Showing posts with label deer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label deer. Show all posts

Sunday, June 7, 2020

I love watching the deer in my own backyard

Watching the resident deer population has been a joy for me since the first moment my husband John and I visited Arkansas back in 1997 while on vacation.

I remember our first encounters with these beautiful animals.

We were staying at a resort on Bull Shoals’ Lake. We had just finished our dinner and were sitting on the patio adjacent to our cabin enjoying the solitude.

It was dusk. Sounds in the woods behind the cabin caught our attention as it displaced the sound of quiet we had been enjoying. I admit we were a little startled since we couldn’t see anything. But we knew something was out there. We focused on where the sounds came from and glimpsed what looked like a parade of deer moving slowly from left to right amid the dense foliage. We could see a dozen or more as they stopped to graze now and then.

We lived in a small farming town and had often times seen a deer run through the fields, but nothing like this.

It turns out that trip was live-changing. When we came here for the first time, John took one look at the lakes, the rivers, the wildflowers that lined the roadways, and incredible tree-lined hills, he declared that he wanted to move here when he retired.

We had come back several times before finally moving here eight years later just as we had planned.

I remember that on one of those early trips, we were just driving aimlessly down a country road when we saw a small herd of deer. They were in somebody’s front yard, just grazing on the grass. The view was the most natural thing in the world, yet we had never seen anything like it. We stopped to watch. It was mesmerizing. We couldn’t imagine how wonderful it would be to have such visitors at your own house.

Now that we live here, we see deer all the time and it is wonderful, most of the time. In fact, sometimes I see too many of them eating my flowers or bushes. That is not so wonderful. But, I still love watching them.

One day last year, I saw a doe out of my office window. She was walking on three legs. As I looked closer, I could see that her left rear leg was injured badly. She held it up as she walked, unable to put any weight on it. I looked closer to see that it was nearly severed. I had no idea what could have happened to her. Was it an animal that bit her or did she injure herself while leaping over a fence, or was she shot?

I immediately looked on the Internet to see if there was anything I could do for her. I read that generally, deer will take care of themselves; that trying to corral an injured deer could cause them to be spooked and they could injure themselves further. It broke my heart, but I let her be.

Throughout the rest of last winter and early in the Spring I caught a glimpse of Boo. Her gait was unmistakable. She was almost always alone, just grazing in the backyard all by herself.

I named her Boo Doe, after Boo, my deer 3-legged cat that had died the year before.

Yesterday, I saw Boo again. I was so glad to know that she was OK. As she passed by my window I could see that she was limping, but was able to put some of her weight on her leg. I watched her go into the woods. When she got to just beyond the trees, I could see her meet up with a tiny fawn that began trying to nurse. The fawn was obviously a newborn and wasn’t very steady on its feet. So Boo is a Mom.

This just made my day!

I’ve had many encounters deer and in fact with lots of wildlife, since that first day on vacation many years ago. I remain as much in awe of these beautiful animals now as I did then. It is one of the reasons I love living in Arkansas. I so enjoy the peace and quiet of natural surroundings. Every encounter with every animal, even if it is just observing them through a window, is wondrous to me.

I’m sad to say I didn’t get a good picture of Boo and her fawn; I shot through the window and screen with my camera phone, but I am sure I will do better in the near future. I’m sure they will be back soon and will pose for me like so many other generations of deer I’ve enjoyed over the years.

Ever since those first encounters many years ago, I’ve enjoyed watching these magnificent animals. I never tire of gazing out into the woods. You just never know what you might see there. And every now and then, something in nature will just make your day.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Sharing my backyard with wildlife

I find it satisfying when area wildlife is comfortable enough to spend time in my presence, relaxing as they forage.

When I looked out my window, where three fawns parked on the grass,  I had to do a double-take.

On this day, there was one doe, with four fawns. I'm still confused as to just who parents all these deer babies. Is this the mother to all four, or are some 'adopted.' Or, are they 'cousins?' Other days, there are more does than fawns, or a doe and buck with little ones. Most times, there is just one doe and one fawn. As a human, I can't help but project my own understanding of family life onto these critters, though I'm sure it isn't even close. If I had some spare time, I would read about their behavior.

While I don't exactly understand them, perhaps one day, if I continue to observe them and their behavior, I will understand. But for now, this is just the best kind of entertainment.

I think fawns are just beautiful. I've taken hundreds of photos of them over the years.

