Running Wild in the Wind

If I could have changed one thing about yesterday, it would have been the weather. It was cold and blustery. The wind howled out of the south with gusts to more than 30 mph. You would think a south wind, and temperatures around 50F would make for a lovely day, but the wind made it miserable. To boot, my favorite, warm work coat – the faded red, vintage sportsman’s duck hunting jacket that I stole from FD years ago, finally became so thread-bare that I could no longer patch it. Stuffing poured out of the left shoulder and the sleeves were horribly frayed. All of the pocket linings were completely gone. And recently, when the metal zipper broke in two, I realized it had to go. I dreaded heading out to the cold with the replacement jacket FD had given me – some fancy wind resistant coat with lots of pockets and zipper pulls that he had acquired from his employer some years ago. However, Emma deer loved the blue jacket because of its fancy zipper pulls and cinching toggles that she could pull on with her teeth. I did like that it was not heavy, but it also was not nearly as warm as my old red coat. So, knowing I would have a long day outdoors continuing my role as a deer mother, I donned a fleece jacket under my new blue one, and added my ear flap cap, a scarf, and my warmest gloves before setting out for the deer pen. The day to release Emma and Ronnie to the wild had finally arrived, and FD and I would spend the next several hours walking them around the property to help them become familiar with the lay of the land. We would be showing them the feeders and water tub, and I would do what any mother deer would do to prepare her young for independence.

I took a little corn in a bucket to feed the kids breakfast in their pen for the last time. After all, what mother sends her children off without a little breakfast? While I fed the deer, FD got busy tying back the mesh material on each gate in preparation for opening them all so that, if Emma and Ronnie returned to their pen after they were released, they could come and go as they pleased. And if they needed to escape quickly from the pen, there were four gates they could exit from each direction. After crunching only a few kernels of corn, I realized they were more intrigued with FD’s activity around the perimeter fence of their pen. Along with the gusty conditions, they were completely distracted from their corn. It would be interesting to see how they managed on their first day out in such chaotic wind. I had been out with Daisy deer in the woodlands on windy days a few times. On those days, I generally found her to settle in an open area, resting in the tall grasses. Falling limbs, creaking and clacking branches, debris falling from above, and all sorts of spooky and unexpected noises put Daisy on edge. Lying low, chewing her cud, and keeping away from trees seemed to keep her calm until the wind subsided.

It did not take FD long to tie back the mesh and prepare the gates for opening. Seeing the kids were a little apprehensive when FD opened the first one, I emerged from the gate first. Emma bolted through right behind me, but Ronnie seemed unsure, and finally FD coaxed him out. Slowly, they moseyed about the front yard, with Emma taking the lead. She investigated everything, with her nose to the ground. Ronnie proceeded much more cautiously, and it was obvious the wind had him very spooked. For the next eight hours, we walked around the house and out into the pasture with Emma and Ronnie. We followed the buggy paths and ventured into the woods. And though I worried about coyotes, FD decided we should walk to the west end of the pecan orchard, as he wanted to check on the game cameras we have down there. Both kids stayed close to us, and the only real scare of the trip was when Ronnie became aware of vehicles driving along a well-traveled road along the northern border of the pecan orchard. Ronnie was on high alert as he watched those moving objects go one way, and then the other. At one point he threw his flared, white tail straight up in the air and ran like hell all the way back to the gate below our house. But then, realizing he was being left behind, he threw his tail up again and ran, leaped, and bounded back to his sister and his people. It was obvious the vehicles had him quite perturbed, and he simply could not make sense of them. But Emma was calm. She forged ahead of us many times, smelling, licking and nibbling everything along the way. On the way back from the west end of the orchard property, Ronnie again panicked when he saw the distant traffic. This time he put on a real show, frantic as it was. Running toward home, and then back to us, he performed magnificently high and long leaps along the buggy path, sailing through the air with ease. It was as if he was trying to tell Emma, FD, and me, to hurry up home before those moving things could get us. He really did seem panicked! Finally back at the canyon below our house, Ronnie panted and frothed at the mouth. I figured he had to be completely worn out. I knew I sure was!

