Nodding Off

This past weekend, FD and I decided it was finally time to close the pool for the season. We were still enjoying the warm dog days of summer, but it was evident that autumn was just around the corner. Evenings were cooler now, and a few hints of fall color were making a splash in the woodland trees and vegetation. Leaves were spiraling down from the trees, which was the main reason to close the pool now. Leaves make a real mess in the pool and, besides that, the water has become too chilly lately for enjoyable swimming. After a short rain Sunday morning, the skies remained overcast and there was very little breeze. Nature had handed us the perfect scenario for preparing the pool for closure.

As with any routine chore, we had learned a few tricks over the years to simplify the process, making the task of closing the pool fairly easy. Everything was going well until FD discovered a tiny leak near the skimmer. Fortunately, it was a simple fix, and just a matter of spending a bit of time working at it. Then Emma deer showed up. During the week when I am working on any outdoor task or project I wait for the deer to take off to the woods for the day. Otherwise, they tend to hang around snooping and I get little done. One has to be careful of hooves and antlers now that they are older. While FD worked on the leak, I kept Emma from interfering. Finally, the leak was repaired and FD and I got the big blue pool cover out. The crackling noise and expanse of tarp as it was unfolded, scared Emma and sent her running for the canyon down below the slope. Thankfully, she would not be meddling with this last step in closing the pool.

Emma checks out the water trickling from the filter tank.
Emma could not seem to keep from chewing on the pump plug.

After getting the cover secured and putting away tools and pool equipment, FD and I decided to enjoy a couple of beers on the back porch. By now the sun was making an appearance and we were hot and thirsty. Emma and Ronnie were lying down below the slope in the shade of a hackberry tree. Squirrel chatter could be heard all around. I had observed a lot of early pecan harvesting and a lot of fighting and play with the squirrels lately. Butterflies and moths danced and flitted about while FD and I enjoyed some good conversation. After a time, Ronnie and Spike mosied off to the pecan orchard to look for some good eats or engage in some antler sparring. But Emma stayed put, bedded down in the shade with all four of her legs thrust out in front of her. It is not often one observes a deer in such a relaxed position. Most of the time they rest and sleep with their legs tucked underneath them, always at the ready to run from a predator. I suppose Emma felt so comfortable because her “folks” were not far away.

Generally, when deer bed down, each will face a different direction, always on the lookout for predators.

It was when FD noticed Emma nodding off that I ran into the house for my camera. I had observed deer sleeping many times. They curl their heads back into their bodies. Sometimes their eyes are closed and sometimes they remain slightly open, just like humans do. In both delight and amazement, FD and I watched Emma’s head drift back further and further towards her spine, in small nodding movements, until her long neck had made its way to an uncomfortable-looking stretch where she finally jerked back up to a more normal resting position. Before long, the entire process began again.

Emma is getting dozy and closes her eyes.
Normally, a deer sleeps with its legs folded under and head curled back along the belly. Emma has all four legs stretched out, but the position of her head looks about normal here.
Her head is now slipping back a little too far…
Nodding back further…
Emma’s head pops back up just a little, eyes still closed.

Even though her eyes appear to be open, Emma still seems to be dozing.
Emma stared into the distance for a short while and then proceeded to nod off a few more times.

I cannot say how long FD and I delighted in watching Emma nod off. And I cannot say why I enjoyed it so much. Perhaps it was the deep relaxation I sensed in Emma’s body posture. Maybe it was the knowing that FD and I had made efforts to provide the deer and all wildlife in this area a safe sanctuary and we had, as Emma demonstrated, been quite successful. I was also thankful for having this time of gentle rest at the change of seasons. With cooler weather approaching, I would finally have reprieve from summer work, and Emma and Ronnie would have just a bit of respite before the chaos of the fall rut.

© 2017 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…


33 thoughts on “Nodding Off

    1. The kids are healthy. Emma is a big doe – much larger than Daisy was at this age. Ronnie is small for a buck but he’s got a grand set of antlers for his age. We are very happy they have done so well. The rut season will be interesting to observe them IF they stay close to the area.

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  1. The pics are marvelous as usual. Love the photo documentation and it is very clear that Emma feels protected by her humans. I don’t think she’s be so relaxed while sleeping if she feared predators.