I know some have been born very nearby, perhaps on our own property; much of it is wooded. I've heard that deer have their own fawns close to where they were born. That might explain the number of them.

It is impossible to tell them apart. I've tried to take note of their difference, to recognize their spots' patterns, but that hasn't seemed to work. I suspect I've seen generations of deer in the dozen years we've lived here, but there really is no proof of that. I just like to think it. In fact, I like to think they are all family members as well as a part of my own extended family. Looks like I need more time to observe their behavior. Now that is what I consider a good chore.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Just chillin'

yearling doe
Every now and then I catch a glimpse, out of the corner of my eye, of movement. The windows overlooking the backyard often reveal a herd of deer grazing in the grass still wet with dew. But on this day, there was a lone critter, a yearling doe. The seasons are changing—it is Fall now—so this little one will soon have her new coat. I didn’t realize until I uploaded pictures I took of her, that I noticed the spots along her back are faintly visible. It wasn’t long ago that she was a fawn, tagging along with her mother.

Oh how I delight at the sight of a new fawn in the neighborhood. This one was likely born nearby, which is why she comes back. I wonder if this was one of the fawns I’ve enjoyed watching run and play like a new puppy scampering through the yard. Or perhaps she is a second or even third generation of one of them.

Some of the other deer I’ve seen in the last few days have already grown their winter coats; it is a completely different dark gray color than the tan color they wear in the summer. One doe that came to visit recently was actually dappled with splotches of dark gray-brown on her light-colored coat. It was not a good look.

I am always delighted to see the critters that live among us. This year has been a particularly active year for wildlife siting. Along with the birds I feed regularly and the hummingbirds that come and go every year, we’ve seen families of skunks, raccoons, fox, squirrels, chipmunks, opossums, and even a stray armadillo to add to the menagerie. Of course there are always black snakes, lizards, and frogs, not to mention a very healthy population of insects and butterflies. And there are always animals we hear but don’t see, like the coyotes and a variety of owls whose unmistakable sounds fill the night.

I love living in the woods. There is a kind of peace that surrounds us. Living with nature is the best way to live. I know I’ve tried them all. I was born in the city. When I was little, our family moved to the suburbs. I spent the bulk of my growing up there. Then, as a young wife and mother, our family lived in a small farming town. But this—life in the woods surrounded by the animals that let us live among them—is my favorite place to be.

I love living among the animals. I can only imagine what it must have been like hundreds of years ago when so many more animals lived together on this earth. I am saddened to what has befallen them and what will come of the rest of them as an unchecked human population crowds out anything that isn’t of immediate benefit to man’s existence.

Personally, I consider the wildlife in these woods to be beneficial to my very existence. I admit that when a yearling doe comes out of the woods to munch on grass and clover in my backyard, I relish it. And when she is comfortable enough to lie down there, even knowing that I’m watching, I’m a little bit flattered. The whole experience just makes my day.

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.

Monday, January 27, 2014


I couldn't resist posting this picture. I call it Deerierres

I've seen deer in the backyard all the years we've lived here in the Arkansas Ozarks, 
but I've never seen an entire herd foraging like this backstage view of a line of chorus girls before.

I love living in the woods!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Fall 2013, a magical time in the Ozarks

Buck in the backyard
It isn't often that we see bucks in the backyard. I can count on one hand the number of them that we've seen in the 9 years we have lived here in the Ozarks.

I can't help but wonder, as I look at this fine fella, if I had seen him before, perhaps as a little spotted fawn obediently following his mom around the yard.

An imposing figure, this buck
Bucks certainly do grow up to have a different look than the does we've seen. And then there is their attitude. Clearly, they are more aggressive in their behavior. But then, it is rutting season after all.

This was actually the second buck we saw--two in one day--which probably indicates it was a busy day for the local deer population.

I can only wonder what took place in our woods earlier in the day. I just hope it results in some new little friends in the Spring. I dearly love watching the does with their fawns as they romp around the yard, grazing and playing. I like to call them deer puppies because they scamper just like pups. I suppose all baby animals do. I just don't have much experience with animals, other than household pets. Oh, I've seen all the television shows and of course been to the zoo, but I certainly never dreamed I would have a wild kingdom right in my own backyard. To me, this is magical.

As I look at this guy, I know my eyes see him so differently than others might. After all, I live in an area where hunting is an established way of life. Venison is a staple here in the Ozarks. I try not to think about that, but plenty of people eat venison on a regular basis. I can certainly understand hunting for food, but. I dislike hunting as a sport. Sorry, that's just me.

