A Lot of Fence Action

FD and I have not ventured very far from home for a visit with family or friends in more than a year. Our dogs, Bear and Zoe had many health issues and, on top of that, we took on raising orphaned deer, Emma and Ronnie last spring. But with Zoe leaving us six months back and Bear’s passing only a few weeks ago, we finally felt like we could venture out of town for a weekend. This would be our first outing since Emma and Ronnie had been set free, and we figured it would do no harm for us to be gone for a couple of days. A trip to Dallas to visit FD’s sister, Jo, and her family, would be just a few hours out and would provide a nice weekend getaway. And of course, we would take along Mr. T, our only remaining Japanese Chin who had always been a good traveler in the past.

The area beyond the quince, daffodils and jonquils is where I have my big vegetable garden. In just a month, the iris will be in full bloom in this same area, where FD’s grandmother created a magical floral landscape decades ago. I have added my own flowers and fruit trees over the years, and we have also planted many oaks on the property to provide feed for wildlife in the years to come.

So, last Friday around lunch time, we loaded the truck with a few boxes of dishes and glassware that FD and I were giving to Sissy Jo. They were an antique set that once belonged to FD’s grandmother. Over the fall and winter months, I had been finding new homes for many items in our home. FD and I had agreed to simplify some months back, and it actually felt good to discover people who might love these items as much as we had over the years. We donated many other useful items that we no longer used, to Goodwill. And, in a few weeks, we would be making a trip to Nebraska to deliver more items that would go to my family.

FD and Ronnie have a special bond.
Emma gets a little jealous when she isn’t getting equal attention!
FD and I both spent a lot of time with Emma and Ronnie before we headed to Dallas. I hoped they would be just fine while we were gone.

The timing for the Dallas trip was just right, as I had not yet begun the busy work of gardening and mowing, and the wind had been up where I could not work much in the pecan orchard anyway. FD’s job had also been a bit stressful lately, so a weekend of relaxing with family in the big city sounded like a wonderful distraction. And, as it turned out it was also very relaxing. While Mr. T found a corner near the kitchen bar to hide in (while allowing for the possibility of food scraps to fall), FD and brother-in-law, Patric, tinkered around on cars in the garage. At some point, they got side-tracked by two male Green Anole lizards on the neighbor’s fence that were having a duel of sorts, either over territory or, perhaps, a female lizard. It made me smile to think that no matter where we found ourselves, nature tended to present itself as well, and there was always something to learn from the experience. So while the fellas worked on videoing the lizards, Sissy Jo and I ran errands and I did a little grocery shopping for items I found difficult to get back home.  As the afternoon turned overcast and misty, Sissy and I got down to the business of setting up her china cabinet with her grandmother’s dishes. A niece and her family were also visiting, which made for a lot of fun with her little ones running around the house.

FD spent a lot of time getting Jason’s paper airplanes just the right size… I am not sure how many pieces of paper they went through that morning!

When we returned home Sunday afternoon, Emma and Ronnie deer showed up as we were unloading our bags. I wondered what their weekend had been like since “the parents” were gone for a couple of days. They were used to seeing us most mornings and evenings, and I had to admit that I thought about them a lot while we were in Dallas. A mother worries, you know.

But later in the week, FD got word from a fellow employee at his workplace, that Emma had managed to make her mark on Facebook while we were away. After receiving them from his coworker, FD forwarded me the photos that had been taken of Emma on the street side of our alley fence! I was afraid of something like this happening, as there had been an incident just a couple of weeks prior where I had been picking up trash on the alley side of our property fence, and Emma jumped the fence to be with me. I was panicked at the time, and quickly managed to drive the electric buggy back around to our side, where she jumped back over the fence to follow me. I had hoped this would never happen again, and had been very careful after that not to work in or near the alley when the deer were around.

But now aware my fears had come true, I navigated to the Facebook page of the woman who had photographed Emma, only to discover that yet another person had uploaded a video of Emma as she walked cautiously up to the woman who photographed her. To me, it appeared in the video that Emma was sniffing the woman’s hand and, not being familiar with the scent, quickly turned and trotted back to the fence, where I imagine she jumped back over on our side to safety. Deer recognize by scent, and not specifically by sight or sound of voice. In the video, Ronnie, who is not nearly as curious as Emma, could be seen waiting patiently on our side of the fence.

