Rest and Rumination

Surprisingly, I slept soundly the night after we released Emma and Ronnie deer. I suppose my body was fatigued after spending so much of the previous day on foot, while leading – or, I should say, mostly following – our two little charges around to show them the woodlands. I am quite sure my emotions, leading up to and including release day, had sapped a lot of my energy as well. I was not sad, but rather elated to see Emma and Ronnie finally running free. But then, toward evening, a bit of worry set in. I know, imagine that – Yours Truly, worry?

On our walk with Emma and Ronnie to the west end of the pecan orchard property that first day, we had located another sawed-off leg bone of a deer and still another leg bone with a hoof attached, which caused my old foe “worry” to set in. Even though I knew we had done all that we could to prepare the deer kids for this time of freedom, I still let fear of the coyotes get to me.  FD and I had not had much respite that whole day, except in the evening when we sat by the fire pit, while hoping Emma and Ronnie would bed down in the area nearby – which they did. I also found comfort later that night, when I took the dogs out for their last business of the day and found the kids bedded down near their old deer pen. At least they were a little more protected here near our house.

Ronnie loves clover!
Ronnie loves clover!
Emma ate every bit of spinach in my herb and greens garden.
Emma ate every bit of spinach that was beginning to come up in my herb and greens garden.
Both Ronnie and Emma love to trim the ornamental redbud trees in the front yard!
Both Ronnie and Emma love to trim the ornamental redbud trees in the front yard!

Shortly after breakfast the next morning, we found Emma and Ronnie eating at the deer feeder below the slope, and I quickly wrapped up dishes and slipped outside to spend the morning with them. Up top of the slope, Emma ate the new spinach from my herb bed, while Ronnie nibbled on our ornamental redbud trees. On the south side of the house, they checked out the blackberry canes and nosed around in their old pen. After a while, I took them all along the upper ridge of our property to a craggy area where common ivy draped from up high in the trees. To me, this was a bit of a magical spot overlooking the entire woodland bottom, and one where Daisy often loved to rest. Here, Emma took a lot of time sniffing around, while Ronnie was more interested in peeing along the trail and rubbing his little antlers against slender trees and fallen wood. His mannerisms at this young age were every bit the same as what we had observed in mature bucks. Finally, I took Emma and Ronnie down the steep embankment to the bottom. This was the type of terrain where I wished I had those little hooves myself! Big feet in boots made for a slippery and treacherous descent, but I managed by hanging onto trees and roots along the way.

Emma and Ronnie at the top of the ridge.
Emma and Ronnie at the top of the ridge.
It is a very steep descent to the bottom.
It is a very steep descent to the bottom but, mustering a little bit of courage, Ronnie gives it a go.
Emma decides the best path down.
Emma decides on the best path down.
Ronnie is very careful with hoof placement!
Ronnie is very careful with his hoof placement!

After descending the slippery slope, we wandered along through the bottom land below. In the damp and fertile soil of the canyon floor, Emma and Ronnie found all sorts of greens to graze on. I was thankful for an early spring, as the more warm days we had, the more plants and browse would come alive, giving the kids plenty to feast on. Another sign of the coming spring I had noticed lately, was the squirrels spending most days high up in the trees, nibbling on the plentiful, emerging leaf buds. As soon as the leaves began to present themselves, every living creature would be nibbling the tender shoots, which are rich with nutrient. Had it not been for observing orphaned squirrels Punkin and Mr. Gambini’s eating habits their first spring, or Daisy deer’s after her release, I would never have realized just how important fresh, new leaf shoots are to wildlife diet.

Ronnie_8300 Emma_8311 Emma_8312 Emma _8313 Emma_8314 Ronnie_8323 Ronnie_8326 Ronnie_8328 Ronnie Catching Scent_8332

At some point in our hike through the canyon bottom, Emma simply folded her front legs to a kneeling position and, with her rear end up, folded her rear legs under her and dropped down. She was tired. Ronnie nibbled on a few dead leaves before following suit just a short distance from Emma. Ronnie chose a patch of Liriope or Lily Turf plant to bed down in, while Emma was more camouflaged on a carpet of woodland leaves. This too, was an area in which I often found Daisy and her first fawn Spirit bedded down. While the deer kids rested, I scanned my video camera across the woodland bottom and recorded the calls of nearby barred owls, cardinals, and chickadees. As I panned my camera, I noticed the patch of wild grape vine where a bobcat took Daisy’s first buck. As many times as I passed by that area of tangled vine, I could not forget Daisy’s mooing and mourning at the last resting spot where Rowdy’s scent had remained until heavy rains washed it away. I continued to scan the area with my camera until I had come full-circle, back to Emma and Ronnie resting quietly in the woodlands.