So, here's to Fall in the Ozarks, a truly beautiful time of the year. And this year, has been one of the most beautiful I can remember.
Young buck in the backyard
A much younger buck whose antlers are just starting to grow

Arkansas Ozarks

My Arkansas Ozarks

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Gardening can be a challenge

Springtime Azaleas 
One of my favorite summertime tasks is watering the gardens. That is a good thing, because it never seems to rain at our house. I cringe when I hear news of flash flood warnings, 30 miles to the north or south of us. Here, nary a drop. This lack of rainfall is becoming habitual. We sure could use the rain.

While watering is my favorite chore, calling what I have 'gardens' may be a misnomer because since moving to the Ozarks, I have been completely garden-challenged. I used to pride myself on having a green thumb, but that was in Illinois, the land of perfect tilth in a rich, deep layer of topsoil. I really do miss Illinois dirt.

I have gardening successes now and then, such as my herb garden that is sporting a rosemary plant so healthy it may take over the entire back yard or the vinca that stands up to anything and grows and spreads wherever it can. I let it have its way, because it is alive, pretty, green, and has flowers. Besides, there are snakes living in it and I see no reason to disrupt their happy home. I can also grow hot peppers extremely well, which is one of my favorite things to grow and to eat. However, high achievement generally is not the norm. When I set out my first plants with all the hope and expectation of a new, novice Ozarks homeowner, I never counted on the animals that live in the woods eating everything I put into the ground or the extremely hot conditions that turn healthy plants into crispy critters, or the nitrogen-starvation in the soil that prevents anything other than trees to grow in my woodland landscape.

Still, I try. I will conquer this gardening thing!

I thought I solved my tomato gardening escapades when my husband built a lovely raised bed garden for me. Last year, I actually ate tomatoes, albeit not as many as I had hoped. Tomatoes will generally grow anywhere, except at my house.

The current condition of the many different heirloom varieties I've planted are now just sticks. Something is eating them, although I have no idea what. I can't find a single tomato hornworm, and I have checked at various times of the day. Thankfully I have tomatoes planted all over the place in pots on the deck, the patio, on the stairs--places the deer haven't gone yet. I refuse to be tomato-free this year. Whatever is eating the leaves is very curious. There are little drills in the dirt that look like ant hills, but with a large shallow hole the size of a marble in the center. I have no idea who is making those. I don't even know if they are coming from the surface and escaping under ground or if they are living under ground and coming up.

Flowers don't do much better at my house. My husband and I just spent some quality time moving landscaping bricks from the backyard herb garden. He recently enlarged it, to accommodate the rosemary. He used landscape timbers. Our aim was to build a small retaining wall, since our front yard is heavily sloped. We have tried various plants, but so far, the only thing that grows are lilies, daffodils, and irises. But there is another problem. The deer help themselves to every flower they see. They have even walked on the front sidewalk and onto the porch to grab something.

flower gardin in the making
A flower garden in the making
comfortable doe
Deer just make themselves at home here. I'm flattered, but stop eating my flowers!
I just planted some cone flowers--native plants--thinking they will do well. I've tried amending the soil with bone meal to add phosphorous and blood meal to add nitrogen. The plants were actually showing signs of life. I watered carefully every day during the hot weather. I woke up one morning and the flower heads which were just about to show color, were gone along with most of the leaves. It is my rogue deer friend, Sarah. Not only does she drink from the bird bath, as state in a previous post but she helps herself to flowers too. She and her friends have eaten every living thing that I've put in the ground. We have sprayed all kinds of natural products that promise to repel deer and snakes and chiggers and ticks, apparently to no avail.

This is disheartening, but it is also a learning experience. I will not give in. I will grow beautiful flowers and vegetables if it kills me.
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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Ozarks adventures with Sarah the rogue deer

Ozark deer
Sarah, my rogue deer friend

The weather has warmed up significantly here in the Ozarks, after a long string of spectacular summer days. In fact, it is now downright hot outside, just like summer. So, my most important chore, aside from watering the plants is to fill the bird baths. We have three of them in the front yard, strategically placed so the birds can partake whenever they like. 

This morning, after I finished filling them, just as I turned to rehang the hose on its holder, I noticed my rogue deer friend, named Sarah after another creature that liked to call herself a rogue, watching me intently. I consider her a rogue because she seems totally fearless and is always by herself. She has even made her way onto the front porch to nibble on my plants. 

