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Posts Tagged ‘deer’

A walking path is never even. That was the thought in my head this afternoon when I headed out through the garage. The winds were coming at me from the northwest, cold and strong. First thing I wanted to do was collect one large bag of trash from the pole barn, there seems to be a never ending supply of junk in that barn.
As I opened up the barn I kept talking out loud to myself, I was hoping that the skunk who lives around the barn would scurry away when it heard me coming.

I consider it a good outing when nothing furry tries to chase me down:-)

After I had one bag stuffed and tied off I looked off towards the back path, or what use to be the back path. My tractor had stopped working this summer, as well as the gas mower. So parts of my lawn /field grass were ankle to waist high, making my walk an arduous excursion. I still had the narrow path that Uriah had carved. I decided to take a walk, before deep snow erased that path.

I stopped my non-stop, keep-away-animal chatter as I hit the lowest part of the path. I followed a line though the grass then turned to the left and walked on the incline, sidestepping a section riddle with burrows.

I made a mental note to bring with a small saw or heavy clippers next time, and cut the invading Bog Willows away from the old path.

I continued on towards the east invisible fence line. I turned towards the north and a wave of sadness hit. I kept walking.

I was in an area where, years before, I had been charged by a forty pound raccoon. At that time I had three dogs with me, they all saved my life.

I stopped and listened. Winds blasted over the oldest Bog Willows and rustled the tops of the four to five foot dried grass , then blew past me.

“ I think I need to walk a different path …” I said that out loud.

Instantaneously, a buck stood up, not more than forty feet from where I was standing.

I can’t speak for the buck,..for me, that moment moved in slow motion.

I stopped breathing and froze! I was hoping that he wouldn’t notice me standing in front of him wearing a bright orange jacket, I closed my eyes ..I really wished that would make me disappear!

A male deer’s mating, or rutting season is around November. Bucks are attitude with pointy antlers. And I found myself standing too close to one. If he charged at me he could use those antlers or stomp on me, yes they do that! Ouch!

When the buck rose up from where he had been resting, he slowly turned in my direction. I could see the wind slightly ruffling his fur as it blew towards me, lucky for me I was down wind. He snorted as he stood up and again as he faced me. He stomped the ground, and raised his head up and smelled the air.

At this point I was trying to become a turtle and shrink into my coat.

I didn’t breath! I didn’t move, that is supposed to work right? Or it that only for bears?

After a minute he turned and took a couple of steps away, snorting indignantly. Then with three effortless jumps, he disapeared in the trees. I got an impression he had springs for legs.

It took me a couple of minutes to relax and head back to the house.

Note to self… Tomorrows walk will be taken in the open, empty farm field next door.

oct pic. leaves have fallen off

Tall grass hidding deer

Male deer are called bucks, bulls, stags or harts. Female deer are called does, cows or hinds. Young deer are called fawns or calfs.~ http://www.veganpeace.com/animal_facts/Deer.htm

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This morning the snow was gone. Not totally! There are still patches sitting in the shadows, under a bush or tree, and along the shaded area on the deck. For the most part, the snow melted as the warmer air and sunshine moved in.

Barely a breeze this morning, I stepped outside ready for my morning walk. I called to Uriah and headed along the path. Birds were fluttering from tree to tree, and screaming at my intrusion into their lives. How dare I!

This morning my walk was uneventful, or was it? Did I miss the rodents scurrying under the evergreens? Or the red-winged black birds flying over head then stopping to watch me as they perched on the highest point of the tallest tree..

I saw them all. A powdery blue sky, void of clouds, crowned above me as the beautiful green scent of spring drifted along my walking path. I was very relaxed and at peace with the day.

Uriah ran up to me, wagged his tail and ran to the tree line. He gave me a backwards glance and disappeared. I wasn’t concerned until I was back at the house, then I wondered where he was. I whistled! I called out! I walked next to the Bog Willows and tried to peek inside. I couldn’t find Uriah anywhere. I headed towards the barn and kept walking towards the north until I hit the empty field. Carefully maneuvering myself over the thick brown, flatten grass; I glanced to the east taking in the rolling waves of black dirt, empty of movement. I had thought, just maybe, Uriah was taking a stroll in the field looking for something repugnant to roll in. He wasn’t there…

I walked back south, turned and headed once more to path towards the east. I walked to the far back.  Carefully I avoided holes and barbed wire and stared along the farmer’s air field, first towards the red barn, then to the grove of trees, south.  

