Saturday, January 22, 2011

My Deerest Departed

This is the time of year when the truth becomes known.  Who survived the killing season? I am most sad to say that my big boys are all gone but one. I no longer have the privilege of seeing their beautiful faces or watching their unique interactions with members of the herd.  No longer will I be able to call out their names, talk to them or just stand quietly and watch them eat.  Only one returned and a young yearling never left.  The other seven (plus) are simply gone. The snow stayed on the ground most of December contributing to the difficulty of finding adequate goodies to ingest. They probably had to travel greater distances.  Although we have over 60 acres, it isn't enough. I hear they travel miles to establish new territories or spread their seed so to speak. Bossy's Boy and a yearling from the 'Long Tails' herd were lucky enough to escape from harm.
Bossy's Boy suffered an arrow wound in his right shoulder from the 2009 killing season.
 Bossy's Boy will be 4 years old this June. So far he has survived many killing seasons however his luck changed when he got hit by a car near Christmas. His left hind quarters are severally injured. He was improving steadily until he fell on his right knee so now the limping continues and a large hematoma can be seen. My poor thing showed himself at feed time on Christmas Day. I blogged about it in The Good, The Bad, The Holiday Season.
Bandit with his dark eyes is on the left and proud Bossy's Boy is on the right.

Tanner who's tail has no black in it whatsoever, joined the farm in 2009.  He was two and a half years old in this November photo.
Last year most of the older ones returned...Bandit, Tanner, Ringo and Twin. The other Twin did not and Twin decided not to stay. The little yearlings never returned either which broke my heart. Bossy's Boy will be four years old in June. Two years ago, he left the farm and came back with a new buck, Bandit. They have been best of friends since despite Bandit being the dominant male. Tanner arrived last year and was two and a half years old. Ringo, the same age, was born on the farm however, I do not know from whom. And, my dear little Buttons has either been killed or he is far away in a new territory. His rack was so mature for being only a year and a few months. He was Peanut's twin and so very beautiful.  Beauty's Boy who is so light in color left with Buttons and Bossy's yearling twins, Red and Big Boy have not returned either. 

Brownie's yearling, Buttons who is Peanut's twin was my favorite little buck.

Beauty's Boy is so handsome in his 'fawn' colored coat!
Bossy's yearling twins, Red and Big Boy enjoy a grooming session since Bossy no longer loves on them!
Beauty's Boy and Red were good friends this summer.
Look how mature Big Boy grew to be at only about 17 months.  Bossy always turns out big bucks and is the first to go into estrus.
Speaking of big bucks, Cappy is huge compared to his cousins.  Cappy is the tall button buck on the left.
Probably one of the last times I saw Cappy.  Either he left or he got hit by a car as I saw a young deer on the side of the road in December.
Bandit's Boy is an exact image of his daddy. Look at his defiant expression!
I have several little button bucks that were born this spring.  The dominant one is Bandit's Boy born to Cocoa who was born to my special Brownie July 2008. Cocoa keeps a close watch on him and the two are rarely apart.  He is now learning to herd other deer including his mother who is probably telling him not to do that to her in this photo since he just finished nudging her butt.  So very cute!

This sweet little face continues to make me smile and I can only hope he lives a long healthy life.  All of the deer are beautiful and I pray they each survive.  I will miss my boys dearly but at least I have these images and my memories will live forever.

Friday, January 14, 2011

A Rock Crush

Big Rocky is definately in love! He was smitten with the youngest of our family since she arrived in my arms as a kitten.  You can read about that dismal day by clicking the the highlighted area. He didn't mind that she had scrapes on her little body.  He didn't mind that she was a tiny terror, and he loved her musical little chirps and high pitched squeaks right from the start.   

What about LaQuinta?  She is beautiful and black and the athlete of the family.  She is very graceful and can jump extremely high.  Sorry! I think he remembered how she pushed him down the steps when he was a kitten.  Rocky doesn't mind sharing our bed with LaQuinta so forgiveness must have played a part.
Princess is spectacular! She is a Norwegian Forest cat.  Who couldn't fall in love with that sweet little thing?  She is the fastest cat in the family and becomes a blur when she runs through the house.  She is very affectionate too! Those are good qualities...No way! Princess and Rocky do not get along and she growls when he passes by.  I used to have to separate them.  See? Blue blood beauties do not always win the man!
Rocky has fallen in love with our sweet little baby Bridget. But she looks very different now and he is the perfect lover; he doesn't mind weight gain!  Good boy, Rock!
Rocky displays his affection by tackling her in the kitchen while they await for some canned goodies.  Bridget squeals like a damsel in distress but deep down she adores his love bites and never runs away. Sigh...I remember the days when I was tackled! ;-)
Ok, I guess it doesn't hurt that badly!
Get off of me you big lug!

Rocky, no more tackling!
Well, maybe I changed my mind....
Love you too Rocky! Now, Mama, feed us!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Snow Shock!

On the way to afternoon feeding, I was stunned when I almost missed this poor little thing sitting like a statue in front of the Old House.  He didn't move a wing when I approached.  Despite being a bit dirty, this red beauty banged into the one of the parlor windows.  Nugget was a good boy and did nothing after I firmly warned him to stay away.  I gently attempted to lift the cardinal from the ground and he flew only a few feet in the air and landed in the paddock.  He was like a broken miniature airplane with tail drag. 
Wondering if he broke a small bone or received internal injury, I briskly walked back to the porch and got some black oil sunflower seed to lure him to ingest some good protein!  Don't all males like to eat?  I backed off to watch and wait.  Nothing.
All of his kind were happily eating at the feeder so I thought I might carry him there in case he had mated for life so she could see what had happened.  Not sure if cardinals mate that way but I think swans and geese do, so what the heck.  Being around his friends would certainly help! He wouldn't feel alone and the dense green hawthorn bushes offer good protection from the elements for him to rest and recover.
Alas, I think the seed told him I was trustworthy, and he permitted the buttery soft leather fingers to gently surround his tender little body.  Oh no, I can't jump over the fence with no hands so I had to take the long way around.  Would he be a patient little soul?  My little bird flew into the branches of the hawthorn bush and I couldn't find him despite peering all around and wouldn't you know, a delivery man arrived watching the crazy farm lady with her head deep within the branches.  Too funny!
When it snows or goes below 32 degrees, I keep the barn cats in so the birds can safely eat and the kitties don't get frost bitten noses or paw pads.  Thank goodness it was snowing that day or one of the following might have had a meal!
Callie is a very good hunter and passed her skills to her big bad son, Cricket.
   Although Daddy Cat is quite abundant in girth, he is a very fine hunter!
          Little shy Sylvester is not as innocent out in the barn yard!
But this is the thing that is most ferocious...even his toes and claws are over sized not to mention his fangs.  I am not kidding!
             Could that be my little bird chatting with some girls?