Children Of The Woodlands

A few weeks back, my mother-in-law brought news of her delight to learn that a great-granddaughter wanted to spend a few days here this summer. Most of FD and my families live in various states across the US. Only a few have made roots in Oklahoma. So, it was wonderful to know we would have nine-year-old Riley Jo here to spend a few days helping out and have some fun too.

Great-grandma and Riley Jo working in the iris beds.
Great-grandma and Riley Jo working in the iris beds.

In the mornings, while it was still cool, Riley Jo worked with great-grandma in the garden and in the flower beds. She helped to feed the chickens and gather eggs in the afternoon. In the evenings, I would see them taking walks around the property, or riding bicycles in the nearby neighborhoods. They also came over to our home to deliver eggs, and sometimes to swim in the pool. Whenever I saw them, I could tell my mom-in-law was enjoying every bit of the visit from her great-granddaughter.

Riley Jo drew this the very first day she arrived. She and great-grandma had spotted Daisy with her twins down at the feeder and water tub.
Riley Jo drew this the very first day she arrived. She and great-grandma had spotted Daisy with her twins down at the feeder and water tub.

While swimming one afternoon, Riley Jo mentioned that someday she hoped to be a veterinarian who traveled the world helping zoos with animals in need. So, when it was time to take our dog Bear to the vet for his annual exam that week, I asked to take Riley Jo along, thinking she might learn something from the expert vets on staff. Actually, Riley Jo entertained the staff with her knowledge of animals, and when we began discussing Bear’s recent seizures, Riley asked some very good and important questions. I was quite proud of my great-niece!

When we returned home from the vet visit, we found Daisy deer alone at the water tub down below the slope. Apparently the fawns were resting elsewhere. Wanting her to have the opportunity of a closer look at Daisy, I cautioned Riley Jo to come down slowly after me, and not to make any sudden moves. I greeted Daisy in my normal manner, but she was still very alert about the stranger behind me. As you know from some of my previous blog posts, mother deer are protective of their territories when they have babies in the area. So, mamma Daisy ignored my attentions and went straight to Riley Jo to investigate.

Daisy was very interested in the unicorn on Riley Jo's shirt!
Daisy was very interested in the unicorn on Riley Jo’s shirt!
Why not give Riley Jo's hair a little tug too?? Daisy seemed completely enthralled with Riley Jo!
Why not give Riley Jo’s hair a little tug too?? Daisy seemed completely enthralled with Riley Jo!
Daisy licked and nibbled the unicorn so much that it was beginning to tickle Riley Jo!
Daisy licked and nibbled the unicorn so much that it was beginning to tickle Riley Jo!

Thankfully, I had the camera with me to capture what came next. Daisy sniffed Riley Jo and seemed particularly interested in her t-shirt, which had a puff-paint image of a unicorn on it. Investigating further, Daisy licked the shirt and tried to nibble it. She sniffed Riley’s long hair and tugged at it. Riley Jo was not sure what to do about all this, so she laughed and nicely stepped back, but Daisy’s interest was piqued, and back to Riley’s shirt she went, licking and nibbling and being quite assertive about it! Amazingly, Daisy hung around right next to Riley Jo for the next forty-five minutes to an hour, and I was able to manage several nice photos of the two of them.

The next day, Riley’s mother, brother, and little sister came to fetch her home. Upon hearing of Riley’s experience with Daisy the day before, her siblings hoped for a chance to see and pet her as well, but Daisy was nowhere to be found. They did manage to find a little ring-necked snake back in the woodlands though, so we had a quick lesson about where they lived, what they ate, and what kind of predators sought them. Of course, like most kids, they wanted to keep the snake and take it home for a pet! I told them why we needed to return the snake to its home and how we can learn from just observing it, but that we should let all wild creatures be free. I told them that, even though I was “mother” to Daisy since she did not have one as a baby, I still knew that I could not keep her in a cage, because she was a wild animal that needed her freedom. I had to let her roam the woods and live her own life as deer are intended to do.

Wager was an expert swimmer!
Wager was an expert swimmer!
Jaci felt a little more comfortable with lots of floaties and a secure hold on the pool edge!
Jaci felt a little more comfortable with lots of floaties and a secure hold on the pool edge!

 

Pretty soon, the kids discovered a spider and Jaci, the youngest, came to tattle that her brother was going to smash the spider! But I could see he was simply teasing his little sister to get a reaction from her. With Jaci assured the spider would not be smashed, we observed it closely. This was a young, female garden orb, and I told the kids how the orbs were very friendly and beautiful spiders. I explained all that I knew about these handsome creatures, and that I actually loved seeing them in the flower gardens and in the vegetable patches. After learning of the spider’s value, Wager piped up with, “We better leave her alone now, so she can catch some bugs”. The lesson was complete.