This image from Facebook clearly shows Emma on the alley side of the fence and Ronnie (in the background) on our property side.

Since our return, I have been working almost daily in the pecan orchard, cleaning the area up by picking up limbs and gathering branches and sticks to burn. Emma and Ronnie are with me each day as I work. It is my hope that as the weather warms and more trees leaf out and green plants emerge, that the kids will begin to roam the orchard and the area of the old river channel, and maybe beyond. They need to be more interested in the wild of the woodlands, and not so much the city life. At least that is this reclusive mother’s hope. To me, Facebook brings the wrong kind of attention, and exploring things on the other side of that fence could possibly bring more danger than those coyotes I’ve been worried about in the pecan orchard.

© 2017 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…

 


38 thoughts on “A Lot of Fence Action

    1. Hi Kim! Mr. T did great. He was a tad shy the first day, but he does remember family he’s met before and he warmed up by day two. Those lizards were pretty vicious at the first, but after a couple of hours, FD said they were merely using scary posture and movement in an attempt to look ferocious. They were both clearly fatigued as the afternoon wore on, but still going the rounds.

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  1. Lori, I’m glad you were able to get away but like you I am concerned that the dear are getting too much attention. And on Facebook! Do you know the person who took the pictures? Are they friendly neighbors or passersby?

    I love your old garden and I need to plant a quince! They are such a lovely color! There were many lovely things planted here on our property by the old Lady Gaines, but when she passed her family came and dug everything up. Too funny, that after over 30 years little surprises pop up in the strangest places. This year it is Hyacinth in the yard by the Goose Chalet. Never saw it there EVER. I will move it when it is done blooming so I can find it easily each spring. My favorites are the Peonies. It’s their fragrance! I guess it must have been winter when they came to collect because I have about 6 or 7 of them about the property.

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    1. Hello, Lynda. I do not know the woman who took the photographs. Lots of folks walk or run the streets in this area for exercise, so I assume she and the guy that took the video were just passersby. We did contact the game warden about Emma and Ronnie being at the curious stage now, so if he gets calls or complaints, he knows the situation. We have also contacted the city police. Five years ago with Daisy was the same age as these two, she crossed the busy road north of us and meandered along the old river channel all the way to the north side of town where a woman reported a wild deer (Daisy had an orange collar on) who scared her and she was worried about her grandchildren being harmed. Drama drama. The police darted her and nearly killed her. It was a week or more before Daisy was alert and more like her old self again. It was a horrible thing to watch for a few days – eyes rolled back in her head and inability to stand up and move around. Even after a week I worried as she seemed dull and not very alert. Had she not camped out a lot on our property during that time, I wonder that the coyotes wouldn’t have had any trouble taking her down out in the woods.
      Quince is beautiful, but very invasive. I made the mistake of planting it too close to the house. Now I have to work hard to keep it controlled.

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      1. I remember you talking about that crazy woman, however, I didn’t know about the darting (or I have forgotten)! Simply sad.

        And thank you for the warning about quince!!! This explains the giant “Bush” of it in someone’s yard along the highway… Maybe a dwarf, if it exists, and grown in a large container? Looking!

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        1. I will say the quince does stay in the same “bush” area and doesn’t really grow far from the mother plant. But it does like to spread. I do a lot of trimming on mine, but my mother-in-law lets hers go wild. For some reason, mine can get around ten feet tall, where hers is about five to six feet tall.

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    1. Yes, it was a good time for us to get away. I hope that we can manage more trips now that we’re a little more freed up. I think by spending more time in the orchard, Emma and Ronnie will not be so curious about town, but more about other deer and the wildlife near the river. Just this week, since I’ve been in the orchard every day, the kids tag along and stay to nibble and bed down even though I make trips back and forth to the burn pile with my buggy and trailer. I hope the orchard and old river channel will offer them something more interesting than what the city offers.

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  2. Lots of interesting things in this post, Lori. Have never seen Anole lizards before. They look a bit fierce, but maybe they were just playing, I don’t know lizard body language very well! Glad you were able to get away, I’m sure it did you both some good. Yes, I suppose Emma and Ronnie are not too frightened of strangers and that could be their undoing. Are the gorgeous pink blossoms the Quince tree? So lovely. Do you cook the quince and preserve them? They are very popular here in Australia, usually cooked with sugar and served as a dessert or made into a paste and served with cheese and crackers. Very best to you.

