Posts Tagged With: deer

Finding Our Groove This Spring

I don’t think I need to tell you that 2020 is one heck of an unusual year.  When we last shared our adventures with you it was mid March and we were in the midst of the country’s shutdown due to COVID-19.  We had just returned home from a week in Florida and two days in FDR State Park in Georgia.  

Plans changed for an upcoming family wedding (just immediate family with a fall celebration instead) and our big plans for an Alaska cruise with friends and family got cancelled.  Staying at home was the required and healthy thing to do, so the motorhome got a good cleaning, but but didn’t leave the driveway.  That also meant more crochet projects for Jackie, more glass sculptures for me and a new project of converting old VHS tapes to digital home movies.  Yeah, that’ll keep ya busy!

 

Plus, I had this new talent for homemade bread and pizza.  The problem with that was that everyone was baking at home and, well, you know the rest: flour and yeast shortages.  Fortunately, I was already deep into home baking mode, so I had the equipment and supplies on hand to keep rolling along.  And if you ever try sourdough baking, you know the stress of feeding and using excess sourdough.  It just keeps on growing!  So I have tried sourdough waffles, pancakes, biscuits, bagels, pizza dough, beer bread … with darn good success.  

     

      

   

In the Backyard

Our birdhouse was home to a Tufted titmouse family this year and I managed to catch one of the youngsters hop out of the box.  And we watched our usual herd of deer wander through the backyard, two does particularly heavy, and knew we were in for another birth or two.  Since they have been very protective in the past, involving incidents with our dogs, we kept a wary eye and finally saw the morning that a new youngster was born next door, wobbly legs and all.

 

Finally, some travel

It has been hard to book campsites, both for this year and next, given that so many are either closed due to coronavirus or still under repair, such as St. Andrews in Florida.  We tried to book Grayton Beach again for next spring with Judy and Craig (or any Florida campground), with no luck.  And we are pretty good at this, too.  So here we sit at home, like most of the country.

But, brother-in-law John is still working on his cabin in North Carolina (this is a no-hurry, one man, bucket list project) and was at the point of needing another helper, so we cautiously made plans to leave home and stay with him for a week.  Jackie thought it would be a good idea to try and book a night on the return trip in one of the Georgia State Parks, Moccasin Creek St. Park, so we made that reservation from the road.  Ok then, it felt good to be underway to somewhere.

Getting to Rutherfordton, more or less, in rural North Carolina was no problem and we set ourselves up in his backyard.  Nice grassy spot that let us connect water and electricity.  The weather was nice, so we ate outside and even tried out our new propane firepit (thanks to the idea from Judy and Craig).  We saw wild turkey in the farm fields and heard coyotes at night (and let me tell you, they were creepy yelps), but missed seeing the red fox that lives nearby.  John’s friend Elvie brought over some homemade pork egg rolls and sweet and sour sauce one night that made for a delicious treat.  Life was good and we were out of the house (and yes, we were wearing masks and washing hands as needed).

 

About that groove …

Over at the cabin, John explained what we were to get started on:  tongue and groove pine siding that he was using for his interior walls and the porch ceiling.  OK, no biggie, right?  Besides, John had already gotten some of it started.  We set up some boards for Jackie to stain – 12 and 16 footers for the porch, and John and I finished up the upper part of the stairway wall.  Not too bad, just way up on ladders and such.

 

But when it came to the overhead porch ceilings, it was a lot trickier.  Not all the boards wanted to slip into the grooves easily, so there was a bit of thumping, banging, cursing, and reaching – especially on the 16 footers.  Ping, ping, ping and we got some nails in.  Pushing, tapping, wedging and we got more boards in.  Ok, load up Jackie’s staining table again and stop for the day.  Next day, repeat.  Oh, and the jigsaw just kept seizing up at critical moments, so some creative means were used for some of the cuts needed for outlet boxes.  Maybe the sixth or seventh “jam” brought about a “@#$%&!” moment and the saw went flying out the door into the driveway.  Better order another one.