I hope this little trio comes to visit again soon. Maybe this fall, when the weeds are down and the snakes go into hiding for the winter, we can hike back into the woods and find all sorts of adventure. We might climb the giant hill to the secret places Daisy and I used to venture to, and sit under the cover of the tall, old cedar tree deep in the woods. Perhaps we will see rabbits and armadillos, or maybe just peer into their burrows.  And just maybe, we will stumble upon a few old skeletons of animals that lived their lives in the wild, and found peace at the end.

Riley and Daisy_6669

© 2014 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…


60 thoughts on “Children Of The Woodlands

      1. One can easily imagine how much your inner child, or your inner spirit, is reveling in the experience…

        Like

        1. Oh more than you know… it is as if I am discovering my true inner child at this time of my life. I am also healing the wounds of the past. It is amazing to think how a little orphaned deer became my greatest teacher of all. The gifts of nature are tremendous!

          Like

  1. We are both fortunate to have a “magic land” and an inner child, Sundog. Great job of teaching the young ones. Have you ever been around goats? They seem sometimes like stupid deer and they will not just tug at your clothing but eat the clothing if allowed. I had a torn up winter coat I’d wear in the goat pen and they would pull the stuffing out of the coat and eat it. One other thought – GREAT PHOTOGRAPHS. It’s easy to see the wonder and awe on Riley Jo’s face!

    Like

    1. Thank you Louis! When Daisy was little she always managed to find zipper pulls, toggle pulls, any fringe or decorative pieces on clothing or jackets. She still does that… always investigating what she sees. My camera has always been a source of intrigue for her too. Just last evening I was photographing the twins who were a distance away, with Daisy next to me. I got a funny feeling while behind the camera and when I took the camera away from my eye, there was Daisy on her hind legs trying to get tall enough to have a better look at my zoom lens! I know better than to be near her hooves, especially in that stance, but she meant no harm. She was just standing to see what that contraption was that was attached to her mama! She’s a curious girl!

      Like

  2. I’ve enjoyed your stories all the way back when I was known as Beech Creek Project, then Singletrack State of Mind and now as the Ouachita Shutterbug. Your tenacity to stick to your stories and insights is very inspiring. I unfortunately flit from one interest to another like one of the butterflies I try to photograph. I keep thinking I will hit on something that will ‘stick’ one of these day. One thing that has stuck is that I know I can always stop by your blog and come away with a great story and some very insightful wisdom mixed. Keep up the great work because as you probably know.. you are onto something here. 🙂

    Like

    1. Oh my goodness! I will have to visit your new blog! I have missed you… and it’s very acceptable to flit around from place to place! Free-spirited people are like butterflies and have much to offer in their own experiences. We are kindred souls my friend. Our paths will meet one day. After all, we’re not that many miles away – you being in such a stunning area of this amazing state. Thank you for sticking with me all of this time. I have a number of “life” friends here, and it means so much to be encouraged and supported by such a great group. I appreciate you! ~ Lori

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for the kind words. 🙂 You just keep what you are doing and good friends will never be in short supply. I hope you are enjoying this mild summer.. I just hope it isn’t a prelude to a monster winter. 🙂 Stay safe and keep cool!

        Like

        1. Did you read about Daisy’s fawn from last year, Spirit? I blogged about her recently. She had a late fawn on August 7th. The Farmer’s Almanac predicts a mild winter, and I am hoping for that for Spirit’s sake and her fawn. We haven’t seen the new arrival yet, but Spirit still has a big udder and feeds often on deer chow and corn. She’s being very secretive with this baby!

          I find blogger’s to be the best friends I have ever had. Nary have I had a negative comment – always supportive and encouraging. It’s a wonderful community of kind people.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I did read about Daisy’s fawn, Spirit. You have quite a growing family there and for their sake I hope the winter doesn’t bare it’s teeth at us this year. Let’s hope the Farmer’s Almanac is spot on. Winters are always hard on animals but luckily for your brood they always know they have a safe haven to call home if needed for food and even shelter if required.

