I just went out with the dogs for the final time tonight,and we were joined by Smokey the Cat who was rubbing up against my legs and the dogs noses and ribs. When we rounded the corner of the house, there was a whole herd of deer! I think I counted seven! They were as stunned as I, and four of them just stood there staring at us. Interestingly, they were as calm about it as was the little buck I photographed.
The dogs didn't see them in the shadows near the edge of the yard, and I stood very still while the dogs went about their business. Just before coming in, China caught a glimpse of one of them and stopped in her tracks. I know she didn't have any idea what she was seeing. I don't think she has seen one before, and her eyes are poor anyway, but she looked and looked. I called her in and she came to me. The last couple deer darted off into the bushes when they heard the storm door click shut.
I hope my new home has as many deer to come visit. I hear there are elk in the hills, too. Oh, I can't wait!!!
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Just as I published that, a couple of the deer returned and are grazing in the yard right now!
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PS added 2/28/07 at 6:45 AM
OH, my goodness! I just took the dogs out and the little buck was there again, in exactly the same spot as yesterday morning! Today the dogs saw him. Ali stood very still, watching intently. China's curiosity got the best of her and she slowly crept toward him. Bucky was watching her, too, and bobbing his head up and down, trying to watch her on the ground and me at his eye level. He began tentative steps toward her, putting him perhaps four feet from her, six or so from Ali and eight feet from me.
Suddenly, at about a yard, China realized just how big this critter was and turned tail! She quickly slunk away, and when she was about ten feet from him, she turned her head and gave him a warning "woof"!! Well, OK, it was actually her "Holy cow, that thing is big and scary" woof, but she thought it was her brave, protective woof!
Bucky wasn't really spooked, but backed up a couple steps and watched. Then he decided to wander down the hill a few feet. Ali then decided to follow him, and my heart skipped a beat. I didn't know how far he would dare go, so I called him back. Bucky decided it was too much for him at this time and trotted off down the hill. Ali didn't go further, but also wouldn't come back to me for a couple minutes. When he turned toward me, he was walking very, very slowly, and I knew he had stickers in his paw or something similar. When I got to him and picked him up, he had two pieces of cholla cactus stuck in the fur of his legs.
Cholla (pronounced choya) is an evil cactus that can grow into tree size and has some of the meanest thorns I've encountered (did so in my butt once! groan.). I was able to grab one and remove it, but the other was really stuck and didn't have a place I could get hold, so I carried Ali inside and had Allan use pliers to grip the cholla and pull it free. All this before 6:45 AM!!!!
Oh, yeah, it's gonna be a good day! I can feel it!!! Bring it on!!!