By this time anger was being replaced by fear. The farmer is known for shooting dogs.

I started to walk back towards the house.

 Suddenly, Uriah appeared, his tongue hanging out; tired he flopped at my feet and looked up as if he wanted me to give him a few minutes to recover from his run.

“Where did you go?”  I rubbed his face checking his fur for animal dung.

Uriah hung his head and stared at the ground.

With a heavy sigh, I started walking back to the house. A Blue Jay appeared and screamed at us. Uriah jumped up and walked along side me…

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Early Tuesday, afternoon I headed outside to get the mail. I stopped, about forty feet from the road. When I spotted some large, bird tracks that crossed the driveway, south to north.

I followed the tracks to the south, the way they came into my yard, and looked over the fence into my neighbor’s yard.  I couldn’t see where the tracks started from. But, I could see a large number of bird and small animal prints around the trees. I noticed only the large bird had separated from the rest, and walked a four toed pattern under the wooden fence.

I retraced my steps back to the driveway and hesitated. Should I just collect the mail and head back to the house?  No! This was bugging me, that bird could need help.  I decided to follow the bird’s claw prints across the front yard.

 Uriah came over and sniffed at the snow, then followed me.  

I found a couple of feathers. They were stuck in the snow a few feet north of the driveway.  Reddish mottled brown with a soft gray tuff closer to the tip, about two to three inches long, I slipped them into my coat pocket and kept following the tracks in the snow.  They guided me across the front of yard.   That bird had walked a zigzagging pattern, headed north, and kept to the harder packed snow.

I reached the property line on the north end. Slipped between the evergreens and stood on a sizable chunk of plowed up dirt, and stared across the field. Uriah stood next to me and waited.

 I took off my right glove and readjusted my hat.  The temperature was in the lower 30’s, without a wind. I wiggled toes, to check how frozen my feet were, they weren’t cold. And my fingers were still warm. I wasn’t cold at all!  This gave me a reason enough to move on with my quest.

I was thinking the bird might be a hawk and he was hurt. Why else would a bird take a walk?  He could have a broken wing!  Or he may have been clipped by a car driving by too fast!  I shook my head silently. No! If the bird had been hurt I would have seen a blood trail.

It might be a pheasant!  I usually see a few of them running in the snow, or startling me when Uriah flushes them from the tall grass.  Again, I shook my head; the tracks didn’t have lines formed from the birds trailing tail feathers. And this bird had four toes. I thought a Pheasant’s tracks usually showed only the front three toes.   

 I replaced my glove, and made sure my footing was steady. “Well, Uriah, should we head back to the house?  Or…Should we see what type of bird left those tracks?”

 I left it up to Uriah to decide what we did next.

I use my old ski poles as my walking sticks,  I grabbed them both in a way that said I was finished standing around. Then I looked towards my dog. 

Uriah sniffed the ground, glanced up at me and started to walk on ahead. Now he was following the tracks, and I followed him. 

I carefully stepped out on a wash of tiny black icebergs, small points of back earth, which stood out above the snow.

Tracks of coyotes, a fox, and raccoons crossed my trail heading off to the east and west. Tire treads cut through the snow from an off road vehicle, probably the neighbor who I saw on Sunday.  His tracks headed across the road into the farm field. The animal’s prints looked fresh, possible early this morning.  I thought, maybe they were chasing the bird. But no, the tracks crossed each other. I doubt they actually saw one another.

Curiosity had me moving on.   I was beginning to think I was following a drunken chicken

The bird had walked towards a couple of very old, gnarly Oak trees.  Scratched in the snow then turned towards the road, and walked in the ditch, until he headed out on the road.

I called Uriah back, and made him sit. I waited for two cars and a truck to pass by. Once it was clear, I allowed Uriah up and out of the ditch, so he could stand next to me on the blacktop.  I could see that something had been hit by a car recently. It laid still another twenty feet to the north on the opposite side of the road. The car that hit it, had been heading south.

I made sure there wasn’t any traffic in sight. Then, I told Uriah to sit and wait!   I approached the carcass. It was a rooster, a big roster. With a red Comb, or was it a male ring-necked pheasant? No, it looked like a rooster…

It had the shape of a fat chicken. Well sort of.  It was hit by a car!