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    1. Hello, Ardys. Yes the quince is the pink and it’s just gorgeous right now. I have only seen a couple of fruits on my own quince and I didn’t even know they were edible!
      Ronnie is very cautious and doesn’t usually even come to me much (unless I pick ticks off of him or brush him – he seems to understand that I’m helping him), so I don’t worry about him. But Emma is fearless and very curious. From what I could tell, she smelled the woman and I wonder if she thought it might be me – and when she didn’t have my scent, Emma turned and trotted off. Emma also pushes it with my neighbor’s dogs. I’ve watched her inch closer and closer to that pen. One of these days those dogs will jump the fence and then maybe she’ll learn.

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  3. Great get away! Beautiful, loving story of re-charging batteries with family. The lizard duel was the best! I happen to love those anoles! Baby dinosaurs! Big hug to you and all the critters!
    Judith, The Lioness

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    1. Ha ha, Judith you are right! Those anoles are like baby dinosaurs! They sure were interesting to watch. That first video isn’t the clearest, but gosh, they were moving lightning fast with those mouths open! Much love to you, my gentle friend. 🙂

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  4. Just love the pictures of FD with Ronnie and Emma! Sure can see the love connection going both ways there! And the lizard videos are amazing! I do hope Ronnie and Emma become a bit more independent. You’re right, they do need to range a bit further and make deer friends of their own.

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    1. So far so good with me working in the orchard each day. The kids follow me and seem to enjoy grazing and then bedding down, watching me work. I make trips to and from the burn pile with loads of fallen branches and limbs, and today was the first day they didn’t follow me to the burn pile each time. They stayed in the orchard and seemed quite comfortable. This is a good sign I think. 🙂
      There is a real love connection with these two. FD and I find ourselves enjoying them every chance we get!

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  5. Sounds like you had a wonderful get-away with family. How kind of you to share family items you no longer want with those who will now appreciate them like you did.

    As I started reading the Facebook section of this post, I felt myself getting nervous. So I can only imagine your fear. I’m glad all turned out OK.

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    1. Yes, Audrey, I was pretty nervous myself when I started investigating the Facebook posts. There was a video that another individual took of the woman taking photos and that made me even more worried after looking at his profile. The day Emma jumped the fence to get to me, a young boy was passing by. The next day I had a kid ask me if I had pet deer. So word is out, and I sure did not want that kind of attention for the deer and I sure don’t want people venturing over here to check out the deer.

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  6. Whew. Other way – go the other way little dears!
    Now that you mention it, this is the best time for a trip – before you get wrapped up in all the serious outdoor stuff
    It’s already feeling like summer here and we’re having to watch temps taking Molly for a walk. (And try to convincer her to give all the assorted lizards and cameleons a break …and we don’t mean break those tails. So many tailless lizards…)
    Love the pictures. Glad the trip went well and all was well on return

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    1. I wondered if you had really warm weather. They say we are having spring very early. Already my fruit trees have blossomed and all of the trees are leafing out. Gosh, we may be opening the pool in April instead of May this year!
      Does Molly shed her winter coat? Mr. T is doing a little shedding, especially on his paws. The deer really look ragged. I pull and brush hair off of them daily. Beautiful red hair is coming in already!

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      1. Newcomers used to always snark that our zoo mistreated their buffalo pair because they look so ragged and patchy in the spring. Even RC Cat is requesting clump removal and more brushing…seriously, she hates looking untidy – how does she know? Molly is just like the most luxurious velvet plush stuffed animal. Everyone who sees her wants to sink their fingers in that soft fur…which makes her nervous so we try to give her space. She has 2 heavy coats and the undercoat (white) sheds year round – but about twice a year it’s like a fur-feathered pillow fight. Oddly we rarely see the dark outer hairs loose.
        MR T probably loves the extra attention right now.
        We’re much too warm for normal. Hope the summer doesn’t bring excessive heat, La Nina and wild fires. Enjoy the nice weather while you can!

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        1. I’m working every windless day in the orchard. The grasses will be growing tall soon and that will hinder my progress. There is much to do! We are looking into a leaf rake, bigger brush hog, and maybe a bigger tractor.
          Mr. T is entirely too quiet. I don’t know if he’s a bit depressed or what. I’ve tried to work with him a little more and spend time with him but he seems even more frightened to be getting so much attention. He did seem to enjoy traveling to Dallas, and hopefully the Nebraska trip will perk him up a bit. Talking about coats, Zoe and Bear were heavy shedders all year long. Mr. T only seems to shed his shorter leg hair. I brush him regularly and get a little hair, but he doesn’t seem to shed like the other two did. He has the most fabulous show dog hair – big and bouncy as he trots. But his markings, too-short tail, and punk head hair do not make for good breeding or for show. His social ineptness really makes it difficult to know how to help him enjoy life. He’s so reclusive.

