Ruby doesn’t bark, Ruby doesn’t get up in the middle of the night. If she does, so do I.
First, there was the worry of an escaped mare. Unfortunately it has roused Ruby before. The foot of fresh snow, the lack of clouds, highlighted the moon, so no lights. The better to see outdoors and spot a wayward horse.
Shuffling slowly to the back window, lest I trip over a cat toy, there was the object of Ruby’s awakening. A doe was nibbling a sapling. Behind her, her yearling. Another deer was deeper in the woods.
I watched as the yearling came forward to check in for a nuzzle then head back into the woods. The other deer headed to the pasture. The doe remained. I watched in the middle of the night. She didn’t move, she just kept chomping.
It looked as if she was nibbling on the Mountain Laurel, as well as the twigs and bark. She was certainly taking her time. Whatever it was she was enjoying it. Then…..
In a flash her tail was up and she high tailed it into the woods.
Perhaps Rhumba had spooked her? Long ago, I learned that if an animal is spooked, look for the object of that fear. Especially in winter when food is scarce, and snow is deep. An animal won’t take off just for fun. I moved to another window. Yes, there came Rhumba. But OMG right through the yard came a pair of young coyotes! Rhumba, nose down followed them out of her paddock. She was not the object of the does flight. Rhumba was protecting her territory.
And the cycle continues. 1.15, the next morning. I awake, without Ruby’s help, to see the 3 deer pawing for acorns. It is hard work and forces them to lean back under the pressure as their delicate front legs roust the acorns below. I am glad I pushed the acorns off the patio for them to find. I shall continue this practice this fall.
5.30am. This time, it is Rusty who barks. He is below the house in what is referred to as the swamp field. Looking to where he looks, I see the flash of a fat tail. Our resident fox is nervously trotting around. Did Rusty interrupt a hunt? Briefly, it hides behind a log. Rusty, knowing he can’t get closer, invisible fencing is wonderful, succumbs reluctantly to my call. The fox takes note, pops out and trots confidently toward the road. Be safe, little fox.
As I take my freezing feet back inside, an owl hoots in the distance.
Watching this group over time has given me time to learn a little about their personalities. One looks pregnant. I will call her Mom. Two look to be yearlings. Perhaps siblings? The fourth is thinner and tends to eshue the open area near the house.
They were staying late this day. Mom decided it was time to go. She walked over, reared up, and batted child #1, who then proceeded to pass the batting on. They bucked at each other, and then Mom and child #2 headed for the field. Mom must have batted the first, knowing it is a problem child.
Dogs needed to go out. I tapped on the window. Large ears flopped, but no retreat. I banged on the window. Still no movement. Last resort, let the dogs out the back door and hope they make enough noise. Last seen, white tails flying in the upper field with dogs closing in. That is, until they reached the invisible fence. The next day. No deer.
How can you hate winter when a bright moon on the snow brings nature’s stories to life. Sometimes insomnia is a grand reward. Relish the joy in everything.