Not wanting to leave the kids yet, I sat nearby in my own spot on the carpet of leaves and leaned up against a tree. I watched Emma and Ronnie chew their cud and groom themselves. For nearly thirty minutes we sat as a little family, resting quietly. Rumination for them was to chew their cud. But for me, it was reminiscing about similar days with a young Daisy deer. Remembering those times, and with Emma and Ronnie content to hang around close, I wondered how much work I would actually get done in the days and weeks to come. I thought of all of the plans I had made for my gardens, and cleanup in the orchard, and my usual summer work. But somehow, my inner spirit already knew that rest, rumination, and roaming the woodlands with Emma and Ronnie would be my true passion…

© 2017 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…

 

 

 


25 thoughts on “Rest and Rumination

  1. They seem to be pretty calm in the woods already. I love seeing them resting like that. And how cool to hear the Barred Owl calling, “Who cooks for you?” I heard a Red-bellied Woodpecker out there too. 🙂

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    1. Oh, Kim, I just knew you’d identify something I missed! Ha ha! I forgot about “Who cooks for you”. Just prior to that the Barred Owls were making sound like a group of monkeys calling… I can’t describe it but they really get crazy. It always makes me laugh. The kids are doing a lot of exploring, and they’re also testing their legs with running and leaping. I hope to have some video of them playing chase in the next day or two. I am so glad they’re sticking together. Emma is the calm one, and Ronnie is anxious, and he follows Emma’s lead. If she loses him, she calls for him. It’s very sweet.

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  2. I’m so glad you have the ability to capture them on video, Lori! It is so quiet and peaceful there. Most times when I have seen deer this close it was when I was hiking and came upon them on the side of a trail. It is strange to me to remember walking along, not seeing, and then suddenly they just popped into perspective. They and I frozen in time; we just stood and stared. These are rare moments that punctuate your life with beauty.

    And here you are living with it most days. ❤

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    1. Lynda, FD and I do know how special it is here. What is utterly amazing is that when we walk with the deer, other critters – especially birds, are not afraid to come close to us. It’s as if there is an understanding that if the deer don’t scare off then we must be safe. It was always funny when I walked with Daisy to see other deer observe us together. They kept a distance but they watched intently. I wonder what they were thinking… if indeed they think. And deer are so camouflaged that often a person can walk right past one that might be bedded down, and not realize. They seem very magical.

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  3. I’ve only ever caught fleeting glimpses of deer, so it seems so magical for you to be with Emma and Ronnie as a natural part of their environment. Perhaps you’re really a wood nymphe, transformed into a ‘clumsy’ human by a curse that has become a joy, despite the worry xxx.

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    1. Ha ha! I sure am clumsy. I can’t tell you the times I walked with Daisy and she would suddenly stop when I’d snap a stick or crunch on something making a terrible noise. I’m sure she had to be quite irritated with my bumbling around. It is a magical feeling to walk with deer. I often long to me more a part of that world.

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  4. Haven’t talked to you in awhile and I apologize for that! But reading your post makes me feel sad and hopeful! I’m sad it was time for them to venture off on their own but hopeful in the fact they will be just fine! They have a good momma to keep an eye on them from a far and make sure those dang coyotes stay away! As I was reading this I thought to myself how cute it would be if you wrote a children’s book about Ronnie and Emma..just a thought 😄 but anyway I’m excited to find out how Ronnie and Emma do on their own! Keep us updated!

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    1. Hi Brittany! When the weather is good I should be in the pecan orchard working, so I will be a presence that will hopefully keep the coyotes at bay. I do not often know where Emma and Ronnie get off to. I have so much that keeps me busy around this place, so it’s hard to keep an eye out all of the time. Generally, they are here early in the morning, and then they’re gone all day and return home around 4:00. Daisy had much the same schedule and places she hung out. I find it interesting that Daisy also liked bedding down in the pasture at night as Emma and Ronnie have been doing. It’s a real thrill to spot them first thing in the morning. I think that is what I worry about most – they’re out there in the dark. But then deer have excellent night vision, and we humans do not understand roaming around in the dark. I’m just a worrywart I think! 🙂

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  5. It is amazing how much they trust you. I finally heard the owl calling, too! I first watched this on my phone last night and couldn’t quite hear it. Have fun!! xx

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    1. I just love those Barred Owls. We hear them all year long here. And soon, we will be hearing the mating calls of the foxes. The woodlands are such a magical place. I hope to have many wonderful walks with Emma and Ronnie in the woodlands and beyond. 🙂

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  6. I’ve been really busy so my comment here is after your latest post. I like the title of this post. Very clever. The pics are all just wonderful. Those two had quite a day and so did you. It’s sort of like trying to keep tabs on two, three year humans that are running wild through the woods. Only these two are much faster.

    Something is amiss with the sound on my computer and I did not get to listen to the barred owl/s. It’s some kind of whack-a-doodle thing. On FB I can click on some posts and I get sound. On MSN which is my home page I got sound a bit ago but still need to make a call to HP through Costco tech support. I was supposed to do that for three days in a row and I every time the tech calls I am out running errands. Hopefully tomorrow. I think my computer will need to be sent to HP and I dread the thought. It’s only a year old.

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    1. The post will be here for a very long time (as long as I pay the fees each year to keep the blog active!) so you may listen to it when your computer is fixed. Gosh, I’m like you, Yvonne, I hate to think about dealing with tech support (though most are very good and helpful) and especially having to send the computer off for repairs.
      Most of the time when I’m outdoors or working in the orchard, I have my iPhone with me, and on calm days I take the DSLR and zoom lens. But it’s difficult to catch Emma and Ronnie in the act of anything and get it on video. They are fast, and I’m slow at getting my act together. That’s why my best shots are when I’m simply walking with them and at the ready with both the iPhone and the camera.

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    1. Ronnie is very cautious about everything right now. I’m sure that will change as he builds confidence. Emma is such a lady and very independent. Yes, Daisy taught me much about taking time and being patient. Who knew deer were such teachers? 🙂

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