Saturday, February 26, 2011

To Wildlife and Breaking Bread

When I finally settled into a place of calmed thought yesterday, things really started happening. Good things. That's how it works. I felt like all of nature came out to play. Well, 'all' might be a bit of hyperbole, but it felt that way at the time. I know some of you, maybe all, might be thinking, Will she never stop blathering about that wildlife?  Apparently the answer is no. It makes me happy.

I was wondering if the deer would show up again. After all, the turkeys had been around off and on all day, wandering between here and the neighbors (those fickle birds), and I was hoping the deer would bed down again in the yard. It feels good to fall asleep with animals right outside the door. Shortly after, four wandered in and stood around under that same big Norway. It's as though that tree has magical powers. There are others on the property, some only a few feet away, but that one seems to hold the key.

While I watched, five more wandered in and they all congregated around that tree!  Nine! Here's the photo, taken inside of course, after I came to my senses and decided to capture it on, uh, film (digital just does not have the same ring to it).

I watched the goings-on for a few minutes, some of them watched me back. I noticed something in the pines had caught their attention. They stood looking in that direction. Then one of them headed into the pines to either get a closer look or flush out whatever it was they saw. I assumed it was the turkeys who had just been through a short while earlier. Yet another fine lesson on not assuming anything.

While I watched, an animal moved through the pines and then out into the open, right behind the deer, heading for the old chicken coop. It was a large red fox!  Beautiful!  I hadn't seen it since last summer. I was torn in that moment between just watching and capturing it on camera. Well, I tried to do both and all I got in my camera was an orange-red blur. Now, I'm hoping it's a her and there will be kits in the spring. Good thing it's not an active chicken coop. I'd have a lot of fixing up of the coop to do.

I cannot imagine my life without wildlife. Besides the usual sightings as a child growing up in the country, my parents built what was then referred to as a wild animal park, back in the early '60's. They built it from the ground up, bought deer from other parks to roam freely so people could walk around the park and even hand feed them. There were pens with several other animals, as well. Bear, fox, buffalo (which will have their own post someday), and such. It gave people a chance to see these animals close up. Now, please keep in mind, this was a less-than-enlightened time and my parents were not the first or the only to think this was a good idea. It was, shall I say, a going concern. They named it Deer Valley.

It was a lot of work. Here's a photo, taken when I was eleven. Note the brush pile behind me.  Yeah. That's my mom, piling brush while we take a break. As long a break as we could get away with. My older sister, Christy, is on the right.

Meanwhile, back at Lonewolf, some of the deer wandered into the woods for the night and some decided to make camp under the tree just outside my window. As darkness fell, they bedded down.

I woke up a few times during the night, hoping they were still there. At first light, I looked outside my bedroom window. They'd already broke camp. Then I saw movement out of the corner of my eye and there was one looking back at me, just a few feet away. I looked, he looked, and then I laid back down and dozed off again for awhile. Six o'clock and all was well.

P.S. Tonight, the neighbors are coming over for some homemade vegetable soup, my first batch in the slow-cooker Coleman and Britta gave me for Christmas (photo at the top). I hadn't had a chance to use it yet, as I'd high-tailed it out of here right after the new year, heading for the Southwest. I threw in all the root vegetables I could think of : parsnips, rutabagas, turnips, potatoes, carrots and onions, along with some butter, chicken stock and a little S&P. It turned out pretty yummy, if I do say so myself. They're bringing the bread. It's nice, breaking bread with the neighbors. We share a love of wildlife and simple living.


  1. I doubt I'd get tired of your nature postings. They draw my mind outdoors. Even I, in my suburb, derive great peace from watching my neighbor's 15 chickens in their coop.

  2. Thoroughly enjoyed your photos of wildlife at Lonewolf. Hope you have a wonderfully simple visit with your friends, and that your soup brings comfort to your souls! xo

  3. Amazing to have all the tamed out wildlife. I have worked a few projects where they graze buffalo, and one area it is fun to drive into the herd.Deer are thick down at the lake and I always thank them for a good picture.

  4. Teresa,
    That is amazing...truly wonderful! I too would have been mesmerized by the deer because I am that way too. I see a deer in our neighborhood and you'd think I never saw one before...they are so exquisite!
    Thank you for sharing such lovliness and have a wonderful time with your neighbors tonight; the soup looks awesome by the way. I am a real soup lover!