            You’re dead on about the blogging community. I can’t remember one negative comment in the years I’ve been bouncing around WordPress. That says something in a world where so many like to criticize and say ill things behind the safety of a computer screen. It gives you some hope for the world. 🙂

            Like

          2. I couldn’t agree with you more about feeling hope for the world. I have spent many years of my life experiencing and feeling deeply the unkindness of people. My writing has freed me from the confines of my self-imposed prison – no longer trusting people and society. I was hurt, sometimes angry, and often depressed by the magnitude of what I felt out there (in the world). Here I have found good people who share a love of nature and foster caring, kindness and love in their own writing and comments. It is a place where I find kindred spirits, who share their own experiences and we all benefit from that. And for me, Daisy was the teacher (of nature)… my written words were just the message.

            Like

          3. It’s been about 5 years now where I’ve been on a much better path in life. Went from just going through the motions of life to actually experiencing life and nature and all it had to offer. I’m in a much better place now both mentally and physically. Sharing my experiences and photos with like minded people has a very positive effect that carries over into every day life. I see it in your writings and stories and you know it transfers over to your readers. That’s why people enjoy reading your adventures so much because each one of us carries a bit of that adventure with us through our day. 🙂

            Like

          4. Thanks! Switching to a DSLR camera instead of a point and shoot opened up so many more possibilities to be creative. It’s a learning experience and like they say.. even a blind squirrel finds an acorn every now and then! 🙂

            Like

          5. Ha ha!! What kind of lenses do you have? What brand of camera? I’m a Canon girl and my favorite lens is the EF 100-400mm IS USM zoom. I use it for nearly every wildlife shot.

            Like

          6. I have lens envy! 🙂 I also have a Canon.. the XTi Rebel (400D). Got it used with two lenses… a 28-100mm lens and a 75-300mm lens. Hopefully sometime in the future I can add a longer lens (something like yours) and a true macro lens for those close in bug eye shots. 🙂 For now it gives me plenty of versatility to play around with a lot different kinds of shots. It’s hard to finance too many different kinds of hobbies. 🙂

            Like

          7. Oh, I think the lens envy is one we all have. There is a 500mm for around 10K that I’d love to have. I think your shots are great and truly thought you had a macro lens. My camera is a Rebel T1i which is probably way outdated by now.

            Like

          8. I feel your pain for the 500mm lens… 10K is way out of my budget unless I win the lottery. 🙂 I forgot to mention that I do use extension tubes with the 100mm lens which does turn it into a poor man’s macro lens. Most of the really close stuff I’ve photographed are done using the tubes.

            Like

          9. I’ve always wondered about those extension tubes. Yes, if I ever write my Daisy book (I’ve started it several times but never am happy with what I’ve written) maybe I could someday afford that big lens! Or the lottery as you say!

            I follow Rick Braveheart’s blog at http://thegreatamericanlandscape.com/wp/. He gives a lot of tips and gives instruction in layman’s terms, that are easy to understand. I have learned a lot from him. I am not very technical-minded. I like to keep photography simple!

            Like

          10. Well with your tenacity I’m sure the Daisy book will come to fruition one of these days and it will be well worth the effort and wait. I’ll be sure to check out Rick’s blog because I’m always interested in learning more about what I’m trying to do whether it be photography or mountain biking. Like the say knowledge is power and I need all the knowledge I can get. 🙂

            Like

          11. You said “I find blogger’s to be the best friends I have ever had. Nary have I had a negative comment – always supportive and encouraging. It’s a wonderful community of kind people.”

            I had not thought about the lack of negativity on most blogs (the exceptions are usually blogging about politics or religion) and you are right. I’ve never seen ANY negative comments here and it is REFRESHING. Sundog and ouachitashutterbug, you give me hope as well. THANK YOU!

            Like

    2. “Your tenacity to stick to your stories and insights is very inspiring. I unfortunately flit from one interest to another like one of the butterflies I try to photograph. I keep thinking I will hit on something that will ‘stick’ one of these day.” <— My gosh, I could have written that myself. I also wish I'd find "my niche" soon…it's exhausting with so many interests tugging me back and forth!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha ha! Oh, Kim, we all do that… really. Maybe the focus of my blog is nature and messages from nature, or maybe life lessons, but I too indulge in many interests. I think the freer we are to be creative and explore, the more we seem to bring into our already busy lives. Eventually, we find what is truly comfortable and what is of our inner spirit, or maybe we do get tired of tackling so much or being pulled this way and that, and we find our niche.

