Life on The Mountain

A Deer Story: Caught In The Act

So Brazen! Inside our dog yard! (Photo taken thru screen.)

She is so brazen.

She looked up at me, startled, but unafraid, when I came out onto our screened in porch yesterday morning.

There she was, standing inside our fenced-in dog yard, stems and leaves dangling from her mouth. She looked guilty, like a kid who got caught with their hand in the cookie jar.

We’ve lived here 11 years, and this is the first time this has happened.

I gazed back at her from less than 15 feet away. She has beautiful eyes, I thought, watching her watching me, as she casually chewed her mouthful of weeds.

I’ve known her, this one particular doe, since she was a striking little fawn. There are many deer, but both she and her mother are different.

Her mother is the grand matriarch of this section of Woods, the biggest doe I’ve ever seen (with the biggest ears to match), the leader of the rest of the “girls,” many of whom are her offspring. Now she is the “old doe,” slowing down with age, and instead of twins, having single fawns.

But this daughter of hers looks ready to take her mother’s place. She was clearly different from the beginning, her coat several shades lighter than that of her twin brother and the rest of the deer. It still is, and in Winter, it is the palest silver-gray. Now she is two years old, and has twin fawns of her own.

She has always been brazen, this one.

Once, I started the car up, in the evening, flipped on the headlights, and there she was, standing right in front of the car. I waited for her to move, as her companions had.

But instead, she looked at me, and stamped her hoof imperiously, before ever so slowly turning around. Her tail went up, and the headlights lit it up. I watched as the hairs spread out; it reminded me somehow of a peacock’s tail. I didn’t know they could do that – control the spread of the white hairs, and she spread them like a fan for me to see. It was beautiful, the hairs shimmering, crystalline white, in the light.

This doe reminds me of a goat I used to have, named Molly, who was just that color. She has as much personality as a goat, that much is for certain, and in case you’ve never had goats, well, they have nearly as much personality & intelligence as a dog.

As I gazed at the doe in my dog yard, my newly awakened brain surveyed the fence running around it. That fence would hold a goat, I thought, unless it climbed over it. I began pondering how she was going to get out of there – and how she got in.

I needn’t have worried.

When she finished chewing her mouthful, staring at me the whole time, but with her body calm, her white tail relaxed, she nonchalantly ambled over to the fence, nibbling as she went. With one graceful leap, from a standstill, she was over the 42″ high fence, and began nibbling away on the other side.

So graceful. So beautiful. So easy.

She continued her grazing around the outside of the dog yard, and I watched her a long time.

Suddenly she alerted, her eyes staring intently off into the Woods on the other side of the house. If I didn’t bother her, and Kodi’s careful surveillance of her didn’t bother her, then what did?

I walked across the deck to see, and standing in a very green patch, lit by the sun, was a beautiful big stag, with a gleaming rusty red coat, and a heavy rack on his head. The bucks are banding together now, and he had several with him, of all ages.

I regretted I hadn’t had my phone, and therefor my camera, with me, to get a picture of the doe in the dog yard, and the beautiful bucks.

But I shouldn’t have worried about that, either.

Grazing Outside the Jungle… err… Dog Yard…

The brazen girl came back in the afternoon, saw me on the porch swinging in my hammock chair, and, looking me in the eye, jumped the fence again, in a different place. She almost, just almost, looked like a teenager, daring me to tell her she couldn’t be in there.

She didn’t like having her picture taken, though, and was further away from the house than she’d been earlier. But it was nice of her to let me get one decent shot, the one at top.

I love the deer, especially this brazen girl, who has walked so frequently through our “yard” with her fawns in tow.

I love these Woods, and I love these mountains, the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

My heart has always called them home.