This morning, she kept eyeing me, almost as if to ask my permission to drink from the bird bath I had just filled. I began talking to her, of course telling her it was alright. While she is very bold when there is no one around, she was a little less so with my standing there gawking at her. She inched her way, always keeping her eyes peeled in my direction. Finally she made it all the way there and began to drink. She was thirsty alright, drinking all the water before running off into the woods. I filled it up again right away. This must be done several times during the day when it is this hot. Funny, I'm sure she'll be back.

I wish I'd had a camera handy, but alas, a photo of Sarah looking at me from a few days earlier will just have to do. 

It is this kind of encounter that keeps me pleased with our decision to move to the Ozarks. My husband and I absolutely love it here. Despite the challenge of trying to mix gardening and wildlife adventures, I couldn't be more pleased with the opportunity to be up close and personal with these beautiful animals. I love and respect all living things, except snakes. They have my respect; love, not so much. The deer though, are my absolute favorites.

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Who could be mad at a face like this?

Mama Doe
My friend the rogue deer who eats lilies and rose bushes

Despite all she and her friends have done to my gardens, my flowers, all living things I've tried so hard to nurture, I just can't be mad at her. The truth is I am in awe of her. She is beautiful. I like nothing more than to watch whenever I see deer in the yard. It isn't uncommon to simply stop what I'm doing and look out the window. On this day, this doe seemed to be posing, letting me walk out onto the front porch just yards away from her. It is like she brought her little one just to show off. There was no front foot stomping, no snorting, just a keen eye on my every move. That's OK.

At least that is my romantic version, as I'm still mesmerized by the sight of her. My heart is completely open to her as I watch her foraging in the front yard with her newborn fawn. In reality, she is probably trying to show the little one the ropes--to teach it how to sneak up onto the front porch and nibble on whatever looks green and tasty. Today, I shan't complain. I am awash in the essence of her. Never did I dream that I would live in the woods among the wildlife.

The following are more pictures of our encounter. 
Doe with her fawn
Mama doe nuzzles her baby. Is it me, or is that devotion on their faces?
Deer and her fawn
Like mother like baby, the two of them watch intently
Young fawn
What a beautiful animal!
Baby fawn
Baby animals are so sweet and innocent. I wish her a long and healthy life
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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Drought is taking its toll at our house

The Arkansas Ozarks remains the darkest red color on the map, which illustrates our exceptional drought. Moisture is about a foot less than where it should be at this time of year. That is frightening since we don't get all that much rain in the summertime anyway.

We have had to water to keep things going. I've managed to save  tomato and pepper plants; they continue to produce, for which I'm very grateful. I've planted some new seeds for a fall crop of beans, cucumbers, cilantro, arugula, Swiss Chard, lettuce, radishes, and some other things. They are starting to sprout now, so watering remains essential.

The understory of the woods is coming back, due to a recent quarter-inch of rainfall. It is amazing what that small amount of rain can do to help what some people call weeds. To me, the only "weed" we have is the Bermuda grass that invades everything and is nearly impossible to pull out of where it doesn't belong.

Everything else, to me, is a wildflower or wild vine--but that's just me.

The local deer population has made it a habit to feed wherever they can during this dry spell. Here, a doe drinks from our rain barrel. It sits next to a garden where she has helped herself all summer. 

Watering the flowers was a mixed bag. I worked hard to keep my flowers alive, but they represented the only greenery around. So, I could hardly be upset Mama Deer eating them when that was the only food she could find. The result is that I have no flowers left, but the deer are happy.

The same is true for these cute little fawn siblings. They actually make a daily trek to our front porch-literally onto the front porch to do their grocery shopping. 

I am starting to wonder if they want to come inside to watch a little TV or play a board game with our cats. 

Even though the weather is improving a little, meaning it isn't over 100º anymore, it remains very hot and dry. We have had less than one inch of rain since last May with the most being a half inch. 

Hurricane Isaac is due to visit the Ozarks in a couple days, bringing us a valuable gift--lots or rain. We will be very grateful.

