When You Least Expect It

As consciousness began to creep in this morning, I felt deeply renewed and sated from a restful night of sleep. Of course, this only made me want to remain curled up in the comfort of blankets and darkness of the room. But my nagging friend, “Responsibility” kept chiming in my head, “That poor orphaned squirrel has been without food for nine hours, and those three little dogs have been holding their bladders for eight hours. You need to get up! Get up!”  Yeah, well, I did not want to get up! Why did it always have to be me to get up early and get everyone taken care of? Why was I always the breakfast wench each day? Oh well, c’est la vie…

Finally up and at ’em, I got the dogs fixed up and the squirrel formula prepared. While Punkin’s formula was warming, I quickly checked my email and texts. My sister Jules was on her way home from working the night shift at a rural hospital in Nebraska, and had text-messaged me to see if I was up yet. So I called her to keep her company on her drive home from work. While we visited, I fed Punkin, our orphaned squirrel, on the back porch. Punkin crawled all over me while I talked to Jules. It tickled for the most part, but sometimes those razor-sharp claws really dug in!

Now that we have appropriate squirrel nipples for the syringe, Punkin is going to town gobbling up his formula!
Now that we have appropriate squirrel nipples for the syringe, Punkin is going to town gobbling up her formula!

After I put Punkin back in her little cage, I happened to notice Daisy and her twins, along with another doe and her fawn, eating down at the feeder. I was just remarking to Jules how beautiful it was on the back porch this morning, in the company of all of these amazing deer, when… I thought I saw a fourth, smaller fawn! I counted again. Yes! There were four fawns and I knew the smaller one had to be Spirit’s baby! At this point, Jules knew what was coming next – we have had this conversation many times. I tell her I have to get the camera, and she responds with, “Oh, you go ahead and go down with the deer. I’m just about home anyway.”

I knew FD, who was still slumbering, would not want to miss seeing Spirit’s fawn, so I ran to the bedroom and rousted him up. I did not waste time. I grabbed the camera and quickly as I could, ventured back outside.

Daisy is about to send another doe's fawn off in the direction of its mother. Dancer and Heidi stay near the feeder.
Daisy is about to send another doe’s fawn off in the direction of its mother. Dancer and Heidi stay near the feeder.
Spirit's fawn, "Willow" curiously approaches the group of deer near the feeder.
Spirit’s fawn, “Willow” curiously approaches the group of deer near the feeder.
Heidi sniffs Willow.
Heidi sniffs Willow.
Spirit gets after Willow with gentle hoofing action to separate her baby from Daisy's fawn Heidi.
Spirit gets after Willow with gentle hoofing action to separate her baby from Daisy’s fawn Heidi.

Down below, Daisy was on a rampage. I watched her hoof off the other big doe and her fawn. As she was sending them off into the woods, Daisy’s fawn, Heidi walked over to Spirit’s fawn and they touched noses. All of a sudden, Spirit showed up, gently hoofing at her baby in order to separate it from Heidi.  Pretty soon, Daisy arrived back at the scene with her ears laid back and charging at both Spirit and the baby fawn!  Heidi and Dancer stayed where they were, both alertly observing their mother. I snapped a few photos but, unfortunately, I was not in a good position to see the baby very well.

Daisy’s charge sent Spirit and her baby down the buggy trail to the west, while Daisy returned to the feeding area. After nibbling a little more corn from the feeder, Daisy, Dancer, and Heidi joined the big doe and her fawn, who had moved to watch the ruckus from a safe distance in the pecan orchard nearby. Once the scene around the feeders had cleared, FD and I walked down the slope and carefully headed west down the buggy path in hopes of seeing Spirit with her baby. Sure enough, we spotted both of them about seventy-five feet down the lane from us.

Daisy sends the big doe and her single fawn off to the pecan orchard, while rounding up Dancer and Heidi. She watches to make sure Spirit and her new fawn are heading away from them, down the buggy path.
Daisy sends the big doe and her single fawn off to the pecan orchard, while rounding up Dancer and Heidi. She watches to make sure Spirit and her new fawn are heading away from them, down the buggy path.

I did not manage any great photographs, as we did not wish to spook our new great-granddeer, nor did we wish to alienate Spirit by following her.  Instead, we respectfully kept our distance behind them, speaking gently to Spirit to let her know it was us. The fawn stood at alert, looking straight at us, but did not bolt because its mamma, Spirit, was calm and not bothered by us. Soon, they both turned into the woods, weaving their way up to the top of a small hill that overlooks the entire canyon below. The foliage up the hill was too dense for us to follow quietly, so FD and I turned back to the house.

Willow_7512 Willow_7513

As Spirit quietly meanders into the depth of the woods, little Willow looks back momentarily to check us out.
As Spirit quietly meanders into the depth of the woods, little Willow looks back momentarily to check us out. Click on the photographs to get a closer look of Spirit and Willow in the woods!

As I prepared breakfast and FD made coffee, I was grateful the morning had presented so much activity. Had I not risen early and gotten on with the day, I would have missed out on seeing Spirit’s fawn. Again and again, and yet once again, nature had shown me that very little is predictable… and that some of the best life events happen when you least expect them!

