Early Morning Gathering And Ruckus

It has been fairly quiet on our ten-acre property for the last couple of weeks. Every few days the sky dumps a little more snow on the landscape. Snow blankets the town, keeping noise down. Puffs of steam curl from chimneys and rooftop vents. A few crows fly high above, quietly making their way into the woods. Perhaps they are saving their usual cacophony for warmer days when being social is more enjoyable. Schools are closed. It has been too bitter cold for children to venture outside. Buses are useless, their diesel engines refuse to start. The only noise heard is that of occasional crunching from vehicle tires, as a few people venture slowly down the snow-packed streets.

My own snow boots leave defined treads in the snow, making a zigzag design of foot-patterned paths to the bird feeders, storage building, well house, down into the canyon to the wildlife feeders and back up to the house. Later in the afternoon, I leave yet another set of my boot tracks as I meander down the snow-covered lane to the mailbox at the street.  Have you ever pondered a description of the sound of rubber boots meeting snow? We tend to take the easy road and just call it a “crunch”, but to me, a crunch bears more of a snap or crackling sound. As I walk around doing my chores, I wonder about the description of the sound of walking on snow. Is pressure or maybe compression a better word? Weight compressing rubber on frozen powder, creating a tight-fitting, rubbing or flexing groan. Nothing I could come up with sounded quite right. But definitely, “crunch”, all by itself, does not provide an appropriate description of the sound.

This is the largest group of does and fawns we have seen Daisy with. Daisy seems to be in charge this morning at the helm of the corn feeder!
This is the largest group of does and fawns we have seen Daisy with. Daisy seems to be in charge this morning at the helm of the corn feeder!

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One thing had quickly become apparent, though – no longer could FD or I “crunch” down the slope to the canyon below, or climb back up, for that matter. It was just too treacherous. The layers of snow and ice had created an unsafe surface. I could either walk to the north property line and use the rickety wire fence as a guide and hand-hold to keep from slipping, or I could open the storage building and fetch the Bad Boy Buggy to traverse the path to the woodland bottom where the wildlife feeders and water were. Unfortunately, both options meant spending far too much time out in the bitter elements. But I had to see that Daisy had nourishment and water. And, I had not seen her in a few days. I was lonesome for my girl.

Since last week, FD had been struggling with a terrible earache. By Monday, he was finding the pain completely unbearable, which meant canceling a week-long business trip to sunny Florida. Sure enough, after seeing the local doctor, he was diagnosed with a bad ear infection. So much for plans of my own “vacation” of sorts. When FD is gone on business trips, I take my own vacation – a week away from cooking and cleaning. I enjoy my time at the computer, blogging or basking in quiet time while working on my book. I have no schedule. I eat when I want, venture out to photograph when I want, and I stay up late and sleep in if I please.  Monday put the skids on my carefree plans. Instead, I would be pampering FD, making him comfortable, and cooking nutritious meals to help him recuperate.

At least I did get to sleep in a bit Tuesday morning. Neither FD nor I had gotten any sleep the previous four nights with him in pain, tossing and turning. He had risen early, but left me to sleep in late. I think he felt just as bad for me as for himself. I finally managed to get up around 7:30, but soon had to hit the ground running, knowing he needed breakfast so that he could take his medication with food. Just as I was doing the prep work to get omelets going, FD announced that Daisy and Spirit were down below the slope at the feeder, with several other deer!

This doe seemed more dominant than the others her age. She soon moves in on Daisy at the corn feeder!
This doe seemed more dominant than the others her age. She soon moves in on Daisy at the corn feeder!
These two does were not comfortable with my presence up top on the back porch.
These two does were not comfortable with my presence up top on the back porch.

I can tell you, breakfast was the last thing on my mind at that point. I untied and discarded my apron on the island where I had been cutting vegetables. I grabbed my insulated camo jacket and ear-flap cap. My boots never went on so fast, and I quickly checked the camera to make sure I had a card and plenty of battery power. Out the door I went, staying quietly on the back porch of course. With so many deer down below, I knew most of them would be spooked if I ventured out too far.  Only Daisy and Spirit, and Scarlet and her twins would not be bothered by me.