Ronnie finally discovers he can run!
Ronnie finally discovers he can run!
Emma's first trip down the buggy path.
Emma’s first trip down the buggy path.
Emma constantly had her nose to the ground investigating!
Emma constantly had her nose to the ground investigating!
Ronnie seemed hot on the trail of an interesting scent.
Ronnie seemed hot on the trail of an interesting scent.
Ronnie did a lot of fast running, and put on quite a performance of leaping high and long!
Ronnie did a lot of fast running, and put on quite a performance of leaping high and long!
Emma catches her breath.
Emma catches her breath.
FD tries to get Ronnie to eat some clover down in the clover plot in the bowl area of the canyon.
FD tries to get Ronnie to eat some clover from the plot down in the bowl area of the canyon.
Ronnie still tries to ram his little antlers into FD's boot - a game they've played for a few months now.
Ronnie still tries to ram his little antlers into FD’s boot – a game they’ve played for a few months now.

Antler Game_8165

Ronnie stopped to play the antler game with FD many times.
Ronnie stopped to play the antler game with FD many times.
Emma looks happy and bright!
Emma looks happy and bright!
Foraging for eats in the woodlands.
Foraging for eats in the woodlands.
These berries are plentiful in our woodlands.
These berries are plentiful in our woodlands.
While Emma liked to eat and nibble, Ronnie was busy checking out scents all through the woodlands.
While Emma liked to eat and nibble, Ronnie was busy checking out scents all through the woodlands.
After all of the varied browse in the woodlands, sometimes it is just good to come back to the pile of alfalfa that you know and love.
After all of the varied browse in the woodlands, sometimes it is just good to come back to the pile of alfalfa that you know and love.
Emma of the Woodlands.
Emma of the Woodlands.

Towards evening, I sat with Emma and Ronnie down in the bowl area of the canyon, hoping they would settle down for the evening. After a time, FD lit a lovely little fire in the fire pit and brought down a couple of beers. Soon Emma settled down in the clover patch to chew her cud, but Ronnie was not too fond of the fire and would not join her. Finally, he coerced Emma to climb up the nearby knoll to rest with him. This was a place Daisy bedded down many times, and a place she often hid her fawns when they were very little. An hour or so after it grew dark, FD and I put out the fire, said goodnight to Emma and Ronnie who were still atop the knoll, and headed up to the house to shower and have a late dinner.

It had been an exhausting, but wonderful day, and we decided to turn in early. So, at only 8:30, I took our Japanese Chin, Bear and Mr. T, outdoors to do their bathroom business for the last time. I always check for coyotes and varmints with my flashlight while I stand guard over the boys as they do their business. What I discovered in the yard near the deer pen was not coyotes, but two little forms bedded down not too far apart. One facing north and the other facing south, Emma and Ronnie were looking out for each other while they rested, just as deer in the wild do. And what better spot to choose than an area close to the pen that had been their home and kept them safe for the first eight months of their lives.

Emma beds down by the fire pit but Ronnie is not too sure about that spot. FD and I enjoyed a beer while watching the evening sky, and basking in the warmth of the fire.
Emma beds down by the fire pit but Ronnie is not too sure about that spot. FD and I enjoyed a beer while watching the evening sky, and basking in the warmth of the fire, with our “kids” nestled and nosing around nearby. What a life!

© 2017 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…

 


51 thoughts on “Running Wild in the Wind

  1. Oh I loved the videos, Lori! I had two feelings almost simultaneously — fear for them, and joy at how happy they look bounding up and down the hill. I don’t know how you two handle the emotions when you release the animals you’ve raised, but I know it must be difficult. Thank you so much for all you do in caring for so many animals and giving them their best chance for survival. You are both heroes in my book!

