Tag Archive: deer

New Year Morning

Yesterday, the first day of 2012 dawned bright, clear and unusually warm. I really do prefer a little snow this time of year, if only to justify having a roaring fire at night to sit by. I was able to get out early for some photos. It was unexpectedly busy with lots of wildlife cruising around. Including this deer who looks like she is late for a meeting.

Then there is the rising dawn bathing a nearby hillside of trees with gorgeous golden light…

I heard geese honking and looking up saw one of the largest flocks on the wing I’ve seen in quite a while. They look like Snow Geese to me. The eastern light setting them aglow as they headed to a field or body of water somewhere.

Fascinating to watch how the flock ebbed and flowed, merging, splitting, but cohesive overall.

It was a great way to welcome in 2012, camera in hand, awestruck at the beauty around me and open to the possibilities of the coming year.

All the best of everything today and everyday…

Gazing out the window this morning I spotted two deer making their way through a neighbor’s yard. I wasn’t sure what deer clan they were part of. Generally I get to know the little groups that hang out around the house. But unless this is the remnants of the trio (Mom and two youngsters) that were around all summer I’ve no clue.

photo by amjwriter

The deer walked around the neighbor’s house, peered in a few windows and looked remarkably like they were casing the joint …watching them through binoculars I began to feel like a member of the local town watch. Finally they found what they had been looking for, a great spot protected by overhanging bushes and warmed by the sun. I’ve seen deer lying down in nearby yards before, though admittedly the first few times I was surprised and intrigued by how comfortable and safe they must feel here. No real dog threat to worry them, not at least on this side of the creek. Our dogs, I’m sure, annoy them no end, piling out the backdoor as they do, racing down the fence line, barking all the way. But they are not vicious dogs and are small enough that the deer seem to view them with amusement at times. At one point this summer there was a casual get together of a number of deer under the apple tree. One of the dogs was snugged up to the fence quietly watching them when a young fawn started over to her. We watched absolutely spellbound as the fawn hesitated, retreated and then approached again. This particular dog is very friendly and was quite likely to lick the fawn if it got close enough. In the meantime the matriarch of the group was keeping a vigilant eye on all this and was also aware of us sitting on the deck watching quietly. She apparently had our number as she paid us little mind. She  finally stepped in and intervened when the fawn got a little too close for her comfort. The group gathered round and moved up the hill. Cocktail hour was over.

Today, the two deer settled into their first-class accommodations for some quiet time. The smaller deer was curled up in a ball with head buried in its fur while the bigger one watched the surroundings for a while, ears pricked forward, listening…Gradually the ears eased back, the deer’s eyes relaxed to half-mast then closed. It was a beautiful and peaceful scene.

A short while later I glanced out the window to check on them and they were gone.

photo by amjwriter

The groundhog (Marmota monax) is a rodent of t...

Image via Wikipedia

Time for me to stop talking to the wild animals I encounter in and around my backyard. I’ve had a couple of weird encounters recently that have led me to believe that they are becoming entirely too comfortable with me.

There was the baby bunny who sat noshing on weeds just a few feet from me as I trimmed some bushes. I did talk to the bunny as I worked. I think I may have commented on the weather and what a nice bunny he is…you know, the usual. Every once in a while he would get a pensive look on his face and I thought that he was about to critique my pruning job. But no… We spent a few peaceful minutes in each other’s company as I worked, basking in the autumnal sunshine.

Then there was the groundhog. If you’ve read my previous posts you’ll know that this creature has created problems for us before, choosing, as he has, to make his home base under the shed. Of course that drives the dogs crazy. A few months ago we had a bad incident when they chased him and then got stuck under there. Frantically I tried to get them out. I was especially scared as it was a very hot day and I only heard one dog whimpering, then…silence. I couldn’t reach them and was pulling off sideboards and digging with all my might. My fear, aside from how hot it might be in the burrow, was that the groundhog was in there with them and there had been a terrible battle. I really thought I might have lost them. Thank God I was able to corral a neighbor to help out and he did a masterful job of breaking through the shed floor. The dogs were in there alone, dusty, scared and shell-shocked. But safe and unharmed.

So you can see why spotting a groundhog in the backyard was not a thrill for me. I left the dogs inside and approached it hoping to scare it out of the yard. He watched me get closer and I admit my steps slowed as I realized he wasn’t going to go easily.  A few yards from him he did finally make a run for it…actually more of a slow, ambling mosey. I followed him around the yard urging him to leave, wanting to see if he was headed back under the shed. I felt more than a little foolish as it was a very, very  slow pursuit on my part.  Finally he found a hole in the fence he could squeeze his considerable girth through. After a final frenzied look back at me he kind of just tumbled out of the yard. Unfortunately there is no doubt in my mind that he will be back.