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          1. social ineptness – never thought about that phrase with a dog, but you are so right. Obviously it’s good there’s a place for everything and everyone and everything/everyone can find their assigned seat.
            (will this pollen never end? Rain is barely putting a dent in it. Storms due in later. Keep an eye out)

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  7. The -pics and video are great. Sure hope both of the kids will distance themselves from city life because you are right about the FB attention. It’s not a good thing at all. Too many crazies out there. I’ll make this short. Lot of fatigue for past several weeks. But I’m ok, I need to get back to your other post but keep putting it off.

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    1. Thanks, Yvonne. The kids are at a curious stage right now. Like all of us, they’ll learn from their experiences… or they won’t. There is little I can do but take them out west to the woods and orchard and spend more time there.
      Please take care of yourself… you have had a lot on your plate over the last year, and I wonder if you are just wearing out. There has been a lot of stress for you too. I know life doesn’t just stop when we need to take a break, but sometimes we have to work smarter and let some things go. Don’t worry about reading anything… and you sure don’t need to comment every time. Many times I click “Like” because that is all I have time for when I read blogs. Let go of the little things… and please take good care of yourself. 🙂

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      1. Lori, I try to stay rested but… my life is filled with stress. I have to go to all my sis’s MD appts. and she has had a bunch with more to come. I ride in the care home’s van to her appointments. Plus I try very hard to check on her every day. I must be her advocate because the homes have shoddy treatment of the residents but not all the time. I just don’t know how things are going unless I see her myself. She is doing pretty fair and remains alert with an excellent memory. It is an uphill battle most weeks.

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    1. I wish we lived a few miles from town. This is really causing me to rethink rehabilitating deer here. The problem with the neighbor’s dogs last summer was bad enough. And now this, just proves to me that it’s maybe not a good idea to have deer so close to town. FD used to have horses in the pasture and they drew a lot of people to the fences. People tried to feed them and pet them, and we even had kids get over the fences to get up close to them. I guess I grew up on a farm and we knew to respect animals and how to handle them or be around them. And we certainly never went on someone else’s property without their permission.

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      1. Llamas are so novel that people have been known to jump into their pastures “to pet them.” However, llamas aren’t usually stranger friendly. It usually does not go well

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        1. I don’t know about you, Cherity, but doesn’t something in our gut tell us that you do not just walk up to any animal? I know nothing about llamas, but I would never approach one without someone there to educate me a bit. I took in injured Holly deer the year we raised Daisy. She’d been hit by a truck. The driver picked her up and took her to his home IN TOWN. His kids were riding her like a horse. It was apparent to me she was suffering a concussion and was not herself. That family thought she was a tame deer and wanted to keep her for a pet! They still didn’t believe me when I told them at some point she would defend herself and her instinct would be strong and his kids might be hoofed by her severely. Finally, the game warden became involved and they had to turn her over to me for rehabilitation. I just could not believe the desire to own her and touch her was stronger than the knowledge that she was wild and could very well harm the children. They were so sure they could make a pet out of her.

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          1. I have found that when someone’s only interaction with animals are with dogs and cats they are effectively clueless. There are so many things you intuitively know when you have experience with large animals that you tend to forget most people don’t. I can’t tell you how many times I almost kept walking into my pasture and failed to notice that my guest didn’t shut the gates behind us

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  8. It’s always difficult to leave the four-legged children behind as we realised last week when we had to make a quick three-day trip to India. However, they were well looked-after in spite of the rather wet weather. Your writing, as usual, brings life into the post. And, of course, your children are special!

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  9. Your last three sentences, starting with “They need to be more interested in the wild of the woodlands, and not so much . . .” made me think of my grandchildren. All children, in fact. Great advice for parents these days. It didn’t need to be said not so long ago, but so much of city life has encroached upon the minds of our young persons through technology. And there aren’t even fences to keep them safe, or if there are it is so easy for them to jump over. Good reading here. And the pictures are warming.

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