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    1. Thank you, Kim. With Daisy it was especially difficult. She was the first and I had no idea what to expect. I worried and wondered about her until I was half crazy. I still don’t know what to expect. I still have no control over how this story goes. But Daisy did show me she was tough, and smart, and courageous. And there have been many woes with these two, yet each time they healed. More lessons were learned. And still, there is the realization – that no matter how right you do everything, Universe holds all of the cards. In nature there is no assurance of anything. All I know is that there is joy in being the caretaker for this short time – be it deer, squirrels, opossums, birds… they are a gift in my life.
      We found more bones today. That did not make me feel very good. We have been picking those up and will haul them off. I will be working in the orchard every day that I can, to keep an eye on the area and hopefully the kids, and do a lot of cleanup.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a heart-warming post introducing the next chapter for Emma and Ronnie. Bittersweet and full of some trepidation for you, as well, having to let them go, but how wonderful you have provided them with this chance to try and succeed in the wild now.

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  3. What a life indeed. You ad FD, as I’ve written before, are two very special and fortunate people. I don’t think there are any other folks quite like the two of you. It is wonderful that you work as a team and really enjoy what each of you are contributing to the environment and to rehabbing wild creatures. You should know by now that you have an ideal set up, at least in my eyes you do. I would give anything to have a property such as ya’lls.

    The videos are wonderful and a real treat. I loved watching the fawns exploring “the great outdoors.” I’m praying that they will have a long life and come back to visit often.

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    1. Thank you, Yvonne. It’s sort of a joke with FD and me, but a friend said we were an “unlikely couple” when we first got together. Seventeen years later, FD and I agree maybe unlikely was a good thing! Any and all people can work together, get along, and flourish… everything is possible! It is a simple thing to decide to be positive and not let nay-sayers interfere. FD and I both love the outdoors, and we have an appreciation for wildlife. Just observing has helped us learn so much about the environment we live in and continue to create here on this land. And the new endeavor with the pecan orchard will be another learning process we look forward to. I’ve heard a couple of remarks on how we’re too old to take on the orchard. FD and I still look at each other and grin as we traverse along the orchard in the electric buggy. Life IS good!
      Yes, I hope too that Emma and Ronnie flourish. I saw them blazing past the kitchen window this morning. At first I thought they were being chased but they were playing! It’s good to see them building on their survival skills.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lori, I can’t imagine a “friend” saying that that you and FD were an unlikely couple. What matters is in the heart and trust and the ability to not just love each other but to like each other. There is a huge difference between love and like. Not everyone has that in a marriage.

        The other thing that baffles me is someone saying that you are too old. You are not in your sixties yet and both of you have at least 25-30 more years of life and possibly more. It sounds like some jealousy to me when someone makes a statement about being too old. Age is merely a number. Age is more about “mind-set” at least in my way of thinking. I could not do what I do if I treated myself as an 80 year old. No one believes that I’m 80 because I don’t move about as an 80 year old. I drive all over town, shop, go to the vet, invest my time in caring for a passel of pets, etc. Anyhow you get the message. Stay passionate about your property and the animals and you’ll be just fine. I guarantee it. 🙂

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        1. Isn’t it interesting how people make remarks that are negative and often none of their concern? I used to tolerate a lot of that. I am more likely to laugh now and walk away. I agree with all that you commented, Yvonne. And I’m sure that the reason you are able to do all that you do, is your passion and caring for life. You are active and you get up and get things done. You help others. You care for animals. I do not know a lot of thirty or forty-year-old people who manage what you do. I plan to be out enjoying the orchard for a long time to come, and I’m thinking that FD and I will continue to help wildlife, work together on our little piece of land, and sit by the fire pit with big smiles on our faces for decades to come.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. You betcha you and FD will be doing just that- sitting by the fire pit and enjoying nature’s beauty and all that it has to offer, to those who appreciate good things when they come along.

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  4. Oh gosh, Lori, I had a lump in my throat the entire time I read this, except when I laughed with delight at Emma and Ronnie running and jumping as they tasted freedom. What an experience. You did a great job documenting it all to share with us. Lovely that they decided to bed down for the night near ‘home’. Big hugs to you all.

