in our neck of the woods. And I prayed that Mother Nature would bring the ice down gently, protecting all woodland creatures from being hurt.
And wouldn’t you know it – I left myself out of the request to be kept safe from harm. I promptly fell forward on my way up the slope! No worries though… I managed to keep the camera safe from injury! And me? Just a little wounded pride. Nothing a hot cup of coffee wouldn’t fix!
© Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…