This is the only good photo I managed before Willow high-tailed it down the path after Spirit. Willow was very curious - this probably being the first time she has seen humans.
This is the only good photo I managed before Willow high-tailed it down the path after Spirit. Willow was very curious – this probably being the first time she has seen humans.

© 2014 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…


43 thoughts on “When You Least Expect It

  1. Must be a pleasure to get up every day and find your foster animals out and about and thriving. I don’t know much about deer’s habits but will they eventually all basically get along as they get older or do they have territories? I know they get aggressive when they have young ones and during mating season but wasn’t sure if they will basically form a herd over time. Wonderful pictures and always enjoy seeing the babies of any animal. 🙂 Punkin looks like she’s fitting right in! 🙂

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    1. You know, I planned on doing a blog post about the mother does and all of the hoofing that goes on. I believe I understand how that works after observing Daisy more this year. Before the rut we often see bucks hanging out together, and the does relax with the hoofing before the rut. Does may still hoof each other to determine dominance and they may occasionally hoof their young to show them who is boss! Then during the winter months after the rut, local deer tend to herd up, and things slow way down until the spring when vegetation is green again and metabolism speeds up. During the winter it is common to see yearlings hanging out together.

      Punkin is doing great! I’ll be posting more on her this week. She is making great strides! 🙂

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        1. We all do our part, Phil… whether it is rehabilitation, donations, or making people aware of situations (which you do a great job of!). It is rewarding to know you helped someone or something in need! 🙂

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    1. Ah yes, magic… all around. I must say I wear my squirrel scratches with pride. And the hoofing… well, I’m figuring out about that too! I’ll save that for another blog post!

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  2. The photos are wonderful and I enjoyed reading about the dear deer. I’m glad you were able to show your followers all these great photos. I know that I am highy entertained by your blog and your writings.

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    1. Oh, thanks Yvonne! It has just been three weeks but it feels like an eternity to wait to see Spirit’s baby. I am thankful I got just a few photos. Hopefully, I’ll see more of this little delight in the days to come. For sure there will be entertainment from Punkin. She’s been hilarious to watch!

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  3. Hi Lori, I am sure part of the delight in seeing Willow for the first time was the relief in being able to observe that the fawn is strong and healthy. Those spots certainly assist the fawn to blend in with the light and shadows of the woodland.
    I wonder if Daisy will come to accept Spirit and Willow in time. She is very protective of the interests of her own fawns.

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    1. You know me very well, Margaret. I was very happy to see that Willow was healthy and rather large. I am used to seeing Daisy’s twins each year, and of course twins are usually much smaller than a singlet. Willow can run and leap, and she’s fast. I felt so much better observing this! Daisy will allow Spirit and Willow around more in the winter and spring. I really need to write a post explaining why I believe the does hoof off their young at various times. I have had three years to observe Daisy and I think I know what her reasons are! 🙂

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  4. What a wonderful post and so well written. I found you on the recommended nature blogs, and really resonate with your obvious love for and care for the world around you. What a gift to see that new fawn, and I love the names you’ve given the deer. May nature continue to bless you with her beauty and magic…just when you least expect it:-) Harula xxx

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    1. Thank you so much, Harula. Observing nature (and falling in love with the wildlife here) really helped me heal in many ways. It is a beautiful and magical place, and there is much to learn. Nature speaks to us continually. We only need to stop and observe… finding a message or lesson!

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    1. Ha ha!! It is already happening! I often have to get the binoculars out to look at facial details now. I usually can tell from the eyes, as Daisy and her kin have more almond shaped eyes, while other deer tend to have a rounder shape… but as their coats change and they grow older it’s often very difficult to know who is who!!

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  5. I’m so glad I first happened by here when deer are the current feature! I have spent a lot of time watching those creatures at my daughter’s place – it is always so special to see the new fawns….

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    1. Thank you! Yes deer and most wildlife is featured here! Daisy deer really changed our lives… now three generations grace our place, and is it ever entertaining! I love the fawns too… all so different in personality.

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  6. Just checkin to see if fall is frolicking there yet. It’s 90 and humid this week, but they keep promising coo-ish is coming this weekend. The squirrels are busy – fortunately drivers are going slow for kids and critters.
    Taking it as a good sign that you’re busy outdoors and not here. Enjoy all the crinkling leaves!

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    1. Thanks so much for checking on me. Actually, there is a lot going on here, and I will be posting soon. Those crinkling leaves are not my friend. How’s a girl supposed to sneak up on the deer and other critters with all of that crunching going on?? Ha ha! I think we are seeing the last of summer this week. The cool will be here before we know it!

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      1. Leaf sounds! We used to love to run crunching through the woods at the farm as kids since at home there weren’t many trees that shed leaves.
        THe adults figured all the noise would run any snakes or dangerous critters out of our paths.
        I was glad my kid got to have the same experience and was able to rake up huge leaf piles to jump in when she was little. It would be so sad not to enjoy all that
        But not so good for deer moms!
        Get outside and play while it’s so nice!

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        1. Now those are the great leaf sounds!! I used to build leaf piles as a kid and jump into them! Oh, and if we’d just get a rain to soften the crunch for a few days, I could walk with the deer no trouble. Darned big feet of mine!! 🙂

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