I was a bit sleepy-eyed yesterday as I walked towards the deer pen in the dim morning hours. There, I knew I would find Tukker on the other side of the gate, anxiously awaiting his bottle of warm formula. As I slipped through the gate, he began bopping my leg with his nose, hoping to get to his milk quickly. Amidst all this bumping and nudging, I was trying to balance the bottle and a paper plate of fruits and vegetables for him to nibble, all while setting up a lawn chair I keep at the barn. Somehow I managed to get myself settled in the chair and ended up sitting with Tukker for thirty minutes after he finished his bottle, watching the sun rise and the Mississippi Kites take their first flights of the day.
Tukker eventually finished off all the fruit and vegetable chunks I had prepared, and then sauntered off to graze on grasses and weeds that I let grow wild in the deer pen. He ate dead leaves from the branches of various trees I had cut and stacked in his pen. He nibbled on cat brier I had collected from the woodlands. And as usual, after he filled his belly, he scampered off tossing his head around and putting on quite a show of running and leaping. It was a delight to watch him. This was the reward for all of our hard work rebuilding and extending the deer pen. With the extra room, Tukker has a much better setup than any of the other fawns we have raised.
When Tukker finally tired and disappeared into his little brush pile to bed down for the morning, I moved onto the chicken barn to let the chickens out for the day. I could already hear quite a ruckus going on inside. With three age groups of poultry recently merged into one pen, there was still a lot of jostling around going on in efforts to establish a pecking order. Chickens can be quite entertaining, and I found myself getting sidetracked watching them every morning.
After observing their antics for a time, I suppose I spent another thirty minutes getting them all set up with water and food for the day. While doing so, my two favorite chicks, Irish and Lisa, followed me around chattering and peeping. They both let me hold them for a bit while petting their soft feathers. It was something special for me to experience this with Irish and Lisa, as every other chicken I have known, ran from me or pecked at me!
As I left the chicken pen and rounded the corner between the two barns, I saw a beautiful garter snake sunbathing on the brick walkway. But as I moved closer, I realized it was busy eating something. All I could see was something covered in blood in the grip of the snake’s jaws. However, it was apparent the snake had not yet unlatched its jaw to accommodate swallowing its victim, so I figured it was in the early stage of the kill. With this, I walked back into the metal barn to fetch a broom. After irritating the snake enough to get it to move from its victim, I still could not determine what the bloody mess was, but it was moving and still alive, trying to retreat into a crack behind the brick. I kept after the snake, who continued to lunge at the broom, and swept it away until it finally slithered towards the driveway. I hoped it found breakfast elsewhere, perhaps feasting on some bugs or vermin I did not care about. I put my broom away and walked back down the path to see about the victim.
As I approached the area of the attack, I found the victim hopping away from the scene – a small toad with blood on its head and dirt all over it’s body. Quickly, I scooped it up and walked to a sprinkler I had running on a nearby tree. The water washed away the dirt and blood. Even after rinsing, his head was still a bit reddish colored, which I suppose could have been from the initial attempt by the snake to suffocate it head first but, other than that, it appeared to be just fine. After the bath, we took a long walk back towards the house where I released the little toad in the front flowerbeds.
Somehow it felt right to come to the young toad’s rescue this morning. And as I watched the toad hop into the depths of the flower bed, I thought about how many times in my own life someone had come to my rescue when I needed it most…
© 2019 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…