Scenes of summer

Morning swim lesson at the VOA – June 2013

I’ve been snapping photos here and there the last few weeks. I’m taking this opportunity to share them with you now.

Hummingbird – June 04, 2013

This little hummer was making daily visits for a while. I haven’t seen him lately. He liked some of the potted plants on our deck.

House wren – June 04, 2013

I call this one  “House wren in bird house.”

Fawn – July 18, 2013

This hillside across the drive from our house used to be thick with honeysuckle. Mark has cleared a large section of it out. The little fawn decided to take a bit of a rest here.

Fawn – July 18, 2013

I didn’t see the mother nearby. Perhaps she told this little guy to wait for her here.

Sunflowers – July 19, 2013

Not bad for a few volunteers. I’m enjoying the height and color they’ve added to my garden.

Male American Goldfinch on sunflowers – July 19, 2013

I call this one “Elevensies” after a tradition brought to me by a good friend and once-coworker, Cathy, who needed that morning snack to get through to lunch.

Young buck – July 18, 2013

I’m not sure why this buck only has one antler. I googled it and nosed around a bit, but there was too much reading involved for the amount of time I wanted to spend. Perhaps you know and can tell me.

Male American Goldfinch on sunflower – July 19, 2013

I call this one “Yellow.”

Female American Goldfinch on sunflower – July 19, 2013

Let’s not forget the female. She clearly wanted her portrait taken as well.

House wren – July 20, 2013

I was sitting at my computer desk, minding my own business, when this little guy started hopping back and forth on the two porch rockers sitting outside our large study window. He was there for quite a while before he flew up into the tree. And he was giving me the what-for. I’m not sure what he was carrying on about.

I suppose that’s just one more thing I’ll never know.

The strength we require

I was driving home from my writer’s group meeting just before dark last night. When I started down the private drive that runs in front of our house, I noticed a quick movement in the neighbor’s grass to my right. Two fawns were lying, curled up, in the grass near the drive and a buck stood above them. I immediately slowed the car to a crawl and crept to the far side of the drive so as not to threaten them. I made my way into the driveway that leads to our house at a snail’s pace while keeping my eyes on the buck and the  fawns, who had stood up. The three did not leave their spots. Even as I got into the house and peered out the window as the night darkened, I could still see them standing there. Then the other neighbor on our drive drove down a few minutes behind me and the deer fled into the woods.

It seemed like such a sad scene to me. The buck trying to bed the fawns down for a rest, and the three of them being threatened and running away. Where is the doe?

If there is anything I am learning from watching nature, as I have been privileged to do while living here in our house bordered by woods, it’s this: Ultimately we have to fend for ourselves. Others may try to help us, and give us a lending hand. But in this great design of life on this planet, mostly we are on our own. And conversely, although we may desire to, or even attempt to, help others, largely there is little we can do. Like us, mostly they are on their own with their trials, tribulations, pain, and suffering.

I would love to reunite the doe with her fawns, and maybe one day soon I’ll see them together again . . . or maybe she’s lying dead in a ditch somewhere. In any case there is absolutely nothing I can do.

You loyal readers know that I often struggle with my dad’s situation as he gradually loses his abilities to do almost everything because of his Alzheimer’s. I visit. I try to cheer him up. I try to give him something “fun” or interesting to do. But ultimately the hell he is living is his own battle to fight and endure. I can’t do it for him. I can’t even help him carry the load for any significant amount of time.

Like the people in the stories we see on the news who lost their homes to wildfires or tsunamis, who’ve lost their kids to abductors, who’ve lost their children or spouses or other friends and loved ones to an irrational act of violence in a movie theater, there’s very little I can do.

I can send money, prayers, good wishes. I can ladle soup in soup kitchens. I can do a little here and there. But I can’t take away someone else’s suffering. At best, I can only apply band-aids.

When it comes down to it, we are all on our own.

The strength we require ultimately has to be found within.

Two fawns and a buck

I looked out my kitchen window yesterday at dusk and spotted a deer and a fawn near the creek by our stone patio.

I’ve been watching for the doe with the injured leg, and thought this might be her. So I was also looking for the second fawn that Mark has been seeing with our doe.

