Deery me
by Mrs Susan McGaw (Salar)

We live on the edge of a wetland forest, filled with deer, possum, raccoons, squirrels, foxes, skunks, owls, etc etc It never fails to amaze us how much personality God packs into even 'the least of these.' For every ten 'standard' raccoon, you'll meet one who regularly waves hello..or throws berries at you...or seems to pray over his food.Some frogs just sit there and croak, but there's always those few who think its funny to follow you up the creeks & ditches and see how high you'll jump if surprised by a load croak. Deer are the same. Many are the usual statue-esque embodiments of forest beauty..but some trip over low bushes, get into booger blowing contests with the dog, or even...dance?

santa deer

Here's a few stories of our neighborhood deer.


The Tap Dancing Fawn

I was on the road just up from my house one sunny afternoon. As I turned the first corner and, happily, before I began to accelerate, a small dotted fawn jumped out of the underbrush and started to cross in front of us, then slowed to a stop gazing down at his tiny hooves. Apparently the little one was entranced by the sound of his little hooves on the pavement. He stomped one little foot down and the another and then both. Then he jumped his front and then his back. Soon he was bounding in place, oblivious to our amused presence.

tappity tappity tap....

I and my kids just sat there and giggled

tappity tappity tap....

After a few minutes it seemed wise to me to encourage the little one to move on, so I tapped my horn. That got me a much higher bounce out of him. For just a second the little fella stopped and looked at me. We waited patiently but when we didnt move, bless his heart, he started dancing again!

By now his momma had emerged from the trees and was bleating from the side of the road

but the little rascal ignored her too!

tappity tappity tap....

she called again...

BOUNCE tappity tappity tap....

Finally, love overcame fear and she came out on the road herself to physically nudge her little one along and we figured the fun was over but...

as they reached the edge of the woods, Momma doe made a fussy sound and bit her fawn firmly on the tail and the naughty baby bounded into the woods with a loud EEEPPP!...

So now we know how deer apply parental discipline :)


Tom's Secret Admirer

For a fair while here, Tom had his own wildlife fan club. Whenever he worked in the
garage or workshop, whenever he worked under one of the cars, a quiet presence would
work her way in close to him, watching in silent appreciation of his handyman skills.

She was shy of me however, perhaps fearing my reaction.She seemed to know when I was
looking out of the house windows and invariably ran away before I could even look

She didn't even want to let Tom see her clearly, often bounding away just as he looked
up at the garage windows, 'ladle' ears twitching wildly in time with her tail as she
headed at high speed for safety of the brush at the edge of the forest.

Little did she know, we only wanted to take her picture.

Sadly, she grew out her teenage crush before we managed it.

Tom has since been trailed about the property by our and other neighborhood cats, a chattering squirrel, frogs of various hues, a crow the size of chicken, and one baby toad...but we will always remember his shy admirer, peering in fascination from the side windows of the garage/workshop. She was cute.


Circle of Friends

It was one of 'those' years. The kind where groceries were budgeted a month in advance and clothes couldn't be properly budgeted at all. Tom had been ill for quite awhile. Thanks to his father's kindness, we managed but that was about all. As the holidays grew near, Tom spoke often of ways he could improve our meals, at least. He was a very good shot. We knew the neighbors. We lived in a rural area so he shouldnt have to go far. Why not hunt?

I knew why not. Tom loves watching animals...not shooting them. I won't go so far as to say that he absolutely hates all aspects of hunting, but given a choice between bringing home a big rack and a roll of film, Kodak processing would win every time. Our current circumstance was the only sort of thing that would make him consider getting a hunting license.

I also grew up more in country than otherwise. I know how wonderful a venison roast or wild turkey can be. I could help him render anything he caught into delicious roasts, stews, and steaks. I'd helped before. Philosophically, I had no objection to proper hunting..but practically was another matter. Some of our human neighbors were exceedingly unpleasant, but the local wildlife here was a joy most of the time. (even the ever fussing crane.) Beyond that, I was very worried about Tom attempting it in his current health. The doctors were having a hard time pinning down what was getting him down...and so would not object if he thought he could do it, but his skin tone was grey, his energy low. He didnt look up to this effort at all.

