Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘deer

How’s Everybody?

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Basically, we are all good, but there are some health concerns that continue to linger for some of the Wintervale crew. Time has not healed all wounds.

After the most recent hoof trimming, Cayenne’s showing a tiny bit of improvement. What we cling to there is that she is, at the very least, not worse. She still shows a fair amount of hesitation on her movements, but she doesn’t appear to be in extreme pain.

It’s possible she may have developed a habit of anticipating pain, and she still limps because that is what she has grown used to doing. It sometimes looks like she steps gingerly to protect herself, not because it hurts too much to walk normal.

Now, Delilah, on the other hand, is behaving quite the opposite. She keeps trying to act like she is fine, but continues to have moments of extreme pain. On Tuesday, we resorted to ordering x-rays of her spine and a more thorough blood analysis.

The results of her blood work are not in yet, but the x-ray showed a minor compression between discs 3 and 4. We were told there also appeared to be some abnormal marks or possible lesions on those vertebrae, which the vet is hoping the blood analysis will inform.

We have returned to restricting her movements to a bare minimum. Regardless, she continues to maintain a pretty happy attitude between moments of looking like she’d prefer to do nothing more than lay down and convalesce.

It’s been a long summer of rehabilitation for Cyndie’s shoulder, but it’s not over yet. She continues to have regular physical therapy appointments to improve range of motion. The good news after her most recent follow-up with the surgeon was that he deemed it unnecessary to put her under and break the scar tissue by force. The bad news was the alternative being extended PT with painful aggressive measures to do the same thing.

The therapist used the infamous “cupping therapy” to stretch the scarred tissue across the grain. Makes sense to us, despite a broad belief that cupping is pseudo-science and any benefits are from a placebo effect. Cyndie is growing tired of the pain from her exercises and the ongoing need to push her limits of stretching and rotation.

At the same time, she continues to find ways to function in her daily activities with only minor limitations.

The rest of us are enjoying a grace period of good health. The chickens will be seeing snow for the first time in their lives. Pequenita is happy to be an indoor cat. We brought the horses in out of the windy wet precipitation last night, but we’ll give them a short shift outside for some fresh air before letting them back into their stalls again tonight.

I avoided hitting any deer on my commutes this week. Yesterday morning, I was lucky to not be a part of a 10-car chain reaction crash,  –nor get caught in the significant backup of traffic behind it– when a vehicle hit a deer on I94, right at the bridge between Wisconsin and Minnesota. I had already passed that spot and was well on my way to work by then.

Everyday I don’t hit a deer in October and November is a successful day.

That’s my update on how everybody is doing today. We are thankful for all our good fortune.

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Written by johnwhays

October 27, 2017 at 6:00 am

Frequent Downpours

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I hope this isn’t an omen. This coming Friday and Saturday we have scheduled a custom event at Wintervale for close friends that is intended to serve as a warmup to the annual Tour of Minnesota bike and camping week in the middle of June. I didn’t mean it to become a conditioning exercise for nasty weather.

I don’t want the weather we are currently burdened with to be representative of what we can expect in a month’s time. The good news is that the last few days have provided several quiet moments of time when it is not raining, between the cataclysmic outbursts of over an inch-per-hour gully-washers festooned with spectacular flashes of lightning and heavy rumbling thunder that roll overhead in gargantuan waves.

The forecast for Saturday: ** Showers and possibly a thunderstorm. High near 56. East wind 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New rainfall amounts between a half and three-quarters of an inch possible. **

A temperature of 56° with 100% chance of precipitation is not the kind of weather in which I want to ride.

Our rain gauges are getting a good workout, needing to be frequently dumped of the inches accumulating by the hour. It’s crazy making.

Meanwhile, animals just seem to deal with it. Our horses usually choose to stand out in the rain, but occasionally they will stay under the overhang. I wonder if it might be that they are growing used to the roar from the metal roof.

The wild animals are usually hunkered down far from sight, but yesterday Cyndie came across this beautiful fawn curled up on the edge of our north trail.

She reported that Delilah had completely missed sensing the little one and walked right past, oblivious. The momma must have done an excellent job of cleaning the newborn to minimize any scent.

There was no sign of the mother, but she was probably nearby, observing.

When I got home from work, Cyndie took me out to see if the fawn was still there. She held back with Delilah as I moved ahead and scanned the trail. I kept asking her if we had reached the spot yet, because I wasn’t seeing anything. We figured it had probably moved on.

Just as I was about to head back, my eye caught a glimpse of the brown color. It had definitely moved, but not very far at all. The fawn had settled in a new spot, a little off the trail, so that it was better surrounded by the tall grass.

I reached out to snap a shot looking down from overhead and then we stepped away. We didn’t have much time to tend to the horses before the next deluge.

As the rain pounded down with dramatic intensity, I wondered about that fawn folded up in a tight little ball among the tall grass. I was hoping the momma had showed up and guided a route to the woods for better cover.

Or at the very least, higher ground.

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Written by johnwhays

May 18, 2017 at 6:00 am

Not Quite

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First of all, I have good news and bad news to report on Dezirea’s progress. The good news is that she is showing interest in eating and behaving much less depressed. The bad news is that she is showing very little, if any progress toward returning to normal manure production. She remains under close supervision, but we have decided on a path of minimal intervention for now.

I caught several frames of activity on the trail cam a couple of nights ago, but the best way I can describe what appeared in the series of images is, the camera captured Predator in invisible stealth mode. It was actually kinda creepy.

It doesn’t show up in a single image, but when a series of multiple images is toggled, the blur of translucent motion is detectable. One possibility is that a deer was moving too fast for the camera speed. I suspect deer because a minute later, the view picked up an extreme closeup of a fraction of the rear flank of what can only have been a deer passing directly in front of the camera.

There aren’t any other animals that size, except for maybe the Predator.

It’s not quite warm enough for the chickens to be given full access to their little courtyard, but in the days ahead, the forecast looks promising. The birds are showing great interest. Cyndie snapped a shot of two of them enjoying the view out their picture window.

Delilah seems even more anxious for them to come out than they are. Lately, there is nothing about her behavior that assures me she understands their protected status in the hierarchy of our domestic animals.

I’m pretty sure she is not quite there.

Just like Dezirea is not quite back to normal health.

We are standing by expectantly, sending love to all our critters for good health and mutual respect.

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Written by johnwhays

May 4, 2017 at 6:00 am

Safe Visitor

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The month of May arrives for the year 2017 and we are here to greet it with bells on. Well, with something on. I’m just not sure what.

On a bright side, ever since I moved the trail cam back for a wider view of the coop, the number of images captured revealing potential predators roaming around has been minimal.

Most recent, a captured image showed an appearance by a visitor we dearly love having around.

Seeing a deer wandering by seems like a message that there aren’t any scary beasts in the vicinity. How long do you think this will be the norm?

Meanwhile, this morning we reach 72 hours since Dezirea’s symptoms appeared. As of last night, she had not wavered very far either direction toward better or worse.

Cyndie and I spent a little time talking through the situation before turning in for bed. We want to remain open to whatever lesson this presents for us. We can only treat her through options within our means. Whether she recovers, or this becomes an end of life event, we must accept the outcome. We would like to achieve the peace that Dezirea is projecting.

We will continue to do everything possible to provide comfort to Dezirea while helping her get better if she can. She’s in charge of the rest..

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Written by johnwhays

May 1, 2017 at 6:00 am

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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