Monday, March 9, 2015

Deer watching is a favorite pasttime

CHMusings: Deer eating grass
She looks to be enjoying her feast of emerging green grass. I just can't stop watching!
I remember the first time my husband John and I came to Arkansas on vacation. It was 1997. He knew then that this is where he wanted us to live. I came around a short time later and have never regretted our decision.

At the time, we had never heard of Bull Shoals Lake, Lake Norfork, or the Twin Lakes area. We never even considered moving far away from where we had spent our entire lives, until that one week in May when a friend of ours talked us into meeting him at a cabin on Bull Shoals Lake. Our lives changed forever that week.

Somebody recently asked what we did on vacation. Did we fish? Did we go boating? I said we drove around, just taking in the beauty and serenity of the area.

One moment that really stood out in our minds, and we have often laughed about it; we were traveling on some dirt road somewhere, when we came upon two deer standing in somebody's front yard. We parked our car and just watched them. We were awestruck. We couldn't believe how lucky people were to live in a place where deer just hang out in the front yard.

I have to admit, the first time a herd of deer came to our front yard, we relived that early amazement. There are lots of deer here and they visit often. It isn't uncommon to drop what we're doing and just gaze out the window at them. They are such beautiful animals.
CHMusings: Deer in the garden
Who us? they ask as they rummage through the perennial bed.

They can also be naughty. These two know, at right, are standing in what will soon be the perennial flower bed. I have lost vegetables, flowers, and trees every year from the deer feasting where they don't belong.

I get angry for the moment, but can't help but get over it easily. After all, they were here first. We are honored and humbled that these still wild animals let us share the forest with them.

CHMusings: Oh deer, a baby bump
Could that be a baby bump?
One of the biggest thrills for me came in the last two years, when the herd decided they could trust us. They spent time here, not just eating, but lying in the tall grasses, but bringing their fawns here to play.

Baby animals are something to be hold, but spindly-legged baby fawns in your own back yard are extra special. I call them deer puppies because they play like puppies.

Since it is springtime, it is entirely possible that this mama will bring her little ones before long. Deer tend to have their young in close proximity to where they were born. I know there were babies born in our woods in the past.

CHMusings: Deer grow up
Spots are still visible on one of these yearlings
There were two fawns we watched all summer. We even named them Bristol and Pistol. They often romped through the backyard close to their mother's watchful eye. It got to the point where we saw them almost every day.

Once the weather started getting colder, their characteristic baby spots became obscured by a thicker, more weather-appropriate fur. On this warm pre-spring day, I watched these two, at right. They look awfully familiar. Upon closer examination of this photo, I noticed the faint spots on one of them. I believe these yearlings are those same baby fawns we enjoyed all last year. I have such a fondness for them. So they eat a flower or two. I can always plant more.