I found myself restless and irritated at having to spend so much time indoors this winter. Last year’s weather allowed me to work outdoors all through the winter months. I managed to clear downed wood in the pecan orchard and I burned the debris for weeks on end. We entertained family who helped with cleanup in the woods, all of us in short-sleeved t-shirts working in the warm temperatures. The weather was nothing short of outstanding last winter. But this year had proven to be blustery and cold. The winds blew almost daily, preventing me from burning. And then by the time we had some gentle, warm, windless days, the drought had created such dry conditions that a burn ban was implemented over most of the state of Oklahoma. So instead of reveling in outdoor work, I put my energy into tasks and projects in the house. I painted a few rooms, and I deep-cleaned each area of the house. I did a lot of computer work – organizing files, catching up on correspondence, and researching all sorts of things. In a way, I was thankful for time to tackle these less desirable tasks, as I had put them off long enough.
Despite inclement weather, I still managed weekly trips to the orchard in the electric buggy, and hikes by foot to the nearby river. My findings were typical for the winter season. It is a difficult time of year for all living things, but this year I seemed to find more fallen birds and waterfowl than anything. There were other critters who had also perished, but revealing no telltale signs of why death occurred. I wondered about disease, starvation, or extreme cold.
But there were some remains I discovered that did reveal a story. The images below focus on deer parts that a neighbor to the north has been discarding along our fence line again this year. He harvests deer at another location during hunting season, and dumps the carcass near the fence where our property lines meet after he cleans and butchers them. It is no wonder we have a coyote problem here when the neighbor feeds them free food.
I have become hardened to what I see on many of these walks to the river, or the discards I find in the pecan orchard and beyond to the old river channel. I think of the wild orphans I have raised and released to the wild, knowing death could have befallen any of them. I also think about what they face in the wild, and how brutal life can be for them. But I remember too, the beautiful seasons of their lives, and being so fortunate to be a part of their early wild freedom – watching them forage for food and find shelter, roaming the surrounding area with them, and understanding their desire to explore and experience adventure, even when it can mean risk and danger.
© 2018 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…