I kept checking for cars, and took my eyes off Uriah for a second. In that time frame, he walked up to me and stared at the bird. 

I glanced both ways along the road, and then asked Uriah. “Okay, what do you think it is, chicken or pheasant?”

I rolled my eyes and shook my head at him as I checked the road.  Then I asked. “Okay, Uriah! What do you think it is, chicken or pheasant?”

I don’t think he cared.  But wanting  to get in on the game, he looked at the bird.  Then he looked back at me!  Then back at the bird! I could hear him loud and clear, “Can I take it?  Huh? Come on let me take it!” His eyes sparkled and he started prancing around.  His nails clicked loudly on the frozen blacktop.

I shook my head at him, “No! Let’s get out of the road.”

Uriah followed and only looked back once.

I saw a truck coming at us, really slow.  We had enough time to walk along the road. Then move off the road, in-between the Blue Spruce and the Austrian Pine, at the north end of the front yard.  

The truck turned out to be a farmer and his tractor; he was pulling a couple of swaying grain carts filled with corn. The farmer was very, very slowly making his way down the road. I waved at him. As I check the mail…

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Its mid-morning, pale baby blue sky, painted with wisps of white clouds, the air is no longer cold, just cool. On the path the grass is about three inches tall and it shimmered in the morning light. Drew drops were everywhere, glinting along the gnarled fence post, to slipping slowly off bare branches.

If I had to describe this morning with one word, it would be ‘peaceful.’

I watched a family of Blue Jays glide noiselessly through the trees to the North. When I was spotted, a single long whistle announced me as trouble. Very similar to the whistle I use to call for Uriah. I whistled back at the bird, smiled and moved on.

I snapped my fingers at Uriah, and we headed for the path. Uriah ran in circles and headed into up the incline to the south, the scent he caught was over powering to him. He had to find it! He didn’t… I could smell a faint a faint musky order it lingered over the damp ground. I knew the animal was no longer here. Finally, Uriah figured that out and came back to me; immediately he pushed off in the opposite direction when a new smell caught his attention.

 A Red-tailed Hawk screeched in the trees to the north. His call reverberated in the morning air. Blue Jays answered with their danger whistle and the Hawk screeched back at them.

Both are extremely beautiful birds. The bright blue of the  Jays and the intense pride of the hawk, for me, their voices carried the soul of the land.

That may sound corny. Yes! But standing here listening, takes me back to my grandmother’s house, and brought me peaceful feel to the day, to this moment.

Peace is more than a word, a thought, or a phrase. It is a way of living. In nature, animals come together to drink from the same pond without killing each other. Just for the sake of replenishing their thirst…?  Or, is it more than that?

Nature is calling out today! With the same whistles, growls, screeches and yelps as yesterday. A peaceful coexistence, caught in a split second where I can connect with the land.

Tomorrow may rage a storm so severe the trees could be ripped up from their roots. This moment of peace, this moment is all I have right now. I am enjoying it immensely.

I have been playing with acrostic poetry.

 Peace

Place yourself within nature

Embrace your creative arc

Actualize your personal Mecca

Confidence regained in solitude

Enliven a past friendship

 

 

 

Picture from

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red-tailed_hawk

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Rain has coated every blade of dried grass, bare tree limb, and still standing stalk of corn.

The color yesterday, was a faded beige, yellowish green and dark browns, today with all the dampness  the colors have changed into a deeper, darker browns, reddish and wet.

Without the over cast sky everything would be shimmering, at least until the sun dried them off.

I could see my breath, the air was nearly cold enough to snow, but just not there, yet.

When I breathed through my nose, I could smell, cool rain, dampness, and trees. I started huffing and puffing, breathing through my mouth and the scents changed. I could taste dried hay, grass, and mold mixed in with the cool, calm air.

Stillness formed around me, anticipation of the next second. I looked up to the sky. The clouds were pretty high, and smooth; those clouds, were there for their aesthetic appeal and to keep the ground air cool.

No! It wasn’t going to rain on me, at least not in the next half hour. The horizon was clear. Right now I could see a line of clouds, very slowly moving in this direction.