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    1. Oh, Ardys, it’s just amazing to watch them. I caught them running at top speed around the house and down in the canyon this morning, leaping and bounding, turning as they ran – nearly touching the ground on the lean! It was amazing. My heart sings these last two days… knowing this taste of freedom must feel exhilarating! Thank you for the “big hugs”! I sure am feeling the love! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I use my iPhone for convenience and for video, and I also use my DSLR and zoom lens for better quality photos. The zoom can be quite heavy but I do love having it with me when I hike to the river.

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  5. What a life indeed! I loved the videos and I can’t believe how big they’ve grown! I’m off to bed but had to let you know I’d been here this morning (1:30 AM).

    Glad you figured out the mystery from your previous post too. Some people just haven’t a clue!
    Good morning. 😉

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    1. Yes, Lynda, we have a lot of difficulty with neighbors. Along the alley, one guy dumps his kitchen scraps and grease in the alley, which attracts varmints. Another alley neighbor has dogs that they allow to shred plastic and paper and it flies into the woods along the alley. Of course I’ve written about the neighbor to the north and his dogs who bark and growl and escape from time to time. Ronnie got a peek of the dogs yesterday – boy did he leap off to the canyon lickity split!! Another neighbor has thrown dead snakes and skunks over our fence (his grandson innocently told me his grampa threw the bodies over our fence). And of course now we have this person discarding deer parts over the fence to the orchard. It’s always something. I used to get mad. I realize one can only communicate and then just let it go. Getting ate up doesn’t do anything but make a person crazy.
      I am happy that Emma and Ronnie have developed so well. We learned a lot with Daisy, which made it easier on these two to get good nutrition. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This description really demonstrates the unique circumstances of your project and vision. It captures what we are all living with but seldom realize it because we are so removed from nature. Though it is hard for you, I feel that your setting is important because it dramatizes both sides of the political issue of environmentalism (if that’s the right term)–human will vs the natural world. You live with that conflict every day, and so your work with deer, your reverence for woodlands and the inhabitants, your planning for orchards: all this is heightened and inspiring by contrast with what’s beyond the alleys and across the street. I do not mean to disparage civilization or its effects, or human behavior in general (“I am the worst of sinners,” as they say in the church I attend), yet I worry. Especially for my grandchildren. So it is important for me to know that withdrawal is not the answer and beauty can thrive next to deteriorating values or loss of vision. When I get tempted to wonder if all is not lost, there are these hopeful messages being sent out to the world through blogs like yours. In fact, it amazes me how much effort you put into this kind of publication. It is such a worthy activity.

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        1. What a beautiful comment, Albert – it made my day! Writing helps me de-stress and it’s what I would love to be doing all of the time. When I started this blog, I thought I would write about gardening, chores, chickens, and outdoor projects. Somehow, nature and wildlife became my passion. Daisy deer taught me to follow instinct, and to notice the little things. The blog just morphed into what I learned of nature along the way. Passing my discoveries along just felt good.
          As for the neighbors, there are some that are wonderful folks. Many I do not know. I have learned over the years that it is easier on me to just deal with some of their behaviors rather than get upset. You’re right, we do live with conflict every day. Nature is such a great place to retreat to. I wish more families did that. I wish kids did that. But it is a different world than when I grew up.

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    1. Ha ha!! Well you ARE an auntie!! I figure as many people that take an interest in our critters, it is very similar to the love and thoughts family gives family. I also believe all of the positive support here, helps them along on their journey. Thanks for being such a supportive friend, Henri!

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  6. The universe does indeed hold all the cards. Such a wonderful thing you have done raising these two, I can’t imagine how hard it must be to relinquish the bulk of the control of their safety and let them live the life they were intended to live, however long it may be for. Praying it is a long and prosperous one!

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    1. Thank you so much Wendy! Each day that I see them out there enjoying the woodlands, I feel happy to know they’re living the wild and free life they were meant to have. This morning I saw them running at top speed, just playing chase! My heart was racing too! It was a beautiful sight!

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  7. They sure are beautiful, nimble, and alert! 🙂 Wonderful videos and pics! I’m glad that they blend in well with their surroundings… which will help them a lot, no doubt! We wish them the very best! Lori, FD and you have been so very caring and compassionate for them; you are their shining stars!