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Rain, rain, beautiful rain

This summer has been so oppressive; I've felt like a shut-in. Since moving to Arkansas, I've experienced hot, but this has been over-the-top hot. It has been deathly hot. Since the heat began in May, there have been only a handful of upper 90º days. The rest have been well over 100º. In the past 24-hours though, we have had a reprieve--a tiny respite from the dry, triple-digit heat. 
AR - Little Rock region
Rain is over for us now,
but more could be coming!!!
We have watched the radar with laser-like intensity, holding our breaths and feeling hopeful whenever any green color appeared anywhere in the vicinity of our state. For most of the summer, there has been no color on the map whatsoever. Meteorologists say we have been beneath a dome of high pressure that is too strong to allow any moisture to penetrate it. At times, a front would move through or the jet stream would cause a shift in the upper level atmosphere, allowing for rain to form. So often we watched it come oh, so close, but never make it to our house. I was starting to wonder if we didn't have some kind of anti-rain device installed on our roof. 

I suppose we should consider ourselves lucky in a way. Many of the areas that received rain this summer also had accompanying destructive winds. There was lots of damage because of strong storms. Nevertheless, it was disheartening as we watched clouds form and then come close only to disappear. I could look out the window one minute and even hear thunder, only to watch it all dissipate right before my eyes.

This was our last really good rain--April 16th!
All that green in this picture is now brown and dry!
I've experienced hot and humid summers, but never such dry heat. This is unlike anything I've ever felt. While the mornings and evenings were somewhat cool, the heat during the day was so extreme that it burned every living thing in the plant world. Even with watering, the excessive drought we have been experiencing has done little to keep precious plants alive. I am hoping they are just dormant and not dead. 

Then yesterday afternoon, the radar showed rain, one little line of what the weathermen called monsoonal rain that originated in the Pacific ocean. It traveled from the southwestern states in an arc up to Colorado and around, then back down--right to our house. The rain was very gentle, and at times was no more than a spitting from the heavens. But at other times, it was a good, steady downpour. Because of the day of cloud cover, the temperature cooled to a comfortable 79º. I was able to open a window,. Hearing the rain was therapy for a severe case of rain deprivation. It felt like Spring! I felt the same kind of jubilation after it started to rain as I feel during springtime, my favorite season of the year.

Almost as soon as the rain began, the tree frogs started to sing. The forest awoke for the first time in so long. A more jubilant melody came from the birds.

When I awoke this morning, I couldn't see out of the windows. With the air conditioning cooling the inside of the house and the hot humid air outside, the windows were completely opaque. I stepped outside and it was raining, ever so lightly. The air was thick with moisture. The rain has stopped for now, but the radar shows more moisture on the map. I hope it follows a similar course. We have been missed all summer and really could use it. We planted some small trees earlier this year. They have lost all their leaves, despite our keeping them watered, I fear they will not survive.

None of my flowers are alive, despite my keeping them watered too. The deer have had nothing to eat, so they have been attracted to the green succulent stems and leaves from my geraniums, hostas, coral bells, petunias, and others. Even those on our front porch have been discovered by mama deer and her fawns. We've seen them munching on flowers and drinking out of the bird baths that we have worked hard to keep full and cooled. I couldn't stop them. Poor dears had nothing else to eat. We've had to bring in all our bird feeders because during the night, the marauding beasts seemingly followed the deer path to our front door. They didn't just eat, they were destructive. I hope they are somewhat happier now and perhaps some of my plants will recover.

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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Brutal heat and extreme drought affects the Ozarks

So this is extreme drought, eh! Make it stop.

                                  This is my backyard, where lush green is transitioning into brown.                                             All growth has stopped as the trees struggle to survive.
Extreme drought is what they call the transition from a beautiful green landscape to one that is dying before my eyes. The redbuds that line the backyard in the spring seem to be the first ones to lose their leaves in these hot, dry conditions North-central Arkansas has experienced since mid-spring. I believe where I live, there has been just a half inch of rain since April. Rain has occurred in areas all around us, but we are at a little higher elevation. It must be drier up here. We also must be closer to the sun because the temperatures have also been higher here than elsewhere around us.

It isn't just the redbuds, but other trees are losing leaves as well. Some of them are visible in the distance. What is normally a palette of lush, green colors is being replaced by the dead look of drab brown.

Bushes and plants aren't faring much better. Pots of marigolds, zinnias, petunias, and newly-planted trees continue to wither despite daily watering. The joy I once felt from just sitting on the front porch overlooking all the growing things in the yard has been replaced by the need to stay indoors where it's cool.

The string of triple-digit temperatures combined with weeks and weeks of no rainfall is not just hard on us humans.

It is also hard on the flora and fauna.

Tufted Titmouse
This poor little bird is trying to cool off by keeping its mouth open.

