Sunday, December 30, 2012

Winter Birds Feeding

Bridget took some really nice photos today of our birds feeding after our winter storm last night.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Story of Apple

The Story of Apple

She bounds through the woods, jumping over fallen trees and dodging branches, with her white tail high in the air.  This is our first glimpse of our resident white-tail deer in the fall of 2001.  We had recently completed building our new home and our property borders “open space” with its many acres of woods, streams and ponds.  A deer path runs along the edge of the property which has seen many years of use and is well defined. 
We see this beautiful creature nearly every day.  She is distinctive in size and markings from the other deer passing through the property.  She has a presence of command about her as she takes the lead on the deer path as others follow and we see her leading the small herd through the woods.   As time goes by, we put out some old apples on a rock not far from the deer path and one day we see her there at the rock enjoying her evening meal.  She becomes comfortable coming to the property and slowly we can approach her and throw her slices of her favorite food…apples.  Her tail wags and her head bobs with the throw of each slice.  She thoroughly enjoys any variety of apple and we think she would eat a whole bushel if made available.   We name her “Apple” and she is the matriarch of the herd.

In the Spring of 2002, a small fawn arrives by her side one morning.   After several months, we see that it is a male deer and he receives the simple name of “Baby Boy”.   Apple and Baby Boy come to the property every day through the Fall and Winter and into the Spring of 2003.   His atlers begin to grow and he will soon leave his mother’s side and begin his own adventurers. 

Apple remains and continues to oversee the small herd.  Without a doubt, she is in charge.  Strangers passing through who are not part of her clan are quickly chased away.  Anyone at the feeding area who does not belong gets a quick kick.

Apple’s next surviving fawn will be “Cider”, a doe, born in the Spring of 2007.  Cider becomes very special to us.   She has such a wonderful personality.  She is very curious and never fearful of us.  If we allowed it, she would eat her apples right out of our hand, but she is a wild animal and must stay wild, so we maintain our distance.

Through the coming years, Cider rarely leaves Apple’s side.  They are constant companions and as Cider matures, she is the spitting image of her mother.  It is wonderful to see them grooming each other and they will often sit down in the yard together. 
In the Spring of 2009, Cider gives birth to her first fawn, a buck, we name “Spicy”.  Also, that year, Apple has a fawn, a doe, named “Pie”.  The herd is growing and two fawns running and playing in the yard bring us much joy and entertainment.

In 2011, Apple gave birth to another fawn.  We called the fawn “Dumpling” not knowing if it was a boy or girl.   As Fall approached, Dumpling started to show some antler bumps and he continued to develop into a handsome buck (although he may not be too happy with the name he was given!)  Dumpling stayed by Apple’s side for over a year.  He developed an amazing rack for a 1 year old and left the herd in the Fall of 2012.

Apple and Cider continued on together maintaining their close bond.  They both loved apples, especially red delicious.  Since they were inseparable, and looking so alike, the one way we could tell the difference was how Apple squinted when we threw an apple slice to her.  She never forgot the incident when a rogue piece of apple hit her head and the juice of the apple got in her eye.  It was so funny to see her squint!

Early in the Summer of 2012, Apple appeared with her latest fawn.  We named her Flag as she arrived for the first time on the 4th of July.  We were so happy that Apple, who by now was probably close to 13-14 years old, if not older, made it thru another birth.   Then came the day when she did not come to the property for feeding.  “She will come” we told each other.  More days went by, and then weeks, and we came to realize we had lost our beloved Apple, probably to old age. 

“But where is Flag” we would ask.   One early morning at the feeding area, we see Flag with Cider.  It is clear that Cider has taken over raising Flag.  Flag is groomed by Cider and they are continuously by each other’s side.  We are happy that Flag has been adopted and that Cider will watch over her.   Cider is now the matriarch of the small herd and Apple lives on in all her offspring.

This is written in memory of Apple.  Wild until the day she died and much loved.