Baby buck

This morning I opened the kitchen blinds and glanced into the orchard, and there he was:  our baby buck, grazing on the bright green spring grass.

My camera was in the bedroom, and Dave was still in bed. I tiptoed in, grabbed my camera bag, slid open the bathroom window while thumbing the on switch, and missed him. He'd moved out to the pasture, so I got the shots I could with no time to fiddle with settings.

Then I leaned my elbows on the sill, and watched until he moved out of sight, down to the pond.

We'd lived at the farm, in this small rural valley, for 25 years before we ever saw a deer. The valley was just crying out for deer, full of horse pastures and orchards, ringed with wooded hillsides. A lot of people besides us had horses, and there was hay and grain in barns up and down the valley. But we never saw any deer.

My neighbors who had vegetable gardens thought I was crazy, because deer can become a real nuisance. But I never had anything on my place that I couldn't share with a couple of deer. They're welcome to apples from the orchard, and all the blackberries (and blackberry canes) they can eat. There's always tall grass to shelter them, and a pond for water. I lost more lettuce and spinach over the years to my flock of geese.

Then five years ago during a cold winter, we had a 4-point buck and a doe spend the day with us, and from then on, we'd see deer a few times a year. This small buck is new. We've seen him twice in the past couple of months, and he still hasn't grown his antlers for the year. I didn't see the doe today; maybe she was bedded down in the front pasture.

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