It has been a most quiet and and enjoyable summer here on Ten-Acre Ranch. Forrest worked from home most of the time, and our pace changed a bit because of that. I found myself outdoors even more, to keep the house quiet while he worked from his computer and laptop, and conducted meetings via the internet. My gardens flourished with ample rain over the summer, and continual mowing kept me busy. I worked to continue cleanup of the landscape at the rock house – clearing trees and shrubs, and eradicating weeds in the iris beds, in addition to maintaining our own flower beds and yard. I dried herbs and froze countless pints of roasted tomato sauce. And, of course, taking on three orphaned deer in May and June – the most we had ever rehabbed at one time – certainly presented us a new challenge.
I have read that the average number of spots on a fawn’s coat ranges from 272-342. And each spot ranges in size from 0.24 to 0.51 inches in diameter. It is interesting to think that someone actually counted and measured them, likely in some university or state wildlife biology study. And, much like our own fingerprints, spot patterns are unique to every fawn, and differ in the number of spots, their size, and how they are dispersed. What I find most interesting about a fawn’s coat, is that the dappling of white spots actually helps fawns blend into their surroundings. I cannot tell you the countless times I have entered the deer pen and not noticed the fawns at all, when they were just ahead in the grasses or scant brush, in plain sight. Even while on the move, they sometimes seem to just disappear. Camouflage in nature is a mysterious thing.
Of course, each fawn has a unique personality. Scout is independent, a strong runner, and fearless – except when she’s not. She reminds me of myself at times – which is likely why we share more of a bond with each other. Gracie is the nurturer of the trio, grooming the other two by cleaning their eyes and ears. She’s also the most interested in getting her milk and finishing off bottles that her sister’s didn’t finish. Gracie is playful. Ruthie is independent, and very much an all-around athlete. She’s a good forager and loves her fruit snacks. I call Forrest the “Mama-Daddy” of Gracie and Ruthie. Gracie actually moos around for him when he leaves the pen.
With autumn weather approaching and winter not far behind, the girl’s spots are disappearing and their winter coats are emerging underneath their tawny red hair of summer. I am a little anxious about the changes that fall and winter will bring for these three girls. Will they remain a tight group of sisters, or will natural dominance and hierarchy prevail, as we often observe in the wild? Will the large pen we have created for them be enough to keep them content until release in January? Whatever it is we learn and observe from these little does, we will carry with us and be better educated for the next orphans that present themselves in years to come. We will always be faced with challenges in this life but, for this summer’s experience, I am thankful that nature provided so many spots for us to enjoy during the pandemic.
© 2020 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…