We keep several bird baths full at all times in both the front and back yards, refreshing throughout the day, just for our feathered friends.
This guy is sitting on a pot of marigolds which doesn't look too great either. It has been very difficult to try to keep  flowers alive in this brutal heat, even though they are out of the full sun. Even the pots in the shade of the front porch or along the north side of the house are drying out.

A White-tail deer forages for food
I followed this deer recently. She was foraging in our front yard, getting dangerously close to a young Bradford Pear tree and a pair of lilac bushes. That is not acceptable, even though she thinks she can help herself to anything that grows. We don't always agree.

Moments before, she was right next to the front porch munching on my flowers. By the time I got the camera, she had ambled this other garden area.

It seems that all animal behavior is altered by the excessive heat and arid conditions. Squirrels are more frenzied than normal in their desire to eat as much bird food as they can grab. In the past two days they have destroyed two bird feeders. One feeder which they had been unable to pilfer for the past eight years, has finally been squirrelized. They dragged it up to the roof of the house where they promptly ignored the squirrel baffle and feasted on its contents. Then, they proceeded to throw it to the ground. Needless to say, we went bird feeder shopping. Same story, another day.

Ruby-throated hummingbird
The hummingbirds have continued their zeal for the sugar water we make for them when needed.

There don't seem to be as many hummingbirds as in past years, but the ones that are here remain hungry. This little guy perches atop what is left of a red geranium. I thought about trimming it,  but this little hummer has taken to sitting on that tiny stem, so I decided to leave things as they are for now.

At the moment this picture was taken, his mouth was closed. Often times, they too open their mouths to cool off. It is like panting, and helps to expel the warm air from their bodies. Birds will also fluff their feathers, allowing heat to dissipate. Poor little things have no means of sweating to keep them cool.

I see by the radar, that rain is in the area, even though it is a hit-or-miss proposition. I'm always hopeful!
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Saturday, September 24, 2011

So this is Autumn…

I don’t mind saying that the coming of Autumn is a relief after the blisteringly hot summer we have just experienced here in Arkansas.
Probably the best way to measure the summer of 2011 would be in my garden. Sad place…I’ve had some real challenges since moving to the natural state, from the Illinois bread basket of the nation, but this year was the worst.
Future tomatoesThis year’s challenge has been the deer that ate all the fruit and tops off my tomato plants. But even absent the hungry rogue deer, I can’t imagine that I would have seen many home grown veges.
But it isn’t over ‘til its over. As the growing season winds down, my tomato plants are flowering once again. Things are looking good in the garden.
Fall impatiens 2Flowers, severely pruned thanks to rogue deer family, are growing once again, and looking vibrant. The last rose of summer syndrome has taken over the garden once again. For me, that just translates into pure joy. 
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Sunday, September 5, 2010

Nature at the window

I love my life. Almost six years ago my husband and I packed up everything we owned, said goodbye to family and friends, and moved to parts unknown. That is a slight exaggeration because we had vacationed in Arkansas. But that was different. All those years ago, actually living here was the farthest thing from my mind.

But today, I realize there is no better place to be.

One afternoon I was walking past the window when I happened to glance outside. When I saw this three deer foraging on clover in the backyard, I couldn't resist just sitting for a while to take in the adorable scene. 

As I watched, little Bambi seemed to mimic everything her mother did.

I watched the three of them for half an hour or more. While mother and child were munching on vegetation, the other doe was eyeing the protector of our property, our cat Timi.

Timi was sitting in a chair and was slightly interested, though not enough to move from her comfortable perch not far from the activity. She did care enough, however, to give a quick wag of her tail. She seemed less interested than the doe who watched Timi intently. Much to the doe's disappointment, Timi finally tired of the whole routine. She stretched out onto her back where she appeared to be asleep, ignoring the would-be intruders. 

Timi was no stranger to the deer. One day I watched her parading another  small herd of them from the woods into the yard, as if to proudly proclaim, so this is where we live.  

But this was a different doe. She tried a characteristic snort, a little hoof-beating with her front foot, and even a swish or two of her own white tail. Nothing. Finally, when she couldn't get a rise out of Timi, she joined the other two, who by this time had scampered off into the woods. 

I will never tire of this kind of scene, and in my own backyard. It is a joy to watch the wildlife that let us share the woods with them. From the three baby raccoons who trailed behind their mother toward the bird feeder, to the road runner that eyed its own reflection in the glass of the front door, to the tarantulas that traverse the front yard, Mother Nature always provides something to see. And I don't want to miss a thing.