 

Rain was predicted and John wanted to pick up his hearth stone, a rather large slab of sandstone up in Marion before it got too bad, so we rode out to the quarry and they loaded up the stone.  Back at the cabin we hefted it out of the truck bed and inside to the hearth.  Not too shabby, but pretty darn heavy. 

From that day on (three days?) it rained pretty hard.  Didn’t slow our work on the “wonderful” tongue and groove, but there was some pretty good flooding going on.  We did our best to finish our project list, but didn’t quite get the porch ceiling done.

   

One last challenge

The night before we were to pull up and head out I had a nightmare that woke me up good.  I kept imagining our stabilizing jacks would sink into the ground and we wouldn’t be able to retract the slides (sides of the RV) because we were tilted.  I was also imagining that the soggy wet ground would make us slip on the grass and we would bog down in the mud instead of backing out of John’s yard.  So I jumped out of bed and pulled in the living room slide, waking up the dog, cat and Jackie, who all thought I was nuts.

As it happens, we were able to back out of our spot in the yard and onto John’s gravel driveway with no problem, BUT while making the K-turn to swing around … my nightmare came true.  Stuck in the mud.  Just barely got wood under the rear hydraulic jacks to lift us up and slip a board under one wheel, and John tried to pull with his pickup truck, but the board snapped and we sunk in deeper – no luck.  

 

We called a wrecker and Jack did a great job with a winch to pull us to safety (after nearly bogging down himself), and we then backed all the way out the driveway.  Not a fun way to start the day.  I was in no mood to spend the night at another campground, especially one with “creek” in the name, so we cancelled our reservation and just headed back home, leaving a trail of mud clods behind us.

And while we were gone?

Once back home we spilled out of the motorhome and unpacked.  Everything looked fine.  I pulled the memory card out of our backyard trail camera and was stunned to find a perfect video of our latest addition to the herd.  Our second fawn was caught on camera the day he/she was born and was caught looking adorable.  The youtube clip is precious and I am amazed that the youngster and mom hung out right in front of the camera.  Maybe they knew?  

Fawn’s First Day Video

So, even though we are pretty much staying home (although Georgia is trying to reopen), we have found some new adventures.  They might not be the cruises and family gatherings and celebrations we had planned – like everyone else – they still provide a sense of wonder – even the tongue and groove (I wonder why those boards won’t go together? thump, thump, curse).

The Adventure continues … (will we still be camping in Florida this fall?  Stay tuned)

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Mother’s Day for Critters

Sometimes there is more to a story than just a few pictures, so I moved my commentary from the “Happenings” page to a regular blog to tell the tale of a castaway…

Fawn 2016 3 Fawn 2016

Just a few days after Mother’s Day this year we found out we were deer parents once again.  We were sitting out on our deck finishing up our morning coffee when twin fawns were spotted all wobbly-legged in the backyard ivy the very morning they were born.  This is the fourth year that we have had new fawns born in the backyard (or the yards of our uphill or downhill neighbors).  Mom had been hanging pretty close by (seriously, edge-of-the-deck close) – to the frustration of Benji, who now keeps his distance.  You may recall two years ago he was pretty badly damaged by a doe who stomped him and flipped him while we watched and yelled. We really can’t figure which of the several deer who frequent the backyard had these twins, the original mom or one of the daughters, but you have to admit the youngsters are cute.

Fawn 2016 7

Only a few days later we had a pretty awesome thunderstorm, with cold rain pelting the ground and thunder booming all around.  It turned quite cool the next few days, which was the start of our Len Foote Hike Inn anniversary trek.  We came back home from that adventure and wondered about the backyard “zoo.”  So far as we could tell, there was nothing moving next door, so we assumed the twins had gone off with their mother.  We were busy getting the deck and backyard ready for our Retirement+1 Party anyway, so we were thinking about mosquitoes more than deer.  But, the morning after the party we noticed that we had a single fawn in our backyard.  The fawn got to enjoy the music and fun during the whole party without anyone realizing.

