A Hoofing Good Show

Now that we have had a few good rains in our area of Oklahoma, the pecan orchard slough has lengthened and widened to the point that it stretches along the entire eastern border of the pecan orchard. I can no longer work at cutting and gathering limbs and branches along the east fence line since the slough now cuts off access to that area. On the bright side of this, Emma and Ronnie deer still enjoy the lure of the water, and I have noticed a blue heron recently, milling about in the now submerged area of the willow trees. A flock of wild turkeys occasionally venture along the mucky edges to look for insects and nibble around in the new vegetation sprouting up. Emma and Ronnie do not know what to think of these giant birds.

A flock of wild turkeys have been frequenting the willow tree area of the slough. Pictured is one of the flock’s “gobblers”.

Ronnie seems to be fascinated by the water and cannot help himself but to wade into the slough most mornings. He runs and splashes, jumping and throwing his head as he goes. Emma, who is more interested in finding food, tends to wander along the water’s edge nibbling on fresh greens. Much of the time while I am in the pecan orchard, I am busy cutting and loading wood on the trailer so that I can haul it either to the firewood stack or the burn pile. But every once in a while I stop and watch Emma and Ronnie having fun in the slough.

Ronnie can be found enjoying time in the pecan orchard slough most every morning.

Emma still tends to take the role of the big sister, even though she is only about two or three weeks older than Ronnie. She is taller and longer-legged, jumping fences with ease. She is often the leader when they go off in search of eats for the day. But Ronnie can be independent at times – disappearing into the woods on his own. I believe this is typical of male deer to be more solitary.  I notice he rests more often than Emma does. He is never far away, but Emma tends to moo around for him if he disappears for too long.

Ears back always means serious business!
Ronnie begins to submit, unable to keep standing as long as Emma.
Ronnie backs off a bit.

Emma comes down hooves still flying!
Ronnie takes a slight hoofing from Emma.
Ronnie seems hopeful for another match.
I wonder if this is some kind of eye contact regarding dominance?
Ronnie is still hopeful for a rematch but Emma ignores him.

My favorite times to observe Emma and Ronnie is when they run with wild abandon, practicing and honing their ability to run at top speed, pivot and turn quickly, dodge trees, jump fences, and leap high and long to cross narrow streams or ditches and downed timber. And every now and then, I am fortunate enough to witness a duel between the two. It is a spectacular show of dominance between two siblings. They are practicing skills they will need to survive in the wild. And when they are done performing, one submits gracefully and walks away. Both resume a bit of grazing before heading off deeper into the woods or to mosey along the old river channel, and perhaps grab a good nap in the shade of the majestic, century-old cottonwood trees…

© 2017 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…

 


32 thoughts on “A Hoofing Good Show

  1. Absolutely beautiful. You are so lucky to have that first row view on their behavior. Ronnie’s joy is palpable. The two of them standing make me laugh. I know it’s serious business, but they remind me of a Pharr Side cartoon where the animals imitate the people.

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    1. Hello Charlotte. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t enjoy a good laugh because of those two. Emma grows more confident all of the time, and Ronnie puts up with her antics and snooping. Ronnie is such a sweet boy, but he does instigate most of the hoofing matches!

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    1. Will you make a home in the country again some day? It’s funny how as a young girl I yearned for the city… and now that is the last place I would want to be. I’m happy to bring you a bit of the excitement of nature. 🙂

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  2. What a wonderful show. These two are becoming mature deer but still want their Momma around. What a blessing you were to care for them.

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    1. Mamie, you have the situation pegged. Those kids seek me out at 6:00 in the morning when I go out to open our front gates, and they’re here about noon, and then again in the evening – often bedding down in the pasture just beyond the house at night. It will be interesting to see how they mature and venture out a little further come the summer months.

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    1. They look a bit ferocious at times! Nathan, Emma hoofed me the other day while I was digging in the flower beds. I didn’t see her until she clobbered me. Those hooves are sharp!! But I wasn’t hurt other than a small bruise. I guess she was imitating me digging!! She managed a small hole.

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  3. Thank you for the update, have been thinking about you all. How fortunate it was for Emma and Ronnie to be raised with each other to give them a tiny herd to start their life in the wild. Otherwise it might be a pretty scary and solitary life for them…if they even experience it that way, who knows? Best to you all. xxx

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    1. Thank you, Ardys. I think of you often. Life seems to be changing so rapidly – if only I had time to write more! I hated not to post those images of Emma and Ronnie, even if a few of them weren’t good quality. It gives a good idea of bodily movements and “looks”. I always know something is about to happen when the ears go back!! ha ha
      I hope you are doing well, my friend. Are you busy with wedding plans or doing any travel? Enjoy yourself whatever you do, and much love to you.

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      1. Wedding plans are on hold until next year, thank goodness. My cousin and her husband from Wyoming have just arrive a few hours ago to spend four weeks here! It will be a whirlwind I’m sure. Lots of things to see and do. xo

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  4. Aah those two dear deer so enduring, are comical in a way. I could look at the pics over and over again. It fun to see how they challenge each other with hoofing. Those feet can really hurt and as you say one day these will be survival skills along with the wondrous agility of their species. They turn on a dime and jump with the ease of a gazelle. They are amazing animals. Lori, you did an outstanding job of raising those two just as you have Daisy. I imagine that you are thoroughly entertained by them.

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    1. Yvonne, you know I enjoy any time I get to spend with those two. Yesterday I did some weeding in the flower beds around the house and Emma felt the need to “help”. She dug a hole. Ronnie likes to rest a lot, while Emma is all about finding food. I think they do go to the slough each morning for a romp. If I’m working in the orchard I am sure to take the camera along. I see them often throughout the day, and they still bed down not far from the house. I think it will be a little while before they venture further and further out. They seem to enjoy each other’s company.

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      1. That is so cute- digging a hole near you as you worked. I bet your flowers will be fantastic this year. I hope you get lots of butterflies to photograph.

        I’m glad that Emma and Ronnie are still more or less attached to you. That is good in a way and maybe not in other aspects but at least they are safer from predation and other dangers in the deep woods. It also affords you wonderful photographic opportunities.

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        1. We are already seeing a large number of species of butterflies… very promising for a good year! I just saw Emma and Ronnie down below the slope. There is a fox frequenting the area, and I think they finally realize that the foxes mean no harm. They’re learning every day what they can trust and not trust. 🙂

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  5. I like your description of them running “with wild abandon.” I always get a tingle in my heart when I see deer running and leaping, displaying their grace and agility so beautifully.

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  6. How wonderful! This is such a wonderful display of the beauty of country life. Emma and Ronnie are testament to the wonderful bond that animals and humans share. Thank you for sharing these beautiful creatures.

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