I knew it would only be a matter of time before Emma and Ronnie deer ventured off to the old river channel. It was a place Daisy often explored, jumping the fence to find more of the local herd in the milo field across the way, and the main river channel beyond that. Besides the desire to find one’s own kind, it is also natural for wildlife to seek water. I myself have been prone to linger in the tiny drainage area that channels rainwater from the south ridge down into the pecan orchard, and I love to sit under the canopy of trees that branches over the old river channel. Traversing farther to the west during the autumn and winter months, I have also spent time investigating the main river channel area. This narrow water source is a muddy, red color, and the flow of water is strong. I often sit up high on the ledge above the deep channel, taking in the magnificent beauty of the area. However, I rarely venture here during spring and summer months because it becomes a snarl of plant life, and there is always the threat of wild hogs, and snakes when warmer weather arrives.
As I followed Emma and Ronnie early one morning, I could hear geese off to the north of our home. Most days this winter, it has been common to hear them calling as they fly over our property both morning and evening. And, for the past month or so, I have been hearing their honking to the west of us, where I suspected they have been grazing in the open milo fields along the south bank of the river. This morning, as Emma and Ronnie meandered through the willow patch that grows in the drainage area of the orchard, they headed north, poking around for greens. I skirted them along the west edge of the willows, avoiding the low, mucky area where clay-like soil tends to adhere like tar to the soles of one’s shoes. This mud can be very difficult to remove from a human’s shoes, but Emma and Ronnie had no problems with it sticking to their slick hooves and slender legs.
By the time I had carefully rerouted myself on a drier path along the outside of the willow grove, I realized the honking noise was coming from the slough in the pecan orchard, where water is caught after draining through the willows. Here, I could see about twenty geese floating around in the shallow water… that is until Emma and Ronnie showed up and began to play. Slowly, the geese made their way to the east side of the slough, watching from the mucky bank as the deer stirred up the water. Ronnie loved the water most, while Emma spent more time investigating greens along the water’s edge. But there were a few moments where she joined in the fun and took a few playful leaps herself.
While I photographed the kids antics, I tried to carefully step on bits of grass here and there, but it was inevitable that I would end up with that tarry, thick coating of mud on my shoes. After getting many good shots of Ronnie and Emma at play, I plodded heavily back to the house, leaving the kids to roam the orchard and look for greens to eat. I knew it was going to take a lot of work to pry the thick layer of muck from my shoes, but the trip was worth it. I had forgotten about the slough and how it too was a place that supported nourishment and hydration – and play – for wildlife. This week, heavy rain is predicted and the slough will lengthen in size, bringing the water well back into the willow patch. If I follow Emma and Ronnie back in there after the rain, I will be wearing my Muck boots, I can tell you that for sure!!
© 2017 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…