Walking An Ordinary Animal Trail

On an overcast and calm Sunday afternoon in late September, I succumbed to the urge to go for a walk in the woodlands to the west. With my camera in tow, I crossed the barbed wire fence into the nearby pecan orchard and chose to follow the well-worn path of an animal trail along a fence line. I generally find the animal trails yield the easiest path in any direction. Even in the darkness of heavily wooded areas where little plant life exists, animal trails wind around trunks and over fallen limbs, usually taking the traveler on the quickest, or at least cleanest, route. These many trails make up a secret world of arteries and thoroughfares that lead to places unknown.

The fence line trail I chose this day, was not a new trail for me to traverse.  I had been this route many times before, having first walked this particular path the spring we released orphaned Daisy deer to the wild. It was she who taught me to follow the beaten paths that the animals used. And it was here that I discovered the trail to my own wild spirit.

Sadly, our butterfly population was scant this year in SW Oklahoma. I did see a few Buckeye Butterflies in the woodlands this fall.
Sadly, our butterfly population was scant this year in SW Oklahoma. I did see a few Buckeye Butterflies in the woodlands this fall.
My first heart-stopping surprise was an armadillo in search of vittles! I supposed I gave it just as much of a scare as it gave me!
My first heart-stopping surprise was an armadillo in search of vittles! I supposed I gave it just as much of a scare as it gave me!
Poke Plant puts on a vibrant blaze of red this time of year.
Poke Plant puts on a vibrant blaze of red this time of year.
This lovely blur of white wild flowers and wispy prairie grasses are an unknown species to me. The white flower is not Boneset nor Wild Yarrow. The field was fragrant with sweetness!
This lovely blur of white wild flowers and wispy prairie grasses are an unknown species to me. The white flower is not Boneset nor Wild Yarrow. The field was fragrant with sweetness!
A tattered Widow Skimmer alights on prairie grasses.
A tattered Widow Skimmer alights on prairie grasses.
Soldier bugs are everywhere this year!
Soldier bugs are everywhere this year!
This female Orb built her web between two cedar trees. At first glance, I thought she just captured an insect but, upon closer view (after downloading my photos), it appeared to be the male garden orb. Sure enough I researched this and sometimes the female kills and eats the male. Gads!! Check out https://suite.io/albert-burchsted/5qwk2a5 to discover more about this interesting phenomenon.
This female Orb built her web between two cedar trees. At first glance, I thought she had just captured an insect, but on closer view (after downloading my photos), it appeared her victim was actually a male garden orb. I researched this and, sure enough, sometimes the female orb does kill and eat the male. Gads!! Check out https://suite.io/albert-burchsted/5qwk2a5 to discover more about this interesting phenomenon.
I spent almost an hour researching this wildflower. I located photographs on a couple of websites but apparently the species name was elusive to those sites as well! I thought it was very dainty and beautiful despite growing in dry, red dirt!
Years of exposure to the elements has softened a broken tree limb.
Years of exposure to the elements has softened a broken tree limb.
Smartweed thrives in wet areas. This cluster of plants grew along a draw running through a pasture. Leaves of the Smartweed plant can be used to make dyes for clothing.
Smartweed thrives in wet areas. This cluster of plants grew along a draw running through a pasture. Leaves of the Smartweed plant can be used to make dyes for clothing.

Red Leaf on Wood_8314

From season to season and year to year, the scenery along these paths may remain somewhat the same, but there are always subtle changes, unexpected surprises, and even chance meetings with a few fellow travelers.

Daisy, Heidi and Dancer set out to head down the animal trail along the fence line. Daisy is alert at all times to possible danger.
Daisy, Heidi and Dancer set out to head down the animal trail along the fence line. Daisy is alert at all times to possible danger.
Daisy deer finds a resting spot just a few yards from the animal trail. She's alert and protective of her fawns bedded down nearby.
Daisy deer finds a resting spot just a few yards from the animal trail. She’s alert and protective of her fawns bedded down nearby.

© 2014 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…

 

 

 

 


57 thoughts on “Walking An Ordinary Animal Trail

    1. Thank you, Nathan! I wondered if you would especially like the spider photo. I still can’t believe the female killed the male. After reading that article from the link, apparently if the male isn’t very careful it’s more than likely he becomes her lunch!