6 thoughts on “A Deer Story: Caught In The Act”

  1. Beautiful, Ash. Someday I would like to see the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. As for the deer, we have many around here and other people complain about them. I delight in them, every single time I see one, I don’t care too much if they eat flowers and shrubbery. They have every right to be here and they are so graceful. I’m glad Brazen Girl has you as a friend. She’s lucky, as am I. Laurie

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    1. Thank you, sweetie. People have sometimes asked me how I could even LIKE the deer, much less LOVE them, when I am a chronic Lymie. But the deer are only one “vector,” and the ticks live in mice & rodents first. It is certainly not their fault they carry them.
      The deer were here before people, and I admire how they’ve adapted to our encroachment into their territory. They also remind me so of the goats I used to have and love, so I enjoy them from that standpoint, too. Watching her fawns nurse, they act just baby goats, and that was a treat!
      But mostly I just think they are very beautiful, and quite good neighbors. No loud parties or anything like that. 😉
      *gentle hugs*

      Ash

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  2. Ash that spreading of the tail is a signal to other deer that there is potential danger .The stomping of the foot is to make the thing that concerns them to move so they can sort of identify it.I also have a doe the stands right in front of me and stomps her foot and also snorts at me. I will post a pic of her .Isnt God’s work wonderful:).

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  3. Oh what a lovely tale. I love Deer too. And, just found another deer tick after going back to the Paw Paw tree the other day and got captured by the Hackberry butterfly. Today I did it again! There are so many butterflies under the Paw Paw tree, and I forget. When I go to Horticulture Therapy (today was the first time in several weeks that we’ve gone) I forget everything Ash, including ever being sick. I need to carry a sign that says ‘Michelle, don’t overdo it!” I didn’t get any photos under the tree today, but got four nice ripe Paw Paw.

    We haven’t seen many deer this year. Nothing like usual. And you are right, there are other vectors. I think only a very small percentage of ticks carry RMSF, but am not sure about Lyme’s disease. The HT therapist was diagnosed with it a week ago. Another woman in the class said she had it five times, but she named places on her body where she had it. How odd I thought. Isn’t it all over your body if it becomes chronic? Showing up of course in different areas.

    It’s been rainy here, and I am home with Neil after HT. He planted white radish seeds and a different kind of Kale. It’s also white they say. So we’ll see a white garden.

    I’ve been thinking of you and those mountains. Thank you so much for calling Ash. I’ll email or FB you or call soon okay.

    I love the photos!!! Gorgeous. I think I feel similar closeness to that little Anole I saw just after it was born. It came back to visit the other day. All grown up and all. Neil came inside to tell me it was on the porch. He loves those little ones.

    I showed Neil some of your photos on your blog (not the gallery). He saw your photo and asked me how old you are, lol. You look about his age in your photo 🙂 “She’s my age” I told him. “Really!” he responded, surprised. arghh… 😉

    Wishing you good days, and your family too. I hope we talk again real soon! Also hope to see ‘your’ woods and the front porch view.

    Lots of Love,
    Michelle.

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    1. Your little anole was the cutest thing ever – what a treat just to see it through your pictures! And the flutterbyes sure do have a love for you, and I love all the beautiful pics you share.

      It is indeed odd what the woman said about Lyme. Maybe she just meant she’d found the ticks there? Hard to guess. But yes, if it’s chronic, it’s everywhere in your body, affecting some joints worse than others, and some people get more cardiac involvement or neurologic involvement than others. So, maybe for her, the Lyme affected certain joints worse than others, which does happen, and varies, person to person.

      I think even dog ticks can carry RMSF but would need to double check that. We talk all the time about Lyme, but there are many other tick borne infections, like Bartonella, Babesiosis, etc. And some can be spread thru other insects. I recently read that Bartonella has been discovered in horseflies, and many of my chronic Lymie friends were riders like myself, or spent time around horses, which has me wondering if it’s not chronic Bart we all have. They have discovered several new supspecies of Bart in just the last few years that they didn’t know could infect humans.

      Your son’s comment about my picture made me smile. I need to update that. It’s 2 years old, but mostly, it was sunset, and was just the most perfect lighting. I certainly don’t look so good right now, and my bangs, which had streaks of gray then, and are more gray with streaks of black now! And my hair’s gone all wavy on me.

      Many hugs and hopes to see you up here some day in the not too distant future! And of course, much Love!
      ~ash

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  4. Thanks for your reply Ash.

    Yes, the Butterflies sure do come visiting me. I love them. They are my escape, you know. And the new born Anole was amazing.

    The days are hard, and my heart is still heavy. Tonight I was invited to a Blue Moon party, but am not going. Stress is HIGH. My son is having the hardest time, and it isn’t easy being with him. I am not handling things well, but promise to write or call soon.

    Sending you Virtual hugs! xoxo
    Michelle.

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