Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘deer

Vacation Disorientation

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It’s a bit dizzying to compound my vacation escape from routine by also burying myself in a memoir while simultaneously binge-watching a spy thriller 6-episode series. What day is it today? Where am I again? Who am I?

I’m certainly not at Wintervale anymore.

dscn5650eWe are up in the woods of northwest Wisconsin. Yesterday morning, as I was comfortably lingering in bed after waking up, I spotted a deer moving through the trees outside our window. Then there was another, moving slowly across my view, pawing and sniffing at the ground as they went.

As I watched, the first one suddenly laid down for a rest. A while later, more deer moved into view, and one by one, they curled up in the snow by the first deer. Eventually there were five of them, and they ended up spending most of the day there, despite a small bit of activity in and out of the front door of the cabin as the hours passed.

I like that our little nook is a spot they find to be comfortable for spending their day.

Meanwhile, I’m reading Robbie Robertson’s “Testimony” and finding my mind ensconced in the 1960s music scene that he describes. Between chapters, Cyndie’s parents have us watching the short series, “The Night Manager,” which involves lavish views of exotic places where thrilling intrigue is at play.

Of course, I submerge myself in the identity of each leading character, so by the end of the day, I have lost myself to being a mixed up compilation of people who are definitely not me.

It feels a little bit like being on vacation.

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Written by johnwhays

December 30, 2016 at 7:00 am

Days Happen

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dscn5459eDespite our lofty plans and petty concerns, time marches on. Days happen, one right after the other. The present moment unfurls and that quickly becomes history. Last night, I was struck by a reference in a PBS Frontline story to research done in the archives for information from 1977. Was that really that long ago?

I guess so.

Today I am struck anew by the amazing place where I now reside. As the year 2016 nears the twelfth month, we have become ever more normalized with our rolling hills and areas of hardwood forest. We have slowly developed new trails and arranged sections of fenced pasture. It is becoming a reflection of us and the animals now living here.

In the relatively short time we have been here, the neighborhood has changed noticeably. We are currently in the final weekend of the annual deer hunting season, an event that has quieted significantly compared to our first years on the property.

dscn5458eI’m not sure why there is less activity visible this year on the properties adjacent to us, but it’s been nice to have fewer sights and sounds to trigger Delilah into the fits of unnecessary outbursts she feels called to deliver. I wish I could attribute her good behavior to a continued maturation, but evidence hints otherwise.

It’s quite possible that her presence alone is a factor in relocating local hunters to more distant acres, although she isn’t chasing all the deer off. We still see them around with regularity. More likely, what has moved the hunters away is the combined activity of the horses and humans roving around here along with her on a daily basis.

Life is happening here everyday. And as soon as I chronicle it, the stories become archived in the “Previous Somethings.”

Time marches on.

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Written by johnwhays

November 26, 2016 at 10:29 am

Goal Achieved

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I was wearing a short-sleeve tee-shirt and mowing grass in the warm afternoon sunshine on November 1st. Whaaaaat?

It’s for real. Of course, I also then went inside and watched some baseball on television afterward. It’s like a summer with no end. Something tells me it might make winter’s inevitable arrival come on with an abrupt switch when it finally hits.img_ip1764e

So, my main motivation to get out on the lawn tractor was to test out my latest landscaping efforts and see how navigable the path around the southern fence lines is.

It worked! Not flawlessly, but it did work. I have wanted to accomplish this goal for a long time, so this was very satisfying.

There are two spots in particular where I needed to get off the tractor to lift it over a too-steep hazard where there are runoff trenches across the path. If I want to be able to drive across these, I’m going to need to modify them to create much more gradual sloping edges.

That can be done, but it’s not imperative that it happen right away. I’m kinda hoping our grass will stop growing and the snow season will arrive soon enough that I won’t need to be driving around there again until next spring.

img_ip1772eAfter I completed a return trip along that fence line, I turned the corner and was headed toward the labyrinth garden. There, I discovered two deer casually grazing the variety of growing treats within. They looked up at me with mild curiosity, surveying my approach. It surprised me a bit that they didn’t act alarmed or run off.

So I just kept rolling toward them, pulling out my phone to see if I could capture them in a picture to share with Cyndie.

They’re there, but the natural concealment of their coloring is very noticeable, because they are mostly not!

