A Quiet Time

The early morning cool greeted me as I bumped along in the electric buggy, cruising down the path into the woodlands. Recent rains made for a muddy slide down the sloped pathway, as most of the soil in this area has a lot of clay in it, which really makes for slick travel, especially by foot. Deer are much better equipped to amble up and down the terrain here, with those handy hooves and long legs. This morning, I noted several small hoof prints on the path. Likely, it was the triplets and their mother who had traveled through. Maybe I would see them this morning, as they tended to browse just a short distance away in the willow area near the slough.

Since becoming a deer mother in 2011, when I took in and raised orphaned Daisy deer, I have come to “know” the local deer population in our area. I might have provided Daisy what she needed that first year of her life, but she took charge after that – introducing me to her world. Walking the woodlands with her changed my hurried and scheduled days, bringing about a calm I had never known. For years to come, I was allowed to tag along with Daisy, learning about the lives of deer, and observing her raise her own young. I also discovered other local does raising their fawns in the spring, and I noted bucks frequenting the area during the rut in the fall. Over the years, deer came and went. Some stayed a time, while others never returned.

FD took this photo. We suffered a drought in 2011 and I was often exhausted after working all day in the heat. Daisy did what deer do – she watched over her “herd” while I slept. My heart just melts every time I see this photo. Daisy was special. She changed my life.
Daisy and her first babies, born June 5, 2013, just across the fence in the neighbor’s woods.
The year 2016 brought us orphaned Emma and injured Ronnie. Ronnie was hit by a combine during wheat harvest. We had him stitched up by the local veterinarian and, thanks to cleansing licks from big sister Emma, his wounds healed nicely.

This year, I was away a lot, traveling to visit family in Nebraska and taking that wonderful trip to Germany. And I have stayed busy entertaining more family and friends since my return. But as I tootled along in the buggy this morning, I felt a familiar tug of emptiness. It hit me this summer, as I worked in the orchard clearing new paths along the slough, that I have not seen Daisy since she took off in late August 2016 after losing her last fawn of the season to predators. That was the same month we purchased the pecan orchard. And then there was Emma and Ronnie. I had not seen either of them since the rut last year. Emma promptly ran off in late October and Ronnie followed suit just a few days later in November. I missed my orchard companions, and I found myself looking for them everywhere I went.

With my travel this year, I missed out on most of the spring deer activity in the woodlands. But thanks to game cameras, we managed to observe two does raising fawns. One had a set of twins and the other produced triplets. A month after birth, the mothers bring their offspring out more, showing them the area while they learn to find good eats and practice survival skills. I do not see the twins so much lately, since they were a few weeks older than the triplets. I feel with a water shortage in the slough and the old river channel, they have probably moved on west, closer to the main river channel. But the triplets are seen almost daily. I have no idea who the mother is, but sometimes wonder if it might be Spirit, Daisy’s first doe fawn. I would have no way of recognizing her anymore. And, these young doe mothers could be Scarlet’s offspring as well. Scarlet still shows up occasionally with her two yearling does from last year. She did not have fawns this year, which makes me wonder if she’s old enough that she won’t have babies anymore. There have also been a few young bucks in velvet visit the feeding station during the night. Soon they will  be shedding the soft velvet from the exterior of their antlers.

Daisy had twins every year. Most did not live due to coyote predation in the area.
Daisy and her twins from 2016. That was the year we raised Emma and Ronnie, and Daisy made frequent visits. She often roamed around the deer pen, making “mama” grunting noises. I got the feeling she was not happy there were other deer in HER pen!

I photograph this year’s triplets often, but from quite a distance. I realize just how fortunate I’ve been over the years to know the deer in the area and have such fantastic opportunity to take great photographs. But I miss my stoic and fearless Daisy and Emma girls. I look at the wrecked shrubs and trees that Ronnie worked over while shedding the velvet from his antlers last fall, and I think how he could wreck everything again, and how it would delight me… because I miss my “kids”. I carry the camera everywhere I go, just in case they decide to return home one day.

This is the mother of the twins. She isn’t afraid of us but, like a good mother, she is wary and careful. I often wonder if she was raised around us and may be the offspring of Daisy or Scarlet deer.
The twins were frequently spotted in the overgrowth of weeds in the orchard. It makes me happy that letting the orchard go wild this year served a good purpose!
The grasses are quite tall now. A fawn bedded down would be well hidden in the orchard.
I found this triplet fawn separated from its siblings. There always seems to be one that is a little more adventurous than the others.