Still, I had no better ideas to fill our freezer. Tom got his license and gear ready and made the proper inquiries for permission. Soon the first hunting day was set. Frosty weather was called for, which would help preserve the meat back to the house. He was to go with two friends early in the day and they all agreed they would return as soon as they had enough meat. I didnt like it as I didnt entirely trust these men to understand that Tom's condition was serious, that he might need help, in spite of their reassurrances.

As they trailed off to deep forest get in position early, I prayed hard and often throughout the long morning that Tom's friends would look out for him. Early afternoon came and went with no word, though I did hear a shot deep in the woods. Finally, Toby trailed in at mid-afternoon trying to refrain his cursing of the squirrels that apparantly been tormenting him all day, ruining his shots by startling the herd ahead of him ~ whose prints he had apparantly been tracking. The squirrels kept cursing him as he went along, and pelted him with acorns when ever he tried to rest. He had finally lost his temper and shot at them...which infuriated him most of all. He figured that was sure to have finished his chances with the deer. "I never saw a deer the whole day...and I even missed those blasted tree rats!"

I listened patiently at first, expecting to see Tom appear behind him, but as he got to the end and my husband had not arrived, I asked Toby where he was. He suddenly looked guilty and said something about getting separated in the woods. Just then one shot, then a few more, rang out near the edge of the woods way along the road. Toby looked relieved and assurred me that was Darren's rifle, so they must be over there. I had my doubts. First off, those werent the part of the woods Darren should have been in. Secondly, I hadnt heard anything from Tom at all. I wanted to question Toby more closely... but he was already leaving.

Within an hour or so, Darren also turned up..alone. He told me a wild tale of how he had gotten separated from the others and had found this enormous turkey who had led him all over the woods. Finally, he thought he had the creature cornered in thick brush only to have it fly straight over his head. He shot at it and gave open chase only to find it had flown over the road. He barely managed to stop himself as a vehicle barreled around the corner and shot down the country road. Still rattled by his experience, he had made his way back to our house and given up for the day.

So where had he last seen Tom? Oh..he didnt know, it had been pretty early when he'd lost the others. He figured Tom and Toby should be back soon, but he needed to go home and rest now. I told him what Toby had said, but aside from chuckling at Toby's misadventures, Darren showed little interest. A short while later, he had also departed.

This left me looking anxiously at the woods until the sun was setting, wishing I was free to go look myself. Thankfully, Tom appeared out of the edge of our woods before the light was gone, pale and tired but otherwise unharmed. After getting him fed, I asked him what had happened.

Tom told me that the other two kept moving ahead of him, impatiently urging him to catch up. Eventually they left him behind, near a tree with a stand in it. They said they would scout ahead and come back. Both seemed entranced by a particularly large set of hooves in that particular herd..and the rack that often came with such feet.

They never came back. Tom fell asleep at the base of the tree and only woke up many hours later...to find himself surprisingly warm, surrounded by grassy indentations and hoof prints. It seems the herd had circled back and slept around Tom as the other hunters searched for them ever further away. He was awakened by the movement of the herd.

So, after a peaceful nap among his woodland friends, Tom had returned home safely to me. We did okay without the local venison as it turned out. Personally, I was grateful God answered my prayers and looked out for him.


Tom knew about the big turkey. He'd even seen him, but never gave chase. He was a local legend, according to my husband. "That old bird was as tough as he was canny and had run many a fox into oncoming traffic." (After he mentioned it, I could recall having to brake for quite a few creatures on that corner.)

Tom knew about the squirrels too. They had never picked on Tom exactly, but they were very expressive, he said. He usually talked to them when he went walking. Sometimes fed them his sunflower seeds or whatever. "Some of them are rather rude. But most are okay unless they think you are likely to hurt one of them."



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