I had taken this afternoons walk with my lunch, a peanut butter sandwich. I was driving Uriah crazy; he stayed at my feet drooling. His dog biscuits weren’t appeasing him; he kept crying and wiggling around on the ground every time I stopped. I had a third of my sandwich left when I gave in to him.  

“Uriah, sit!”

Silly thing to tell him he was already seated. I should have told him to stop drooling. I knelt down and handed him the sandwich. He carefully took it out of my fingers and stood there. He didn’t eat it, just rolled his eyes around.

“Well, that’s yours now.”

I patted him on the head and stood up and he promptly turned back down the path and trotted away. He was either going to bury it, or give it away. I wasn’t going to follow him and find out.

At that moment, a small bird decided I was interrupting his day and started peeping at me, over and over. I tried to see where he was at,  but I had left my glasses on the shelf next to the coat rack. Great place for them…

I reached in my pocket. Notepad and pen was also  back at the house.

 After two minutes of yelling at me the little bird flew out of the leafless mulberry tree. Then down onto a corn husk, where he kept watching me, watching him, while he picked at the corn and looked very upset.

 He was nearly vertical on the corn husk. Long and narrow, with light soft grey under belly and a black streak from his head down his back to his tail.

Uriah started a deep throat barking, somewhere in the trees.

 I started to shiver, dampness and cold temperatures, I craved a hot coffee and my wool socks. It was time to go home.

 I turned back to the little bird, and said goodbye. Then I whistled for Uriah, who was racing around the trees and grass, growling and complaining. He more than likely gave away his sandwich and like a child wanted it back.

“Come on Uriah! Leave your friends out here.” I whistled again, and kept walking home.

 

 

With the aid of Google search, I pulled up different bird sites, as I tried to find that bird.

I got lost in, “The Cornell lab of Ornithology-All About Birds” site and forgot what I was doing.

The sound of the Violet-green Swallow was very similar to that small birds sound

 http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Violet-green_Swallow/id http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/search.aspx

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violet-green_Swallow

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This morning, around 8am, I took Uriah out for his morning walk. The air was still and cool. I could hear the muffled chatter of the birds. A dog complained somewhere. He could be miles away. Around here, with all the open spaces sound moves across miles of fields, over the roads, past cows and horses grazing silently in early mist to land at my feet. Curiosity will have me speculating  at each sounds origin.

Uriah ran ahead of me as I circled the back yard. I walked close to the trees to the north, near the old apple trees.

I felt someone, or something watching me. Peering intently into the nearly leafless bog willows I saw nothing. The dense summer foliage had changed over night, to naked branches weaved together in a haphazard maze.

Still, I felt something watching me. I tried to shrug it off and turned toward the house.

 I took a few steps forward. My right side towards the trees, that’s when, just out of the corner of my eye I spotted him, a buck, standing quietly, about one hundred feet from me inside the tree line.  He was the size of a large horse! 

I didn’t move. Yet, I could feel him. He wasn’t frightened, neither was I…

 I didn’t have time to react even if he charged. This is mating season, and crossing paths with a buck now can have direr effects.

 His ear moved. Then he turned his head slightly in my direction.

 I couldn’t differentiate between the tangle of trees and antlers on his head. He stood tall; his stance was similar to walking with a heavy crown on your head.  All this time I kept looking straight ahead. I could only see him in my peripheral vision, he bended into the trees when I tried to look directly at him.

Time moved slowly.   Finally, I noticed a slight breeze as it blew towards the deer explaining why I hadn’t caught his scent. Just as I was wondering if he was going to charge me, I saw his white tail flip; just slightly.  He slowly started walking east. I took the hint and headed to the house walking west.

That’s when I realized, Uriah had decided to go check him out. I really wasn’t in the mood for irritating a buck today, or any day.

 I whistled and Uriah did his bravado dance of scrapping at the grass with his hind legs. He squeezed out a couple of attempts at a growl. Then rolled his eyes, mouth open in a wide doggy grin he trotted over to me. His job is to keep the wildlife out of the backyard. He raised his eyebrows at me then he glanced around, as if to say, “No one here but us. I did my job, gimmee cookie!”

 I gave him a choice of a Milk Bone, or a Liver Snap. Being Uriah, he ended up with both.

I grabbed my coffee, and stood out on the deck. High pitch screams circled above me and I could hear branches breaking.  I love my morning coffee.

 

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