The phone rang this morning about 8 a.m., and it was our neighbor Mary, calling my attention to a deer in the wild brush behind her yard. I came outside and walked behind our garage, to the edge of our yard, near where Margy had cleared bittersweet from all over the crabapple trees in the wild area. Mary had said it was a small deer, so I was surprised to see what seemed to me a rather large animal with antlers. He didn’t startle, but calmly looked at me, as I took photos from several yards away. After a few minutes, he slowly turned and disappeared into the bushes.
So beautiful! I had once seen a deer the first year we moved here, and that winter we also noticed some tracks in the snow, but we hadn’t seen any in our yard since then. (However, Margy mentioned she has seen some deep in the undeveloped wild areas.) Of course, it has stirred up mixed feelings to see or not see them. We love our wildlife neighbors, but have also been concerned about our fruit trees. The year we planted our first trees, I put up a fine fishing line thread between metal poles, at the back and side of the orchard, because I read that deer don’t like barriers that they can’t see clearly. So it was meant to be a gentle deterrent, and I haven’t taken it down, though this summer the line had sagged to about a foot above the ground.
And perhaps, this clears up a mystery that developed several days ago. Earlier last week, I noticed that the ends of some branches on one of our cherry trees seemed to have been bitten off–just four branches in one area of one tree with their tips clean gone. You might notice it in the center of the photo below. I also noticed the top bitten off of a raspberry shoot that had sprouted near our wood chip pile. I’ve been trying to figure out what might have done it, and I think maybe we have our culprit. Thankfully, he didn’t eat any more of anything. I’ve re-stretched the fishing line “fence” to see if that helps.
We never know what adventures we’ll find in our backyard. The other evening, during dusk, Margy saw a beautiful skunk wandering across the back of the yard. I’ve seen a few holes in the garden where it came digging for grubs in the night. Mostly, these days, we have scores of small birds who love to perch on branches and even tall flower stalks in the orchard, and peck for bugs in the mulch.
And can I say, finally, that I love that we have a dear neighbor who calls us to report a deer sighting!