Yes, this is supposed to be a photography blog, but there are no photos associated with this story. The closest thing to a camera I had with me when it all occurred was my iPhone camera, and it would have been useless for this situation.
So would it be okay if this time I try to show you what I’m saying by painting pictures with words?
I live in Darnestown, MD. It’s kind of on the edge of suburban Gaithersburg and the still open rural “agricultural preserve” area of Montgomery County, one of the mega-suburbs of Washington, DC.
My house is an old farmhouse, on about 2 equally old acres of land. Much humbler than it sounds. There’s a small porch behind the house looking over the back yard. The back yard is maybe an acre or a little less of open grass, surrounded by trees on three sides. But it’s not a solid ring of trees.
Sitting on the porch, from the right side there’s a stand of trees going back and then breaking at about “1 o’clock” for about twenty feet, a few larger trees but no underbrush so you can see through to more grass area and the deeper woods of Seneca State Park beyond.
Then there’s a patch of trees with pretty solid undergrowth – you can’t see through it. That’s from about 12:30 to 12:00 coming around counter-clockwise.
Then there’s another open area with an old redbud and a young(er) though steadily growing oak, but clear underneath, opening back onto another uncut wild grass area that goes back into the tree line of the park.
Then at about 11:30 and on to the left there’s a stand of big old boxwoods surrounding an old garden, and the line of trees along the property up around to the left.
Got the picture?
So, this evening near sunset I’m sitting on the porch, deeply in thought about sales and marketing questions, trying to come up with the perfect conversation introduction, when I hear a huffing and puffing and snorting sounding like it’s coming from in or behind that patch of thick trees and brush at right rear, between 12:30 and 1:00.
This ruckus went on for 4 or 5 minutes. Sounded “deer-like”, but unusual for this time of year.
Then it stopped.
One of the younger does had previously just walked halfway up the yard and looked at me, half cautious and half annoyed by my presence. She’s really rough looking – an odd too-light color coat, scruffy like she has mange, thin as a rail with the ribs sticking out. The “humane” result of the anti-hunters getting their way about controlled hunts in the park.
But she walked off and I didn’t see any of the others. They’re usually around in groups of three or four at a time at this time of evening.
Well anyway, about another five minutes after the noise stops, out comes one of the older does walking through the clearing at 12:00 to the left, followed right behind by a fawn, walking quite well, not fumbling around on its new legs. About a foot high, barely taller than the grass. No bigger than the red fox that strolls around having decided he owns the property. About the size of a big, happy, lazy house cat. But much leaner and livelier.
And it occurs to me – all that huffing and snorting – was the doe, giving birth!
For the past month I’ve been watching two obviously pregnant does waddling around among the herd that makes their home in my yard, coming up and eating at the base of the bird feeder where the birds scatter all the seed in their mad rush to get to the good stuff, the sunflower seeds.
For this one, today was the day!
The little guy will disappear for the next four to six weeks, tucked away deep in the woods until mom decides it’s time to come on out of hiding and learn the ropes of deer life.
Yes they’re pests that I not too kindly refer to as “wood rats”, grey-tan, long nosed, long tailed, carrying disease and tearing up everything. They’re the bane of my garden, and the reason I have to fence every plant I want to have a prayer of surviving.
But for those three months or so, from mid-June to September, it is a blast seeing those little spotted guys bouncing around, acting like – well, like the little kids they are. Even though their parents are trying to devastate my garden while the kids cause a diversion.
But geeze, they’re fun to watch grow up.
Oh, and about 15 minutes later the other pregant doe was at the bird feeder, with three or four of her compadres. So there’s still more to come.
And so once again, right in the middle of the daily challenges of making a business happen, I am reminded – life is a pretty amazing place to live!