Today was pretty typical around the house…wake up, work, take a break repeat. The storm never materialized last night and the morning greeted us with overcast skies and a hyper saturated green canvas outside our windows. The combination of rain, a little sun, and a lot of humidity over the last week or two means the plants are all growing as if on steroids. For example the service berry plants are rebounding, now that I’ve fenced them off from the deer. Little velvety, light green, leaf-lets (my word) are sprouting all over their woody brown branches. The apple trees are sprouting leaves at an urgent pace as well, staying ahead of their blight. Weeds, clover and tall grass have all but taken over virtually the entire landscape, saturating it in every shade of green imaginable and dotting it with white and yellow flowering punctuation.
It doesn’t take much to conjure the Summers of our youth by simply stepping outside on a dew coated morning. I guess maybe we notice these sort of things more so when we’re young….we have more time to open our eyes. Like a siren, the land beckons one to be enveloped in its beauty and timelessness, tugging at something primitive inside of man, calling to order that fundamental quality that makes us human. The sort of secret landscape that renders poets and painters defenseless. Its calling realization that we are living in a temporary state of awe that precludes us from going about our day’s work of destroying everything as fast as we can. Were I to have the benefit of time and a less jaded early morning outlook, I’d surely be lost in it’s calling embrace I have no doubt.
To balance all the green, mother nature blessed us with an onslaught of white-tailed deer all day long. Their brown bodies could be seen out of every window at one point or another. I think because I haven’t cut the grass in two weeks, they’re enjoying all of the clover growing in the yard and around the garden. The meadows are all tall grass and wet lands, devoid of tasty clover flowers and leaves. I counted at least five different bucks today, each growing his own unique set of velvety brownish-grey antlers. Early June presides over who the standouts will be in the Fall, large racks start to distance themselves from the also rans. I saw “my” buck in the front yard. You can tell he’s big by his body size but now you can really see his rack is forking off…at least six nodes by now….will be eight or ten by the end of June. I have not seen our fawns yet but I bet that is only a matter of time. In the back yard we saw a bachelor party of three bucks holding court with a single doe, around the vegetable garden. I also witnessed black birds out smarting my bird netting and taking their share of un-ripened blueberries. The one bird would land right on top of the bush and eat the berries through the netting. He then hopped to the ground and flew up into the bush, under the netting, snagged some berries and then reversed his way out and away. Suffice to say I put more netting around the bottom of the bush.
One note, I’m amazed by the amount of wildlife we can observe directly from the house. We didn’t necessarily design the house in a weird shape or have wildlife bridges jutting into the woods. Joe just put a wall of large windows up front, for solar gain with the added benefit of great views. I’m amazed by how many times I get up from the couch and see what appears to be a deer in our dining room almost…standing just feet from the windows. It also helps that we have so much natural landscaping, and try not to scare away the deer. But also it’s not like we avoid them either…I was cutting the grass yesterday and a deer calmly crossed the drive 40′ away from me, ignoring me basically. One side effect of living here is I’ve gotten very used to observing deer in the wild so to speak. I used to hunt, spending hours in the woods, watching deer. Then for a decade I haven’t really seen them too much, but now I probably see more deer, acting more naturally than I ever have. I see how they move, how the react, what they eat….given the time I’d venture out in my hunting gear and a camera and probably get some crazy good photos….maybe later this summer. I shudder to think how many ticks I’d get but it’d probably be worth it. Now granted these are deer that will never see the working end of a rifle or shotgun, so they may act differently, but when it comes seeing deer up close I can’t think of a more comfortable and informative observatory than our home. Add that to the “green” features of the house. Not to mention the added childhood experience for the boys. Pretty cool stuff.
Tip: don’t wear a white shirt when shooting photos out the window, you can see white reflections in my pictures. But when I see a deer I don’t have time to do a wardrobe change.
For now though I’ll leave you with deer pics. Tomorrow is a special day, I’m going to pull out my Father’s Day present and address the front yard, much to the dietary dismay of our deer friends. Check back here and find out more, I think you’re going to like, even if you’re not a tree hugger.