  5. Linda, That's so sweet of you to say so. Yes, even chickens are nice to watch. Animal's lives are so simple.

    Karen, Thank You! xo

    Steve, Yes, I talk to the animals, express my appreciation. Driving into that buffalo herd would be splendid! Around Custer, SD, there are several herds and you can get pretty close. Good times.

    Tracy, I know. Every time it's like a first sighting. As it should be. :) I trust I will never lose my enthusiasm for it. Yeah, the winter is a time for soup. The smell while it slow-cooked was outstanding! Thanks!

  6. You have such a wonderful opportunity to live in and with nature. And two things of note: I just posted a picture of vegetables being readied for soup, and I wore a "War is not healthy..." patch (similar to the one in your right-hand column) for years and still have it on the bulletin board just above my computer.

  7. I Love it, Nancy. I think they go together somehow. Homemade soup and that poster.

  8. I never get tired of your posting about your place at Lonewolf. A great name.Double meaning. It must be wonderful to live in a place like this where you can see the deer outside your window. The deer don't look shy. To break bread, that sounds like an old Russian custom.
    That food looks soooo good. Uhmmm!

  9. Grethe, Almost time. Wish you were here to share this meal with us. Thank you for visiting and commenting.

  10. Oh my goodness that soup looks yummy!

    I love going out to the Research Station here in the city to see the deer. They are so sweet!

    xo Catherine

  11. Thanks, Catherine. Hope you're having a great weekend.

  12. What a stunning sight! Nature just keeps surprising us and inspiring us, doesn't it?

  13. Ah, what magic! All that wild abundance. Worth driving great distances to be able to return, again and again. Waking to the face of so lovely a creature letting you know all is right in your world, well, what magic.

  14. That is so awesome to look out your window and there are the deer.
    I live in Winnipeg, Manitoba where there are several residential areas where the deer hang out. The other day my daughter and I drove past a house and there was a deer just sitting in the front lawn. We stopped and stared at its beauty for about fifteen minutes. It's awe-inspiring.

  15. Hi Betty. It sure does. And how.

    Chris! Life is good.

  16. Sandra, I'm so glad you stopped by. Nice to see new faces. It's always a treat to see them, isn't it?

  17. How absolutely magical! I wonder what it is about the tree that attracts them. Of course, it might be you and your presence that is the reason for their congregation. There will never be too much wildlife in the world, Teresa. What a gift you are!

  18. That's a lotta deer. I have close to that many at one time in Helena. Helena is over run with deer and they are killing them, which breaks my heart. I have crabby old people living next to me who shoot at them with pellet guns but they somehow know they can nest freely in my yard and rock gardens. You have to drive fairly slow in Helena because the deer are roaming everywhere. The capital building always has deer around it.
    If I confuse you with my living in Helena.... I have a house there in town and also a small ranch in the mountains and a house in Bozeman. Mostly, I don't know where I live.

    What a neat old photo of you and the deer. Those old pictures are so precious.

    That soup looks mighty yummy. Can't wait for the bread to arrive. Ha.
    Love and Peace

  19. DJan, Thank you, so much. I have to admit even the tree and I have a nice thing goin'. I am quite literally a tree-hugger. :) Even trees and animals know when they're loved.

    Manzanita, I have only one house, and even I am not sure where I "Live." Maybe everywhere. This is a mighty fine place to Be, however.

    BTW: I hear ya about the cleaning products. I trust you're not alphabetizing them yet. :)

  20. Great photos. Deer look healthy. And, they are finding safety about Lonewolf. Fox, turkey and deer. So fortunate you are. Jack of Sage to Meadow.

  21. Yes, Jack, I am fortunate. it makes all of life feel better.

  22. Teresa, wildlife story and photos would make a fabulous children's book. How better to learn about nature at a young age?

    I never tire of your nature posts. They bring such peace.

    Er, I took a taste of your vegetable soup. Delicious!

  23. Thanks, Kittie. There are some fine children's books out there doing just that. I did have a dream about one, though... :) Nice to hear from you!

  24. You can blather on about wildlife any time you want as far as I'm concerned...I love 'em, too. It's awesome that those deer just make themselves at home. Wow, wouldn't that be just perfect if you saw kit foxes?

    I love slow cookers, too. Have two of them, as a matter of fact. Your soup looks just delish!

  25. Cheryl, Yes, kits would be very nice. Thank You!