With the morning sky being overcast and it still a bit dark in the woods, I knew I would have to keep still to get decent photographs of the group. Low light and bitter cold temperatures are not a good mix for digital cameras. I managed a few decent group shots, showing movement as a couple of the more skittish does moved back into our woods.

I was surprised when Daisy and Spirit came up top to the back porch area. I put my camera down and quickly scooped up a bucket of Daisy’s favorite fruity kibbles, and a couple of scoops of corn. Her coat had been wet and at some point it had frozen as well. The hair at the top of her head was crunchy, and a green glob of mucous hung at the base of her left eye. As any good mother would do, I wiped it away, which annoyed her. Looking at Spirit, I saw a similar gathering of mucous at her left eye as well. This worried me of course, thinking they both had colds in their eyes. I snapped a few photos of the girls before Daisy took off to the bottom, and Spirit eventually joined her after hoofing around for some greens under the snow.

Daisy and Spirit come up top near the back porch knowing FD and I will feed them special fruity kibbles and corn. Both appear to have a little green goo in their eyes.
Daisy and Spirit come up top near the back porch knowing FD and I will feed them special fruity kibbles and corn. Both appear to have a little green goo in their eyes.
Spirit carefully checks out the bucket of kibbles!
Spirit carefully checks out the bucket of kibbles!
Daisy's coat was wet from sleet and snow the night before. Her head was "crunchy" when I petted her.
Daisy’s coat was wet from sleet and snow the night before. Her head was “crunchy” when I petted her.
I love catching Daisy with a silly look!
I love catching Daisy with a silly look!

With Daisy and Spirit returning to the feeders, activity resumed in the canyon. Apparently Daisy was “large and in charge” that morning as Scarlet’s doe fawn was vying for corn time under the feeder. But Daisy was having none of that. She vehemently chased Scarlet’s fawn, hoofing at it all the way to the burn pile, but it did not seem deterred. Back it came… and Daisy obliged it with a quick, but ferocious trip down memory lane. Spirit finally ambled up to the feeder, feeling certain her mother had taken care of the scuffle over corn. As Spirit settled to feeding under Daisy, this morning’s Matron of the Corn, the other deer ventured off peacefully into the woods. I was glad to see them moving to the south and west, further into our woods. I like to think they find safety and shelter in our woods, rather than venturing off to the more wide open pecan orchard or even further to the river.

Daisy means business with a dominant stance and steps toward the offending doe.
Daisy means business with a dominant stance and steps toward the offending doe.
Daisy gets her hooves into the action, clobbering the intruder in the hind quarters.
Daisy gets her hooves into the action, clobbering the intruder in the hind quarters.
The chase is on!
The chase is on!
Ears back, Daisy has sent the intruder off into the woods.
Ears back, Daisy has sent the intruder off into the woods.

Eventually, Daisy and Spirit moved on in the same direction as the rest of the herd. I longed to follow, but it was too cold, and I had breakfast to get back to at the house. I kept an eye out back all day but I never saw them return. I imagine in these bitter temperatures and wind chills, the deer tend to lay low, conserving energy.

And, isn’t that what many of us are doing these long winter days? We accomplish the tasks that need doing, and then we work on projects that allow us to be indoors more. We seek the comforts and coziness of being in the warmth of our homes. I, myself, am enjoying “laying low” like the deer during this cold spell. I spend a little more time on the computer than I normally would and admit I have even taken to spending far too much time on those horrible, time-eating Pinterest boards. I have finished reading a couple of good books. And, I have had time to research new recipes. Since FD has been home recuperating this week I have been indulging in a little more television too. Even the dogs are enjoying my more relaxed pace. They have been getting regular body massages in the evenings – in fact, Bear has begun staring into my eyes demanding his massage time each evening after dinner dishes are done and put away!

Daisy and Spirit enjoying some corn at the feeder.
Daisy and Spirit enjoying some corn at the feeder.

