Stalking Deer & Doing Chores
The air was cold, the ground covered in frost-tipped mint. I was trying to be silent but a frosty fall morning is not the easiest time to not crunch through the woods. I walked out past the campfire area, past the logging trails for the horses, past the ancient apple trees covered in shadow...And then I started walking along the stone wall that marks the edge of my property. I had not seen a single hair of a deer and so wasn't paying attention and was mildly shocked at the loud barking scoff from just thirty yards ahead of me. A deer! A BIG deer! It let out that whiffled blast of air deer holler as a warning and was gone fast as it heckled me. It leaped away, all white tail and high head and I couldn't tell if it was a buck or a doe, but it was certainly large.
And large means meat. A lot of meat.
I can't hunt until November 17th when rifle season opens up. I have a bow and broad heads, but I didn't take the NYS bowhunters's safety course and so I wasn't allowed to buy that early hunting permit. I was disappointed, but even though I wasn't stalking with a bow in hand it was fine and exciting walk in the woods.
I returned to the farmhouse with cold feet, but high spirits. Seeing the deer on my land in a place I could get a clean shot meant there was a chance my freezer would not be lonely before the pigs are butchered. I just need a little hope, the tiniest possibility of future pleasure, to feel like the whole world is my oyster. I danced through chores, Gibson at my side. Together we got the animals fed, watered, and their pens and nests re-bedded if needed. I knew the day, and the night, would be cold so I just tried to offer as much comfort as possible.
The pigs snorted and squealed for their pig kibble, Merlin hollered for more hay (tough luck), and the goats nickered and lolled their heads in that freaky-excoristy goaty way with wide eyes unblinking. I gave Bonita a kiss on the nose and told her she was glowing. She was. I mean, I can't be certain her and Francis are pregnant but they sure seem like it. The chickens seemed to be already celebrating with an early baby shower by scuttling around the goat pen hoping for fallen bits of grain. The ladies are on a lighter ration and will be switched to just hay soon. As advised by fellow dairy goat owners, too much grain = too much kid. I don't need vets here helping pull giant goatlings out of anxious moms.
When the farm was fed. When the ice was busted out of the water throughs and clean water replaced them. When the dog's tongue was hanging down to his knees in happy exhaustion. When the gray sky grew the lightest it would be this snowy day.....I went inside to warm up and write. Gibson, was so reluctant to come inside from the farm life outside he actually backed up into the house, begging eyes the whole time locked on mine. We came inside and I asked for a hug and he leaped up, paws around my hips and pressed his head against my chest. Some people can't stand dogs that jump. I friggin' love it, look forward to it even. He got down, slinked off into the living room where the cat was now asleep again. And I headed to the office to work.
Snow Update: 1-3 inches tonight into tomorrow, starting late afternoon! But none so far!