    Glad you up could get the pool covered before Fall begins in earnest. You and FD are smart to get the pool covered early before it is fills with leaves. I can’t imagine what a chore that would be in order to get the pool in shape for the winter.

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    1. Thanks, Yvonne. We’ve learned by closing the pool like we do, makes opening it a breeze in the spring. Normally, pool covers only last a couple of years – the elements and wind tear them up over the winter months. We have had this cover almost five years, and though it has some small rips and spots of wear, we hope it will last another year or two. We live in such a disposable world, and I feel most folks just throw out the old and buy new. FD and I still do our best to take care of what we have, and keep mindful of all that goes into the landfills.

      I am glad Emma and Ronnie are resting more lately. They’ll need to be ready to run when the rut begins. Ronnie’s neck is beginning to thicken up. I feel it won’t be long and we will see more activity in the woodlands.

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      1. The rut- let the chase begin! Glad you are thrifty with your possessions. I am too. I recycle all that our city recycles and it is quite a bit of stuff that they take and run through a convey belt. The city furnishes a blue container that is picked up every two weeks. I save glass but that has to be taken to a place not too far from where I live.

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  2. LOL! Lori, I have similar problem with my head when dozing off. (Usually in front of TV or reading late at night.) I love that your deer are so comfortable on your property and in your presence.

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    1. I have been able to observe Emma and Ronnie sleeping much more than I ever saw Daisy do. I wonder if Emma and Ronnie keep nearby more than Daisy did, simply because they have each other’s company (along with Spike), where Daisy went out searching for her own kind. Plus, one keeps an eye out while the other sleeps, and Daisy did not have that luxury.

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    1. Yes, I am still enjoying this relaxing time with Emma especially. I know it won’t be long and both kids will be off to the woods and beyond engaging in the rut activity. I am glad they are resting right now. They’ll be doing a lot of running in the months to come.

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  3. By the time I finished reading this, I was ready to start nodding off! In the next to last photo, it looks as though the nictitating membrance might be showing, just a bit. For a long time I thought birds were the only ones with that “third eyelid,” but I found that deer have it, too. It can be used to keep the eye moist during naptime, and since it’s translucent, they can see a bit through it as well.

    I didn’t realize that we sometimes sleep with our eyes partly open, too. My eye doc told me this week that the reason I occasionally have blurry vision in the morning that goes away after two or three hours probably is due to the tear film drying out over night. When I described the problem, his very first question was, “Do you sleep with an overhead fan.” When I said I do, he nodded sagely and said, “That’s it.” Even the slightest crack in an eyelid will allow drying to happen — we should be outfitted with that third eyelid, like your deer!

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    1. Linda, I learn something from you every time you either post to your blog, or you comment on mine or someone else’s. Many critters have the “third eyelid”, and it does make me wonder why humans do not have it. I never thought about my morning dry eyes, but there you have it. I sleep with both a ceiling fan and an oscillating fan (not because of me, but FD likes the air circulation and noise) and every morning I have blurry vision for an hour or so each morning. Thank you for explaining this! 😀

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  4. What a difference between Austin and where you are. It hasn’t yet started to cool down here, not even in the mornings when by the middle of September we typically begin to feel just a trace of cooling. The high today is predicted to be 92° and the low 72°. Not till this coming Friday is the high predicted to be only 82°.

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    1. I think the same thing when I visit with family in Nebraska – how 8 hours can be 20 or more degrees different! I am a bit surprised that some of the trees (elms especially) are bringing out color already. We really haven’t had many cool nights yet. I hope we get a beautiful autumn, and I especially hope we get to see the monarch migration. So far I’ve only seen a few here and there.

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  5. Emma has certainly paid you and FD a compliment of the highest order to be so relaxed and trustful in your presence! I too had to laugh knowing how my head sometimes falls off my neck 🙂 while watching TV, it is so amusing to watching someone else doing it. Laura

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    1. Yes, Laura it is nice to see Emma is so trusting of us. That does not happen often with other folks or visitors that we have here. I am glad she and Ronnie are not so human-friendly – they just seem to bond with their odd parents. 🙂

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    1. It is the milestone you describe. Emma and Ronnie have done well on their own. They have their wild friend Spike, and from game camera footage we know they have fawn friends, and they have already gotten the hoof-off by a couple of mother does. They’re eating well and traveling far. I haven’t had to help them along much at all. It will be a fun season to see if I might observe them in rut activity. I hope so!

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