        Like

  3. Every post is a lesson in quiet cycles, the vastness of life and the beauty and wonder to be found in small pinches of it. Love this post Lori, gorgeous how the kids are learning from both great grandma and you and how you are showing by doing and not just saying. Wager won’t squishy/ smash spiders now, he knows how useful they are and that took your instruction 🙂

    Like

    1. Ha ha! Wager is like any little brother (or big brother), they enjoy tormenting us girls a bit! I knew he wasn’t going to squash the spider, for if he had, Auntie Lori would have had a different kind of lesson in store! Wager actually surprised me with some of his responses… he has a scientific mind – knowing much about weather, plants and animals. His parents are nature people too – hard working outdoors type. I think those kids are some of the few I know who are encouraged to be outdoors and use their imaginations. That’s what we will do in the fall when the woods are a little more safe for hiking. My mother-in-law is wonderful about showing the kids the woodlands. And, she teaches the kids a lot about chickens. I grew up with chickens too, and they are a wonderful way to incorporate being a good steward to livestock, and having an appreciation for the gift of nutrition (for those who consume meat and eggs) and hilarious entertainment. I can’t tell you the number of times I get tickled watching the chickens while I’m working in my garden just a few yards away. I love that first sentence of your comment, Fran. That just says it all!

      Like

    1. Yes, Yvonne, Riley did very well with Daisy, and I was taken aback at how long Daisy stayed with her. I believe the critters read our energy. Riley Jo is a sweet and thoughtful girl. It was refreshing to have a polite young lady in our company. I guess Daisy sensed her kindness too!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautiful post. I love how you have woven the wonderful connection to another generation through your own learning through dear Daisy, the catalyst. Those moments the children spent with you and mother-in-law could be life changing. We never know how long ranging the effects of those experiences will be.

    Like

    1. Oh, Ardys, you have touched on something very important… the importance of generations sharing! I think back to time spent with my grandparents and how enriching it was for all of us. I hope that the time spent here will always be something special, just like it has been for their mother (our niece). She and her cousins remember quite fondly, the time spent on this place when they were children.

      Like

    1. Thank you. I think Riley Jo plans to come back next summer. This really is a grand place for kids, and I know our older nieces and nephews all have fond memories of being here.

      Like

  5. Those pictures of Riley Jo and Daisy are wonderful. She will never forget that. How privileged those kids are to have a Woodland Auntie to teach them and expose them to how nature really works. That’s what I remember best about my Dad, teaching me birdsong and bugs.

    Like

    1. Aw, Sandy, what lovely memories of your Dad! My mom actually helped to foster an interest in insects and care of animals, but I did not have exposure to wildlife much as a kid. Truly it wasn’t until we moved here, and especially raising Daisy, that I learned to slow down and see the little things, and appreciate the birds and their songs. Some things, like snakes and lizards, I wasn’t too keen on in the beginning, but having been forced to be around them, I’ve learned to respect them and their place in nature. The larger mammals – even predators have a message and purpose of their own. How wonderful it would be to have exposure and understanding like that at a young and impressionable age. It is all part of what makes you such a beautiful and kind-hearted person, my friend. 🙂

      Like

  6. Wow, what a great encounter for Riley Jo and the photo’s were amazing it really made me feel like I was there with you both and it really touched my heart. So thank you for sharing this intimate moment. xXx

    Like

    1. I love it when you say it reminds you of a childhood memory, Mandeep! I always picture you as a little boy in my mind’s eye. It always brings a smile to my face! 🙂

      Like

  7. Lori, you are always so gentle and kind in teaching the children. You and FD have taught our kids something new and beautiful about nature every time we’ve visited. Because of that, you are teaching them to have respect and appreciation for all of God’s creatures. Even the little spiders deserve our respect; I respect them enough to simply scream… and run away, lol! In no small part, because of your deep connection to wildlife and nature, you have so much knowledge to pass on. Thank you for being an auntie who patient, kind, and gentle, and teaches by example! Great post! BTW, Riley Jo’s drawing is beautiful!!

    Like

    1. Thanks, Jules. I quite agree about Riley Jo’s drawing! She took note of everything at the bottom of the slope – even a cardinal in the tree! We do have a large cardinal population here. I am happy that so many in our family love to come here to roam the woods, learning to respect and appreciate the gift nature offers. You couldn’t have told me twenty years ago that I would be a woman of the woodlands, but I do believe I’ve found my niche in this world.

      Like

    1. This little family lives a little over an hour from here and the kids are in school now so it will be more difficult to make the trip, but we will manage a day or a weekend of fun this fall. Of course the big draw with Great-Grandma is she always has ice cream on hand… which all of the kids love! But back here by the woods, there is always something to poke around to investigate, and there is always some adventure… if nothing more, adventure of the imagination!

      Like

Comments are closed.