The adult and the fawn wandered down the creek bank (and are visible in the background) when this little frisky guy showed up. This fawn appears to be a bit larger than the other one, and much more energetic. I would bet 10 bucks, no pun intended, that this is the little fawn I saw strolling alone down our drive last month.

Here was the surprise. The adult was a buck, not our doe. I was unsettled by this and worried that something has happened to our lame doe. I googled buck and fawns to see if the father sometimes takes care of the babies to give the mother a break, but couldn’t find any information. In fact, I found the opposite: bucks usually do not hang around the does and fawns. What about Bambi? His father stayed in the picture when Bambi’s mother died, didn’t he?

I don’t know if this is the fawns’ father or Uncle Dan, but he clearly was in charge of the fawns for the evening.

I was trying to take good photos through the kitchen window, using my 300mm lens and a high ISO because of the low light conditions. But the fawns were frolicking all around like two young children at a park in the early spring. Most of the pictures of them are a blur of brown.

This little one, trying to keep up with her brother, spun around this tree, miscalculating a bit. She ran right into it and then fell down. When she stood back up she didn’t move for a while. I think she was stunned.

This is completely endearing:  the buck, seeing what happened, walked over to the little fawn, undoubtedly to make sure she was okay.

I just love watching these animals interact.

Finally, a moment when all three are standing still.

And another, although the buck is moving his head to prune our plants. Because of his apparent preference for this delicacy I think he may be the buck I saw several weeks ago. I sure hope the mother of these two little darlings is okay.

I got out my iPhone and started taking a video. The frisky little guy runs off. The little follower chases after. The big buck watches where they go, thinks,”Dang, they’re not coming back,” and lopes after them.

See more deer posts here.

A tale of a doe, a buck, and a fawn

The Doe

I’ve been looking for fawns. The past two summers fawns started showing up in our yard at the end of May. I saw newborns curled in the neighbor’s grass, and curious little toddlers eying my garden. But June arrived and no new fawns.

I did see a lonesome doe frequenting our yard. I noticed she walked with a slight limp and at first I thought perhaps she was a tired mother who had just given birth. One evening at dusk, I was sitting on our second-story screened in porch that looks out over the yard and into the trees when movement from the woods caught my eye. The lone doe stepped into the yard, bent her front legs and lied down beside the treeline. She stayed for a while simply resting, then after dark, got up and walked away.

I saw her again on a morning and I could see that she had a definite limp and a big bump on the bottom of one of her front legs. I don’t know whether she injured her leg, or is sick in some way. I also don’t know what I can possibly do for her outside of allowing her access to the food in our yard without fear of my intrusion.

June 4, 2012

The Young Buck

Mark mentioned he saw a buck in our yard. That was a surprise because we rarely see bucks here.

June 3, 2012

But sure enough, the next day I thought I was watching the doe at the base of our yard when Mark said, “That’s the buck.” It was a young buck with fuzzy antlers enjoying the plants in our yard down by the stone patio.

June 3, 2012

The Fawn

Sunday night at dusk Mark was sitting in the study when he called out to me to come quickly. A little spotted fawn was meandering up the road in front of our house, out for a bit of a stroll, it appeared, no adult in sight. “Oh no. I hope it’s not lost,” I said. Eventually it scampered up into the woods across the road. “I wonder if that is the lame doe’s baby,” I worried.

The next day my worries were confirmed when I saw the lame doe and the fawn together. They like to cross the road from the woods, go up into our woodland garden where they can enjoy a variety of items, and then wander down through the trees to the creek and woods beyond. (Please forgive the poor photo quality, it was low-light conditions, and I didn’t want to scare them by leaving the house.)

Lame doe (with bump on lower half of lifted leg) with fawn. June 4, 2012

I sure hope the doe is okay.

June 4, 2012

Just now I heard Mark open the garage door and start his truck to leave. At the same time I saw the doe, followed by the fawn, trying to cross the road to our yard. They both turned and ran back into the woods. I hope they come back soon.

I wonder if the doe and the young buck could be the fawns another doe brought through here last year, or if it is the same fawn who uses our land as a nursery.