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  1. And so we progress with our seasons. You are slowing down, starting to find the time to wander and watch and feel and I am losing track of time with a list as long as my arm that needs to be accomplished. I read a gorgeous blog post about the balance between basking and work being where life is truly lived and appreciated. It’s your time to bask and my time to work methinks. I love this post. It is gentle. In a world full of violence and fear, gentle posts are to be treasured. Thank you for this wonderful post Lori 🙂

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    1. Oh, thanks Fran! This seems to be a good time for me to work on better coping skills regarding the stress in my life. Spring and summer are far too busy for me and I need to rethink how the next summer will be. FD and I had such fun on our NYC vacation this year, and I’m wondering if I might be able to let go of some of my gardening and opt for more travel time. If nothing else, just to walk with the deer and maybe do more writing. I feel the need to “bask” as you say, and take in the “gentle” aspects of life. You always express so beautifully, Fran. Thank you for your lovely comment! 🙂

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  2. Have you ever taken a pack and a blanket and slept out by one of those animal trails? I think I would like to do that with you.. lovely images today.. I am dying to get back to my animals now..c

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    1. The closest I have come to that scenario was laying on a blanket near Daisy and Spirit in the pasture on a warm summer night. The mosquitoes eventually drove me inside. This time of year we still have mosquitoes, which can be unbearable down in the canyon. You are probably more brave than I am. I would worry about skunks and snakes. Remember we have a LOT of snakes down here!

      I bet you are ready to be with your animals. I’m missing the farmy too… and delightful stories about naughty Tima and wayward Sheila. I am quite sure they are ready for you to be back as well! It won’t be long now!

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  3. Great shots! I love the butterfly with the intricate patterns. I didn’t have much luck with butterflies this year but next year I plan on planting a lot of flowers and try to lure them to me. 🙂 I don’t have much of a green thumb but surely I can grow a wildflower. Famous last words of a fool! I can really relate to your photos because I’m drawn to the same objects.. old logs, leaf on a stump, bugs, etc. Stopping by your blog is like putting on a comfortable pair of hiking boots and I always know I’ll enjoy my visit. Stay safe and enjoy our fall because I keep hearing what a bad winter this year will be.

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    1. Oh thank you so much! Sheesh! I was just hearing the opposite that we were going to have a mild winter. Someone told me the Farmer’s Almanac stated a mild winter too. It’s times like these I wish I had my Dad or Grandpa to ask about the signs and symbols of nature and sky – what they recorded and relied on so many years ago. The deer and coyotes have very woolly coats for this early in the season which seems to me like a hard winter might be coming. I will enjoy this slow, easy autumn weather while it lasts. One of these days FD and I will traverse your way to see the spectacular fall foliage in your part of the state! I haven’t been that way in many years.

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      1. It should be a great fall show this year. I guess I need to get a farmer’s almanac and read up myself instead of listening to the weather gossip. The ones I heard say it was going to be a harsh winter said they got the info from the almanac. Jeez.. can’t be both ways. LOL.. Either way we’ll survive it…always have and always will. 🙂

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  4. Great post and I enjoyed so much going along that animal trail with you. The butterfly pic is very nice and I enjoyed the weathered tree stump as well as the great pics of Daisy and her twins.

    I’ve had a good year for butterflies since I began planting more things to entice them. Not as many species as last year but there were more migratory Monarchs and oodles of Queens all summer and fall. I’m still seeing a few Monarchs trickle through each day. Nectar and host plants are important to draw them in. Not hard to do even if you needed to put up a 8-10 fence is a small area to keep out the deer.

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    1. Thanks, Yvonne. I really have a great number of butterfly and hummingbird friendly plants around the house and around the perimeter of the yard. The deer don’t seem to bother most of my plants since we’ve put in four area plots with deer mix on them. What I noticed this year, different from the previous five or six years is the drop in numbers of butterflies moving through the canyon area all of the way west to the river. Normally the woodlands supports a vast number of species but this year only a trickle moved through during migration. On a good note, we saw many types of bees and wasps this year, which numbers had been down on previous years. I missed my delicate winged friends this year. 😦

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    1. Thanks! Most of the time I see something coming towards me but that armadillo just shot out in front of me. Skunks are more likely to be on the path most any time of day. Even Daisy deer knows to steer clear of those smelly fellows!! 🙂

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    1. Thank you! You are right… armadillos are very interesting and we see them often around here. Unfortunately, they seem to LOVE our yard, but I don’t mind their rooting around. Everyone learns to share the land around here! 🙂 And yes, a walk in the forest is soothing. I do it often!

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  5. This is so beautiful, Lori! I love all you photos, but the unknown pink flowers and the butterfly you captured were my favorites. I do look forward to the day when I can walk our woods anytime I feel the desire. I wonder what I will find when I have the opportunity? So glad you share with us.