Generally, we tend to gripe and complain about the winter weather – but it is precisely what we need in the yin and yang of life. The ebb and pull of one season into the next. I will be happy when spring shows signs of emerging. But until then, I will bask in the beauty of winter and the delight of being able to lay low for a while, hibernating and enjoying my creature comforts!

© 2014 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…


39 thoughts on “Early Morning Gathering And Ruckus

    1. Thank you, Yvonne. FD is better but still not up to par. It has been a good week to be stuck inside, working on healing. I believe Monday and Tuesday are bringing more snow. Here we go again!

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  1. It looks like Daisy has such a goofy grin going on in that photo! Ha, lovely.
    Indeed each season offers us something different, something we should all take and appreciate for what it is.

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    1. Hi Jennifer! Daisy was eating her favorite snack, we call fruity kibbles. It is actually a deer attractant that tastes and smells like berries and has a bit higher protein content (like the Purina deer chow) than corn. I have quite a collection of silly Daisy photos – most of them while she’s chewing or licking her lips. I may do a post on those sometime.

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  2. I was just thinking about the sound of shoes on frigid snow the other day. It has a squeal to it.
    You’re exactly right about the yin and yang of the seasons. People aren’t used to slowing down and staying in. Folks on lots of other blogs are chafing at the weather and restriction. But we need it.
    And Pinterest boards horrible? They can gobble time, but some days that’s exactly what I need. And they’re oh-so pretty.

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    1. You are right about Pinterest, Sandy. I know so many people enjoy it, and your boards are beautiful and you have fun with it. I actually got on it to collect Paleo recipes. I enjoy creating collections of things, but it is the lack of organization that bothers me. Some folks are great at it, while others… well, I cannot muddle through their boards. It’s just so time consuming. I may find it therapeutic at some point, where I can let go of “organizational” expectations and just have fun with it as you do! Thank you for reminding me that it can be a wonderful thing and that it’s ok to let time fly some days! 😀

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  3. Hi Lori, I liked your account of the deer interaction at the corn feeder and the importance of maintaining the pecking order – if you’re a deer or even a human for that matter.

    Currently, I am following my high temperatures routine. We have had a long, hot dry spell in Victoria with temperatures in the high 30s and low 40s and no rain in sight. So it is out watering the garden in the cool of the early morning and walking with Katie, my dog, in the early evening when the heat of the day has passed. In between times is spent sheltering in the cool of indoors doing those tasks I reserve for the times when it is too hot to do other things – cleaning the computer desk is on the agenda today and I might get round to bathing Katie.

    Enjoy your winter hibernation!

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    1. Thank you so much, Margaret! Reading about your daily routine right now reminds me of our summertime weather here in the Midwestern US. You seem to have “farmer” logic or common sense – performing tasks in the early morning and evening to avoid the heat of the day. I laughed a bit about Katie’s bath… did you manage to fit that in your schedule and does Katie enjoy a bath?

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  4. Maybe “Shooomp” as an alternative. I can’t WAIT till autumn rocks up. I want to light Brunhilda again and appreciate her warm crackle rather than paper rock scissors over who has to think about lighting the bbq and standing in front of it to prepare our evening meal and even more appropriately, accepting smoothies AS an evening meal ;). Sorry FD had an infection :(. I hope he is better now and equally as sorry that you lost your “vacation” time 😉 Daisy certainly knows that she is the head honcho around your parts…she would have made a distinct effort to ensure that all of the other does noticed her and spirit being petted and hand fed by you in order to make sure that they realised the sway that she has with you and that she IS the dominant doe. It would seem that heirachy is, as usual, most important 🙂

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    1. Yes, Daisy seems to realize that being friends with the humans up the hill, can be used to her advantage. Spirit isn’t too sure about us yet, but she does know we’re the people that have the great snacks and food! In the fall when we still had petite tomatoes, we would toss them to Spirit and she would eat them! Daisy, of course, ate them right out of our hands. And, Daisy knows that she can escape most trouble up here. Most predators and other deer won’t come up the slope to the house or the pastures – especially during the day when there is traffic on a nearby street, and houses not too far off. Daisy does not fear being up top. I think the other deer realize this is Daisy’s territory. And in the event that one does make trouble for my girl and the MAMA is around (me), you can bet I send them packing! I can be a fairly ferocious Mama when my girl is being harassed!!