 And then there is the deer family who hangs out next door. They are becoming just a little too familiar and jaded for    my liking. I don’t want them thinking humans are safe…I don’t want any of our wilder visitors to feel that way. On    the other hand I do tend to talk to the deer when I see them by the apple tree. Especially when there are fawns with    them.

Anyway, late one afternoon I was doing dishes when I spotted the parent deer in our backyard. As I slipped quietly  outside I realized that there were actually 4 deer in our yard and two fawns lying down in the next yard.

The fawns’  presence was what made this encounter take a  different  turn. Instead of running away as usual the parent deer  faced  me full on and stamped her foot. I was a little taken aback. Could she hurt me? She didn’t have any antlers but still if she ran over me or knocked me down…I wasn’t sure. I mean deer are  prey animals right? She should have been long gone before I even got close. But no, here she was stamping her foot at me again, for emphasis. I told her I meant no harm but  she wasn’t  buying it. I eventually backed down since I didn’t want any of the deer family to get hurt in a panicked rush for safety. Let me clarify, that would be their panicked rush, not mine. However, I did retreat back into the house  and was greeted at the door by the dogs who clearly though I was a wuss of the highest order. I thought about explaining to them, but nah…

I am still trying to figure out what direction to go in with this blog. What do I want to accomplish and how much do I want to share? I am very private and inclined to keep personal stuff off the Internet, though with all the interconnectivity of different software and social media it is getting harder and harder to put the brakes on. It simply astounds me how much people share about their lives and what they are doing RIGHT NOW. Paradoxically many people harbor the misguided conviction that their Webby travels will be viewed only by their intended audience and no-one else. When that proves not  the case they are outraged, naively so in my view. It’s like their common sense  has taken a back seat to the addictive rush of so many online activities.

Okay, taking a deep breath and it’s time for a picture I shot yesterday.

photo by amj

This image has nothing to do with anything except I like it.

And I like horses.

Starting this blog was a way to get me writing again. To superimpose some discipline so I write (or think about writing every day). Of course as far as I know no-one reads this so I have some freedom to play around, get to know the ropes of writing for and managing a blog.

It is also a forum for me to air thoughts, ideas, peeves and dilemmas. And to move me on down the road (the Muppets are singing in my brain as I write that) toward healing my broken heart. That is one topic I am not going to dwell on so never fear.

As I look over my posts I do see that my love of nature and all things wild predominate. It is the first thing I do in the pre-dawn as I sleepily pull on my boots to take the dogs out. I look outside and then venture forth. There is always something out there, from bats diving for those last few bugs to the deer sleeping in the next yard over to a fox by a neighbor’s shed stretching in the rays of the rising sun.

photo by amj

I get enormous pleasure from the wildlife both big and small that crosses my path throughout the day. Although they are sometimes a pain in the ass…the deer who eat my tomato plants, the groundhog that burrows under the shed, the baby bunny I watch for and worry over…they also make my heart soar with delight.

I am too much of a wuss to want to live in true wilderness though I would dearly love to hear a wild wolf howling (only if I am inside a substantial structure however) and see the Northern Lights (albeit wrapped in fleece and with a cup of hot tea in hand). There was a book called “Woodswoman” that impressed me mightily when I was younger. Perhaps I could be  “Backyardwoman.”

So where am I going with this? Damned if I know. Paraphrasing Bette Davis — Buckle up, it’s going to be one hell of a ride.

Cropped screenshot of Bette Davis from All Abo...

Image via Wikipedia


This evening I leashed the dogs and started to take them into the backyard when I spotted one of the neighborhood deer wandering around next door. This particular deer is usually alone and has a perpetually worried look about him. I imagine his inner dialog to sound a bit like Woody Allen (the earlier comedic genius version). So I thought I would give him a few minutes to feast on the neighbor’s apple tree without being disturbed by canines making rude comments.

I led the now protesting dogs (who had been awakened from their daylong naps and were cranky) through the house and opened the front door. A small bunny was sitting on the sidewalk chewing away on some foliage.

Right  there on the sidewalk, not ten feet from where I stood. For a brief moment I felt trapped by good intentions. Then I closed the door leaving the bunny in peace and pulled the now seriously pissed dogs through the garage and out onto the driveway — mercifully free of wildlife.