    We humans need to give more protected space to the animals. We are not the only ones who need a decent environment!

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    1. I agree, Tom. That was one purpose for purchasing the orchard. We wanted to make the area a sanctuary for wildlife. Thank you for your well wishes for Emma and Ronnie. So far, they are doing very well. I am glad they seem to know this is home base, and they are a bit more protected here. 🙂

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    1. Well goodness! I never noticed the face on that Hackberry tree! It’s a favorite tree for the squirrels to escape to when Ms. Foxy comes along looking for dinner!
      I hope you are enjoying your trip… I have loved every one of your guest writers. 🙂

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  8. Hi Lori Dear, A fabulous post – so exciting to see. Great video so we can actually watch them, super photos, wonderful writing. Eight months of dedicated, and sometimes grueling work, has paid off. My heart goes out to both of you for your determination, love for these beautiful creatures, and hard work. It has been a joy to share this eight-month saga. Thank you. All My Love, Gail in CT​

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    1. Hello Gail! I really enjoy being able to pull off decent video using my iPhone. YouTube and WordPress really make it easy to share. I still love my camera and zoom lens but it’s been fun to see Emma and Ronnie in action with video.
      I am so happy that so many people are enjoying the deer. It certainly is a special time. Thank you for always thinking of them. I believe all of this positive energy and prayer really does make a difference. 🙂 I love you too, my sweet friend.

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  9. All the comments are how I feel. I do not think I can add more to what these good people have said. As tears are streaming down my face I feel blessed to have found your blog. You and FD are earth angels, caring for these precious souls.

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    1. Thank you so much Sharee. I really feel love and support from so many people regarding my work with wildlife. It really is a beautiful story to share with everyone. Thank you for your support! 🙂

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  10. This is such an absorbing blog! I have immediately ‘followed’, and look forward to more news of the deer, and of you…Thank you very much for your perceptive comment on my guest blog for the kitchensgarden. You are absolutely right about the toughness of farm workers in the past. In my old age at least, I have very good waterproof clothing to combat country weather! Rubber wellingtons weren’t available to English farmworkers until the 1930s. My father remembered my grandmother going straight out to buy them for her shepherd husband when they appeared. They were very expensive, and he wondered how she could afford them. But she was a marvel at saving money! Very best weatherproof wishes! Alison (Brackenbury) http://www.alisonbrackenbury.co.uk

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    1. Thank you, Alison! What a lovely comment. I really loved your guest post… it brought back great childhood memories. My parents were sheep farmers before we moved to a small town. Our sheep looked nothing like that photo you posted of that beautiful, giant woolly Lincoln breed. And another thing we have in common; my Grandfather’s name was Fred also!
      I will be posting more video and photos of Emma and Ronnie. I’m so busy juggling outdoor tasks while the weather is favorable, that writing seems to take a back burner. But I have vowed to myself to keep the posts short and display a lot of photos. I am actually hoping for some rainy days so I can get a few things done indoors – preferably writing time!

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  11. Is there anything more joyful than young running deer?
    How smart to have 4 pen gates available. And escorting as a tour guide. You guys are out in the woods so much your scent is around, it is bound to be a comfort to them as they get settled.
    Wonderful pictures and video – greatly appreciate those! Go, deer, go!
    (Catching up – having too much life interrupting.)

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    1. As you can see, I am trying to catch up too. Sometimes two or three days get past me before I can find time to answer comments. These two kids are a lot of fun, and I know I only have a short window to photograph them together. I have a feeling they’ll part – Ronnie will be off with the bucks after the rut (as bucks do) and Emma will probably stick around here while trying to establish a place in the local herd. Of course I might be surprised and they stay together for a long time. Regardless, this spring I will be going with the flow… following the deer whenever they allow me to tag along.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello! Most of the time these days, I keep my iPhone handy for video. But for more close up I use my old DSLR Cannon Rebel T1i and zoom lens. Since I raised these two orphans, it is easy to get close-up shots.
      I’ll be sure to check out your blog… spring time busy-ness has me stacked up but I try to find time on rainy days to catch up on blog reading! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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