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Written by johnwhays

November 2, 2016 at 6:00 am

Autumn Ambiance

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dscn5204eI stepped outside to search for some fall scenery to photograph after I got home from work yesterday and was rewarded well beyond my expectations. It helps to never grow too accustomed to the beautiful surroundings we enjoy here.

It would be a shame to ever take this gorgeous place for granted.

The key factor yesterday was that it wasn’t raining. There was actually some blue sky visible. With a high pressure system moving in, we are hoping to for several dry days in a row. It is likely to deliver a dose of our best of autumn weather.

dscn5208eMany of our trails are developing a carpet of fallen leaves that provide a crunch when you walk. More importantly, they are filling the air with the unmistakable scent of the season. When I walk toward the pastures and pop out of the trees, the horses show signs of wondering what huge creature is making all that racket.

Just this huge creature, is all.

When I got down to our Rowcliffe Forest Garden Labyrinth, the sunlight was getting low. Cyndie had recently mowed and weeded the labyrinth, which gave it a well-tended glow anyway.

I walked to the far side and paused to stare at the beauty all around me. I was looking away from the entrance for the shortest of moments, and when I turned back around I was startled by the sudden silent presence of a lone young deer happily standing nearby.

It was as if it had magically materialized in the spot. I realized right away that it was totally unaware of me standing there. When it stepped through our fence and walked into the pasture to graze, I stealthily moved to a rock nearby and lifted my camera to capture the scene in video…

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Written by johnwhays

September 27, 2016 at 6:00 am

Deer Crossing

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Our latest positioning of the trail cam has proved successful in capturing some deer traffic on —or across— one of our pathways. Snapped ’em coming and going. Based on the hoof prints we have seen, it was obvious there are some youngsters hanging around. While this spot appears to be a crossing point, the little one had altered course toward the camera in the wee hours of the morning.

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Written by johnwhays

May 26, 2016 at 6:00 am

Not Much

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I moved the trail cam over the weekend and am not happy with the results. I wanted to try a more open area so there would be less branch clutter in the foreground of the view.

I chose the labyrinth garden.

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I’m not sure why, but the result was picture after picture with no discernible activity. Over a hundred in two days.

Birds, maybe?

There were surprisingly few images during darkness. However, we did get a tiny glimpse of one animal that was conspicuously absent from all the images captured when we had the camera stationed on the trail in the woods…

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Shy little bugger, she. That was all the further she moved into the field of view at 4:30 in the morning.

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Written by johnwhays

March 22, 2016 at 6:00 am

Deer Season

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It is quiet this morning, meaning, there have been few gunshots echoing around us. Yesterday was the opening day of the deer hunting season and shots were heard with regularity.

Even though the majority of land around us is cultivated for crops, there remain a fair amount of forested lanes and steep slopes where deer herds tend to travel. The farming neighbors who surround us on every side all don the blaze orange head-to-toe uniform and ply the hunt.

It’s a bit nerve-wracking.

IMG_iP0992eI don’t mind them thinning the herds. The other main predator of deer seems to be cars and trucks, as the sight of dead deer by the side of the road is a daily spectacle. I recall that there was one in the road ditch of this property years ago when we came to visit in the weeks after our purchase offer was accepted.

The previous owners told us that one doe came up to the house and gave birth to her fawns in the nook by the front door. We did see a pair of deer in our yard frequently that first year after we moved in. Not so much anymore.

I figure it is a combination of our getting Delilah and the horses. We did add a trail through our woods, which actually opened up a new path for deer, but we subsequently began using it regularly for walking the perimeter with Delilah. The deer traffic became less conspicuous.

I’m sure they are still passing through. We just don’t see them as often.

DSCN4120eThe neighbors must still see them. They found a lot of reasons to shoot yesterday. Across the road from us, as I was returning up our driveway from the mailbox with Delilah, the neighbor-hunter group shouted a greeting, waved, and showed me they were successful on opening day.

For us, it means the horses are edgy, the dog is on high alert, and the nearby woods are alive with scanning eyes and booming firesticks, sunup to sundown. It is a brief anomaly in the sedate ambiance that usually prevails.

It is deer hunting season, and the hunt is on.

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Written by johnwhays

November 22, 2015 at 10:55 am