These two bedded down while their other sibling went poking around. They were not bothered by me as long as I maintained a good distance.
It is typical for deer to bed down facing opposite or different directions. I assume it is to keep good watch for predators.
One of the triplets mutual grooms its smaller sibling.
The triplets and their mother generally visit the feeding station between 7:00 and 8:00 most mornings. I see them in the shade of our woodlands some late mornings and often find them close to the old river channel in the evenings. Mama is never far away, though I seldom spot her with them. This is not a detailed shot, but the rumpled look on the coats of the fawns is from a “stick-tight” seed from the Biden plant . The orchard and old river channel area is covered in Biden plant, which has dried in the heat and the tiny flowers stick to everything. Deer and other mammals (and myself) carry the sticky seeds along, transplanting them as they’re brushed off.

Though I know the lives of Daisy, Emma, and Ronnie are as they should be – free and wild – I often wonder where they are. This area of the state is heavily wooded, and the river that runs nearby winds for miles, thick with vegetation and cover. I can’t help but wonder though, whenever we see a short, stout doe on the game camera with a nick in her left ear, that it might be Daisy making a visit. One recent night, I discovered a trio of adult deer – a doe and two young bucks – bedded down in the yard not far from the house, and I wondered if it might have been Emma, Ronnie, and Spike. Later, I saw the same trio in the orchard near the slough just before dark one evening, where they bedded down just yards from the buggy. I called Emma’s name, and even though none of them reacted to my voice, I knew it was silly to think they would come to me anymore. They have been running wild for almost a year now, and I know it is better this way. It is enough to for me to think that maybe they come back home to their old stomping grounds to visit every once in a while, and find the same quiet and tranquility that I do as I roam this little piece of land.

© 2018 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…

 


48 thoughts on “A Quiet Time

  1. So touching. I know exactly. I miss Friendly, our big handsome buck, and wonder where he is now. “Our” three does bring their fawns every evening for a drink from the troughs we keep out. One has been missing for a couple of days; that worries me. The heat and lack of rain has taken its toll around here. There is absolutely nothing for them to eat, so every night I give each one an apple. I guess their way of saying “thank you” is to show up and feel comfortable enough with me that they let their little ones come too. Loved the pictures!

    Like

    1. Hello, Ellen. It’s a very amazing thing to have a relationship with the deer. Like you, when I see a little one missing, I worry. It’s been hard over the years, during the rut (which is a time of confusion for fawns when their mothers take off for a few days – being chased) to watch fawns disappear. Even at six months of age it can happen. I never know if they take off looking for their mothers and maybe relocate to a bigger area, or if a predator takes advantage of their situation. I am always observing and learning. Some things are tough to see and understand, but it all has helped me be a better steward of the land and wildlife that lives here.

      Like

    1. Yes, Paulette, my photographs really make a wonderful timeline when I happen to forget the sequence of things. This blog has also helped me keep track of happenings and events. I’m usually very organized, but I have not done a very good job weeding through the not-so-good photographs. Somehow, it’s difficult to discard any photos of your kids!

      Thank you for your support over the years. Your dedication to writing and rescue is truly an inspiration to me!

      Like

    1. It’s not so different than your ability to know so many species of plant – there are little details that I remember about the deer individually. Scarlet has been here since we moved here. Some I only know by the coming and going at times of day or night. It also helps to be outdoors so much, where I happen to see most doe activity with their young. Even if the deer are wary and careful, they are curious and I find them watching me as well. Mostly though, Daisy paved the way for other deer to observe her and I together – not sure if it showed them I could be trusted, but it certainly helped me build a bond with the local herd.

      Like

    1. It feels good to be back! Yes, I miss my friends. But, it is also a gratifying feeling to know they are living adventurous lives somewhere probably not too far from here – maybe just a few miles.

      Like

  2. Lori, this is beautifully written as always and I keep wondering if you are in some way, preparing these posts as a book. I relish every word that you write and can imagine your movements through the woods. It has to be bittersweet for you to see all the deer that parade through your life. Every deer must conjure up memories of Daisy, Spirit, Emma, and Ronnie and all the rest. You and FD are quite fortunate to own the spot of heaven You have such as advantage of being able to witness all the various species of wildlife. Feather and fur- it is all there to love, witness, promote, protect and, enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a beautiful comment, Yvonne. For now, I write when I can. I hope there will be a book someday, but it’s so hard to focus on just that when I have so many things going on. Life takes us all sorts of places, and I’m going with the flow right now. I think in the past I’ve stressed too much about getting a book going, and for some reason I get overwhelmed. It will happen… I feel it.