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  5. Great pictures, as usual. Looking at all that snow, and more to come, reminds me of home back in India where we were just a 30-minute drive from the while slopes and a couple of hours from the ski resort of Kufri, where. in the age when there were no digital cameras, and the film cameras were too heavy to lug around on a trek, we actually chased deer and mountain goats, who would in turn play along.
    Here in Bahrain, the only deer we see are in captivity, albeit in air-conditioned comfort in the summer, are at the Al Areen Wildlife Park. Sad to see such wonderful beings out of their natural habitat.
    We are now enjoying the last days of the winter, which has been unusually “long” this time round. At 12 decrees C yesterday, it was “chilly” but it’s back to 17 early morning today. The blistering summer is not to far away, unfortunately, when we can easily roast in 48 to 50 degrees!

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    1. Thank you, my friend. It is always fascinating how various regions and other parts of the world vary so in season and temperature! I too am sad when I go to zoos in America where animals are seen out of their native habitat. Though many try to recreate the setting, it falls short to stimulate these animals and depict the real life they would live in the wild.

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  6. I have really enjoyed your photographs today, Lori! But then, don’t I always? I’m sorry to hear about FD’s earache. I can really empathize, because as a child I had them chronically. Simply awful! Buddy wanted me to pass it along to you that he misses your daily massages. He told me he appreciates my meager efforts at doggie massage, but that you are the “DMM!” (doggie massage master) and that I should just give it up.

    Staying in, staying warm, and waiting for our own little bit of snow tomorrow and Tuesday.

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    1. Hello Lynda and thank you! FD is much better and he went back to work today, still having some ear-stabbing. Do I need to fly out to see Buddy for some DMM? LOL Oh how I miss those soulful eyes of his. The weather we have had lately is very similar to what you had when I came to visit last year! I mean the same gray, overcast and COLD weather! Alas, we will all survive this winter and we’ll appreciate the spring so much! Keep toasty and warm! I love you so much my dear, sweet friend.

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      1. Dang weatherman he’s lied again! Now it’s to be snow tomorrow and even more snow on Wednesday! 😉

        OH YES, and I forgot. Please tell FD never, under any circumstances to fly with an ear infection! I did once. When the pressure equalized I thought my eardrum had burst, and I nearly passed out from the squealing sound and the pain. 😛 The poor stewardess was so alarmed at how pale I had become she kept coming back to ask if I was sure I was OK.

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        1. Yes Lynda, I am so glad FD cancelled his trip! That would have been a nightmare for him to fly.

          Good gosh, you Alabama folks can’t seen to get a break at all this winter! I hope the weatherman is wrong… you certainly don’t need any more snow and cold!

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  7. I completely agree about needing the winter – yin and yang – and the change from one season to the next. I just don;t think I could live somewhere without seasonal change.
    Be safe in that slippery ice and I’ll work on another word besides crunch. Like another commenter, I agree that there is a squeal to it … I can hear it even if I can’t name it 🙂

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    1. Yes, it’s a squeal, squeak – something along those lines. It can be a crunch but it needs ice or sleet to get that quality sound! You know, communication and trying to describe something with words is so inadequate at times.

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  8. That photo of Daisy’s silly look is priceless 😀

    And I like winter too for that very same reason, and being freelance has meant I have been able to do as I please since survey work finishes by October. But already I am busy again and too soon the survey season will be here again. My time of laying low is over before I realised it 😦

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    1. Ha ha! That photo has gotten a lot of comment. I think I shall do a blog post about the silly images I have acquired of Daisy over time. That is the way of life, Rachel. I suppose it is a good thing that the days, weeks and months are ever-changing. There is always a new adventure on the horizon!

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