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    1. Hi Lynda! I look forward to you posting photographs of the treasures you will discover on walks in the woods at your mountain farmlet. Soon you will be a “poop” expert on the many animal trails you’ll become familiar with. I bet you make friends with a few of the local critters too! 🙂

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  6. Once again, a brilliant set of pictures with, surprisingly, very less narrative – so unlike you😊. I would love to walk the animal trail but I will carry the backpack hoping to get lost! Beautiful!!

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    1. Ha ha!! I sometimes carry a small pack with me or fill my many pants pockets with things I might need if the trail gets long and hard. It’s sometimes wonderful to become lost or sidetracked… often these trails take us to experiences we never imagined. I still keep hoping one day I will manage photography of wild hogs. I understand they’re a bit elusive, and for certain one does not want to get too close to a mother with piglets!

      I wonder if sometimes I get a bit lengthy with my stories… but to tell them well sometimes requires a lot of detail to get the “feeling” of the story. It was a rather quiet walk, and aside from the hurtling armadillo in front of me, it was fairly uneventful. My camera seemed more important than words on this mission.

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    1. Oh thank you Mike! I admit, I’m more about the “auto” setting when it comes to wildlife. Lack of patience and the unpredictable nature of all wild things makes my photography a challenge! I hope you are enjoying a beautiful morning in your neck of the woods. We are just now seeing a bit of color in the trees.

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    1. Thanks Cherity! It is very special watching Daisy move about in her natural habitat, raising her young ones. She’s taught me much about all of the wild things that live in this small area. It’s quite wonderful to walk these woodlands.

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  7. Friend! I miss being there soooooo much D: Seeing the pictures of Willow drives home the regret of not meeting him/her. Willow was such a stunning little fawn! I’m sure nature has a reason for such a tragedy, but it still is hard to accept. I hope you are doing okay. I miss the woods; I’m so ready for after xmas when I can get a chance to visit with you again and maybe spend the day leisurely walking the woods. You and FD are the greatest people for opening your home to me and your little patch of heaven. I can’t thank you both enough for everything. ❤ Hope you have a great day today!
    Love you guys,
    Dom

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    1. Well hello Dom! We miss you… I especially miss driving the buggy out west, having those “life” conversations while you sketch and paint. Those were special times. We love you too… and we are proud of you. Your creations have special meaning to us and we are so happy to display your work in our home. The connection with the deer is very strong – I couldn’t be happier that they let you into their world – enough to have a feel for their movement and character. Your work truly reflected the essence of their lives… their ways.

      And look at the plans in the make! The woodlands will be busy this next year creating a magical place for your wedding. I can’t think of a better place for this part of your life to come full circle with nature. It’s very exciting to think of your wedding here… so much symbolic meaning to it, sweet girl. Happy days are ahead… there will be much to do and think about!! 🙂

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  8. What a beautiful post, Big Sister; I enjoyed the stroll through the woods, and the pictures are lovely, as always. Greeting cards… I agree!

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  9. Oh Lori, how I enjoy following along on your life on the farm (and quietly wish I had a similar back yard filled with so many amazing critters.) I loved all the photos, my friend. but I have to tell you that the first photo (the butterfly on the flower) is an award winner in my book. From a technical perspective (you know how us professional photographers can be!) your lens selection and use of a low f-stop (large aperture) created an amazing “bokeh” (out of focus and almost watercolor background) that added a stunning quality and brought the viewers eye directly to those amazing two subjects. It’s always a delight viewing your images and watching as you continue to grow and use the camera “to play, the farm girl way.” { } ~ Rick

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    1. Jeepers Rick… thank you so much! Maybe it’s the result of your excellent teaching skills and all of those tips you have been giving those of us who follow your blog! Even in your comments you are very kind to explain terms and technique. I admit, I struggle with the technical side of the camera, but you have made me more cognizant of what I’m doing. When I have time with wildlife that sits a bit still, I can experiment with settings. More than anything I have fun with it all. And yes, it’s really wonderful living the farm girl way! 🙂

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  10. Oh I love that we both shared walks this week! Yes, they very different, but we both got to see many wonderful things. The photos are all wonderful, but that red leaf against the grey just made me exclaim out loud.
    Lovely!!

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    1. Oh, that is a real compliment coming from you Laurie! Thank you so much. Your part of the country is spectacular right now. We are a bit behind with color and seasonal changes.

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