      I hope you are feeling better and managing in this heat. I wonder if autumn isn’t too far off with these strange August rains all of a sudden. Take care of yourself!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. So beautiful. Amazing pictures. I too put out trail cams and try to follow the local deer. I use my 4 wheeler to travel between cams and shut it off when I see any deer. They have become accustomed to my presence and just the other evening a one-year old buck approached my turned off wheeler and got only ten feet away as I was snapping away with my camera. He has markings that led me to believe that he was the four month old fawn last year that did the same thing! Nature is just so beautiful.

    Like

    1. Hello Wendy. Just taking the time to observe and being respectful of sharing space allows us to experience so much of nature. Game cameras really help us understand the comings and goings of the deer (and other wildlife too!). For us, we now understand why we’re not seeing many mammals at all this year – the wild hogs have returned to this area. That poses a bit of a concern, since we have noted lots of hog hoof prints in the slough and old river channel areas. I even heard that a neighbor down the street found a couple of them in his backyard one night!

      It’s also interesting to note the habits of this buck you spoke of. I have found a few fawns/adults that are much more adventurous than others. Spike (who joined up with Emma and Ronnie last summer) is one of those. We see him on almost every game camera we have. He interacts with a lot of other deer, yet is not a bit afraid of us.

      Like

    1. Thank you, Ardys. Looking back on those early photos, my heart just melts. Those days were precious and I still can’t believe how a little fawn changed my life. I feel a bit of longing for my deer family these days, but I know there will be more adventure… more to experience.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. One life can change another’s–you’ve shown that. And it is likely that many lives are changed, if only in small ways, for readers of your work. I know that I for one feel a “quiet and tranquility. . . as I roam this little piece of land.” 🐛

        Like

    1. Thank you, Anne. I’m sure I have thousands of photos – and I’ve been terrible about culling some of the not-so-good photographs. Maybe I will get to cataloging and organizing them better someday. For now, I enjoy my time with the deer, observing and still learning about their lives and habits… and taking more photographs!

      Like

  4. Beautiful post, Sister!! I believe Daisy, Spirit, Emma & Ronnie do visit their old stomping grounds from time to time. Daisy really did change things for you, such a beautiful experience you’ve had with her, and with them all.

    Like

    1. Aw, you would know Sister! How many mornings did I have to drop a phone call from you when one of my “kids” showed up, or there was a photo moment going on and I had to dash out to capture the moment? Ha ha! You also know my heart… you understand my evolution with nature. Thank you for knowing me so well, and always encouraging.

      Like

    1. It’s a part of life, isn’t it? And in the beginning, taking these little orphans in, we know there will come a time to part ways and allow them their freedom. It’s difficult, this longing, but I try to be hopeful for just a glimpse – to know they’re alive and well.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Lori, I enjoyed reading your delightful post – a bit of a wander down memory lane with your deer charges. Perhaps next spring there will be more fawns who will need your care to reach adulthood.
    Given the overgrowth in the orchard provided plenty of cover for young fawns this season, I am wondering if you will leave parts of the orchard unmown next spring/summer.

    Like

    1. We will see what the winter months present, and whether we will be traveling next spring. I am sure I will manage some work picking up limbs in the orchard, but there is no way to tackle it all in one season! It’s been nice to let it go this year. It makes me feel good that it’s provided cover for this year’s fawns! Since the slough has mostly dried up, it allows me to work in the orchard on the other side – a place we can’t often reach because of the water barrier. So, I will concentrate on that for now.

      Like

  6. A nice stroll down memory lane. I miss them too! Makes me realize how long I’ve been following your blog. I believe I owe my thanks to Long Haired Country Boy for that good fortune. Thanks, FD! 😊

    Like

    1. Yes, it doesn’t seem that long ago that you were writing about life in the Yurt… and now, so many worldwide travels. I love the new look of Postmarks… when did you do that? And, I love your hair!!

      Like

  7. What a lovely story! Even I miss Daisy – it was she who “led” me to follow LSD in the first place! If only animals were human! I often wonder how they would be thinking – dogs, cats, deer, etc!!

    Like

Leave a Comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.