Fawn 2016

We now have to keep the peace between mom and Benji when they are all in the yard together.  She stops by mid-morning and in the evening, silently walking through the yard to meet up with junior.  If Benji happens to be in the vicinity, she definitely makes a beeline for him.

In the second week after the twins were first born next door, we saw a doe walk through our yard, hop the fence and wander down to where she was greeted by the fawn – the one in the downhill yard.  Since he nursed alone and then scampered all around like a little rabbit, we assumed that he (or she) was the sole survivor.  The stormy night and cooler temperatures must have been too much for the sibling.  Our little backyard guy met up with his mom on other mornings when she would stop by to nurse and then leave him to hunker down in the ivy along the fence.  You see, we have a four foot wire fence that separates the yards.  It is no problem for the adult deer to hop over, but it keeps the little guys in place.

Our little castaway sits in the ivy all day, quietly waiting for mom to return.  When she does come into the yard he runs over to meet her and eagerly nurses.  We see both fawns, but we haven’t actually seen both does at the same time… hmmm.  Just as we are trying to puzzle out the situation over breakfast on the deck, the doe walks through the yard, hops the fence and is greeted by the downhill fawn.  Then they wander up to the fence line toward our castaway.  Everyone just meets up at the fence.  So mom and fawn #1 are on the downhill side and fawn #2 is on the uphill side in our yard. Mom jumps over and our little guy follows along and they hang out for a while.

You can view the fence line reunion video here:  https://youtu.be/8FxkvVopaj8

About now we are getting the feeling that these are the twins, somehow separated by fence. How that happened is a mystery, but suddenly mom jumps back to fawn #1 on the downhill side and then sprints across that yard and stops. Fawn #2 runs along the fence trying to jump it. Clearly mom told him to get a running start and go for it. Wasn’t working.

I went around front and opened the side gate to give the guy (or gal) a chance to join mom. Not working, as the little one was running along the fence with no success. So Doug ambled around the back yard to guide him toward the gate and herd him along. Panic sets in, he gets frantic and leaps at the fence repeatedly while mom watches nearby. She stomps, he stops and there is a moment when we all seem to be thinking “any ideas?”

I moved closer down the fence line, he keeps banging along the fence, but as he moves toward me I simply press him down and calmly lift him up and over the fence. Zaaap!  He sprints to the ivy and mom chases after. We think it is all a good family reunion now and the mystery of the twins solved.   The day after, our neighbors spotted them together in the yard, so all must be well.  Quite the tale of a castaway.

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Oh, and the wrens who nested in a box next to the deck have been very busy keeping four noisy kids fed.  What a Mother’s Day for critters it has been.

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Gosh these kids are always hungry!

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Fawns and Fitbits

Back home again and enjoying the deck!  However,  it seems we have interrupted the lives of our sometimes guests, the deer herd.  It’s almost laughable, since we had deer around us at St. Andrews and wandering through the campsite at Manatee Springs.  Now at home we had three roaming the yard, one young buck now in velvet, looking at us as the intruders. These must be last year’s fawns.

Backyard deer 2015 (1) 6x4

Oh, you’re back home?

(Horseshoes anyone?)

Mother doe checked in next door with the single fawn, now about a month old, and the twin fawns appeared on the other side, also greeted by mom and taken off for a stroll.  Will post some pictures soon for those of you who haven’t seen any deer lately.

Backyard deer 2015 (3) 10x4

The new twins beyond the fence.

Great news today!  My Fitbit arrived. I have to say that the company was very responsive and prompt once they got a copy of my receipt.  It was a simple process to replace the device without any loss in history.  Nicely done, Fitbit!   Not so nicely done was my request for an electronic receipt from Kohls from the road. Somehow they claim not to have a record of individual receipts other than at the local store. That was no help (Fitbit was purchased at Kohls).

It’s ok, back to counting steps, and no tan line on my wrist!

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