Wednesday, September 17, 2014


The Old Home Place

When I’m the dogs’ caretaker, I prefer to be at the farm. Exercise options are more difficult in town, whereas, at the farm, I don’t have to control their every move – or worry (much) about what they’re doing.
Plank's Pitch from west of house

As we staycated at the farm, every day after lunch, the dogs and I went for a hike. It could be any place on our property or the neighbors’, but it could not be the usual route to the mailbox. We hiked across the fields avoiding gullies and draws, rocky places, thick grass, etc. My goal was to see the house from different perspectives and take pictures with our new Nikon Coolpix P600. A hike can be tedious, but a picture-taking expedition is downright fun! Of course, mid-day is not a great time to take pictures, but never mind -- that couldn’t be helped.

“Did you see the huns?” asked Mike when I told him about our hikes. For the past 15 years, Mike has worked to conserve the coveys of Hungarian partridge there. This year it looked as if they would be sparse, but a couple of weeks ago he discovered one covey, possibly two, and was encouraged.

No, I replied, we hadn’t seen the huns.
“The huns don’t leave,” said Mike. “They’re there someplace.”

Nell on point -- east of barn
Well, I did think when Nellie suddenly pointed at nothing east of the barn (the huns are virtually invisible in the stubble) that the huns had probably been there. Nothing got up, but Nellie is hardly ever mistaken.

No, I didn’t see the huns until Monday as we left the farm for town. I had just descended that first steep pitch on the lane when five or six got up to the right (June’s field). Then a covey of about twenty or so got up to the left (the north field). It was a joy to see them fly.
Doe in north field at evening

If the huns are elusive, the deer abound. Clearly, the deer are beautiful but a nuisance. They take liberties in the yard when we aren’t there, but when we are, they’re wary of the dogs. I watched one evening as a big doe cautiously crossed the lane into the north field, keeping a watchful eye toward the house, guarded by a diligent, opinionated, and vocal Bess.

This doe posed for me
One day, as we hiked north of the house on the other side of the draw, I was surprised when a young doe loped into the field where I was. She stopped some distance from me, and we momentarily stared at one another. I figured she would lope off before I had a chance to take her picture – so often the way – but the camera was on and I decided to give it a try. She posed nicely – then went on. KW


Richard V. Shields III said...

An old friend of mine (and Mike's) who now lives in Texas used a term to describe deer that I had not heard before. Night gardeners. Seems appropriate.

Hallie said...

Do you think that's the same deer?

Kathy said...

Hi Richard! Mike wonders who that friend could be. "Night gardeners" is good and applies to the pruning of tomato bushes and the like. They could also be called "night harvesters." But even that activity isn't as disturbing as the damage to trees, lilac bushes, etc.

Hi Hallie! No, I don't think it's the same deer. The close-up encounter was a young doe, which probably accounts for her willingness to pause and commune. The one in the evening photo was a large doe -- older.

Richard V. Shields III said...

Graham a resident of Kerrville,TX