Almost every morning when looking out the kitchen window while finishing up the last of the breakfast dishes, I can find Emma and Ronnie deer, grazing in the yard. Of course, this time of year there are numerous weeds growing, and my herb and lettuce bed is sprouting all sorts of greens that deer like to nibble on. Emma especially, likes to help herself to these tasty salad fixings, while Ronnie is more fond of the clover and tree or shrub browse. Everything in the yard gets a good trim with these two.
By 9:00 in the morning, I usually have my indoor tasks complete and then move on to begin my day’s work outdoors. If Emma and Ronnie are roaming about, I can count on them tagging along. When I do not see them around, it is usually within the hour that they find me, either by sight or scent, and arrive to shadow me, regardless of the work I have to do.
I remember the first time I built a good-sized burn pile and hesitated about lighting the fire because the kids were nearby. Not wanting to alarm or spook them, I headed back out to the orchard with the buggy to attempt to lead them away and distract them further into the woods. With my mission accomplished, I raced back to the burn pile in the buggy and lit the fire, only to find the kids had followed me again and, oddly to me, were unafraid of the leaping flames! Emma was most curious, but she did stay away from the heat. Ronnie was very cautious and held his ears back anytime he followed Emma near the fire pit.
As the weather has warmed and my spring chores have increased, I have found that some tasks are quite easy with deer in tow, while others are a complete nightmare with “help” that I have not asked for. Emma is usually the snoopy character that has to check out every job I work at. But I learned years ago that one must be cautious working around deer. When Daisy was young and hanging about like Emma and Ronnie, she hoofed me in the back a few times and even clonked me on the head as I crawled on my hands and knees while digging with a hand spade, or while squatted or bent over clipping a shrub. I was also kicked a few times when Daisy suddenly decided to get frisky. The most pain I ever endured, was from a couple of instances where I allowed Daisy to snoop with her nose to the ground right where I was working, only to have her jerk her head up and hit me in the eye socket. Talk about bone-shattering pain! Nowadays, if I have too much help close to me I simply move to another area and begin another task. Creating diversions works pretty well.
There are also times of wonderment and rest. Over my many years of doing outdoor work, I rarely took breaks just to relax. Generally, a two-minute water break while I checked my cell phone, or to change out reciprocating saw batteries and blades, or tighten up tension on the chainsaw blade and check the oil level, was as much time as I took for breaks. But these days, I am more prone to observe Emma and Ronnie as they indulge in a reprieve from helping the mamma, often performing mutual grooming while they rest and chew their cud, or observing what greens they might be feasting on. My favorite times come from watching them run amok in the orchard, building skill and stamina while showing off a bit. I know these days of shadowing me as I work will not last very long. The heat of summer will arrive in the next couple of months, and Emma and Ronnie will lay low in breezy, shady places. My fires will no longer be so interesting. The roar of the mower running and the chug of the tractor will not appeal to them at all. And the lure of the river and lands beyond will call to them, especially Ronnie. And perhaps, if they are fortunate, they will be included in the local deer herd one day, and find a place with their own kind.
For now though, this deer mother is enjoying her outdoor work with a couple of “endeering” helpers!
© 2017 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…