Oh Deer!… Another Quickie

Deer looks in door of Curt and Peggy Mekemson's home on Upper Applegate River in Southern Oregon.

Anybody home? A deer looks in our screen door. We are glad we don’t have a door bell. The deer would likely use it— constantly.


It’s time for another quickie: A break from my bike six-month bike trip with a little humor to counter our serious times.

I’ve blogged before that a deer herd actually owns our property on the Applegate River in Southern Oregon. They take their rent in apples. If they aren’t paid on time, they come and stare in our windows— our front windows, our side windows, our back windows, and our bedroom windows. Or they eat Peggy’s flowers. She always runs out to discuss the matter with them. They think she is just being polite, asking them how the flowers taste. Or they deny that they have been eating the flowers at all.

A nosy neighbor. If one window doesn't work, the deer go around our house, peering in each window.

A nosy neighbor. If one window doesn’t work, the deer go around our house, peering in each window.

Come on! I know you are in there.

Come on! I know you are in there.

Deer sniffs flower for edibility in the Applegate Valley of Oregon.

Mmmm, is this edible. Checking out a daffodil. Peggy is constantly searching for plants the deer won’t eat. Daffodils are one, but that doesn’t stop the deer from biting the flower off and spitting it out.

A thorny issue. This deer is receiving a lecture from Peggy about not eating her rose bush. Check out that stance!

I have not been eating your roses! A thorny issue. This deer is receiving a lecture from Peggy about not eating her rose-bush. Check out that stance of rightful indignation!

Buck lips lips after eating an apple.

Wow, that apple tasted like I want another one! Always.

Deer licks lips.

Me too! (We get to see the deer in all stages of development. The first buck above had fully grown antlers. This guy was just beginning. Bucks lose their antlers in late winter/early spring and have grown another set by mating season.)

When they aren’t eating, which is what they do most of the time, they do other deer things: fight, mate, have babies, raise their kids, groom each other, sleep, and lie around chewing their cuds. Since we are a part of the herd, more or less, we are invited to witness all of these things. Sometimes it can get a little hairy, like when a doe ran behind me when a lust-driven buck was chasing her…

Pregnant doe sleeping on back porch in Oregon.

Okay, already! I’ve been pregnant long enough. Women can probably feel great empathy for this pregnant doe who couldn’t seem to get comfortable sleeping on our back porch.

Soaking in the sun and chewing their cuds. It isn't unusual to have several deer sleeping around our house. When Peggy and I arrived home after redrawing my bike route this summer, it was like the deer had taken over.

Soaking in the sun and chewing their cuds. It isn’t unusual to have several deer lying around outside our house. When Peggy and I arrived home after re-driving my bike route this summer, it was like the deer had taken over.

You know how it is with families. Even though you have seen pictures of the kids once, you are bound to see them again— and again. It used to be that mother or grandmother (and occasionally dad/granddad would whip out her/his wallet and show you one or two. Now they whip out their smart-phone and show you 40 or 50. 🙂 I’ll conclude with some of the kids from around our place. Odds are you will see them again.

Lean on me. Any parent/grandparent is more than willing to whip out pictures of their cute kids/grandkids/pets, etc. It used to be out of the wallet. Now it is on the the phone... or social media.

Lean on me. This fawn was so young it still had shaky legs and was leaning up against its mom for support.

Fawn in Applegate Valley of Oregon.

A real cutie who is all legs!

Did you remember to wash your ears? I never get tired of watching deer groom each other. They do it all the time.

Did you remember to wash your ears? I never get tired of watching deer groom each other. They do it all the time. This is a mutual effort.

Young blacktail buck with tiny horns in the Applegate Valley of southern Oregon.

And then there are the teenagers. I call this fellow Little-Buck. He, his sister and mom stop by daily and visit. He has high hopes for his small antlers.

Here he is checking out my camera this morning. Next Blog: Join me as I finish my ride in Montana and bike through Idaho.

Is it edible? Here he is checking out my camera this morning. Next Blog: Join me as I finish my bike ride in Montana and head into Idaho.


52 thoughts on “Oh Deer!… Another Quickie

  1. I’m looking for the blog posts from the deer. Their photos and captions will be so much fun. Things like, “it’s so odd how that woman (I think they call her Peggy) grows all those amazing plants for us and then chases us away when we eat them.” And, “we’re happy that they returned from the trip so they could make sure the winter vegetation was planted for us.”

    • Good idea for a post, Bruce! Look for it. And you have made a great start. Momma deer to baby deer: “Just remember dear deer, two legs are good as long as they feed us. But never forget, four legs are better.”

  2. Ahh…some of these photos are priceless, the deer looking so sweet and cute and questioning – probably asking after more apples! 😀 Poor Peggy and the plants though, takes patience galore. Still to have these as part of the family it must be worth it. Don’t think I’d venture out with the bucks about!

    • Thanks, Annika. It’s no doubt that the deer have apples on their minds. 🙂
      Peggy has gone a long ways toward solving the deer/flower problem. There is a lot of information on deer-proof flowers around here. Advice always comes with a proviso, though. Maybe. 🙂 Interestingly, different herds go for different things. What one herd won’t touch, a herd a mile away might gobble down. As a general rule they don’t like herbs and stay away from plants that give them stomach aches. Foxglove, poppies, daffodils, and lavender seem to be plants they leave alone. More or less.
      As for bucks, probably wise. All wild animals can be dangerous. –Curt

  3. If they come to your door, will they eat out of your hand? I used to have squirrels come to the house looking for food, but they tore my screens up if I wasn’t home!!

    • Not really advised, G. But the answer is yes. They don’t seem destructive. Just hungry. Peggy has done a good job of finding plants they don’t like. Foxglove is a good example. We have also fenced off our garden and other plants we want to protect. In my years of backpacking, I found that squirrels would chew holes in food bags, back packs, etc. Bears were worse. They can tear a pack apart. I was always careful to hang my food, or more recently, use a food barrel, when I was in area where bears were noted for liking backpacking food. 🙂 I also left my pack open so they could go through the pack without ripping it up. I watched one do it once, a few feet away from where I was sleeping! 🙂 –Curt

  4. I needed a huge dose of cute today – thanks for providing it! I know they can be a royal pain in the neck (we have a bunch in western PA also), but they are so utterly charming its easy to forgive them, especially in your yard! 🙂

    • You are welcome, Lex! I even cheered myself up. Truth is, there are too many. It isn’t healthy for the deer. In fact, there are a lot more deer in America today than there were in 1900. Hard not to like the rascals, even when they are scarfing down Peggy’s flowers, however. A lot depends on the availability of their natural food. –Curt

  5. This is too wonderful!! I read it once and then read it again aloud to Ben. We both loved it. The photos are just perfect, accompanied by your commentary. Love the photo of “Little Buck” with his huge eyes and of the pregnant doe outside the door. They seem pretty comfy at your house, apples roses and all. And your reward, of course the entertainment of their poses, personalities etc. This is so great. Love it!!!

    • Thanks Peta! They do entertain, and they do have definite personalities. We’ve learned a fair amount about deer since we moved here. The most amazing to me is the affection they show for one another, as in the grooming. They can be territorial, and there is a pecking order, but I have yet to see them do any serous damage to each other. This time of the year, the bucks are going at it. We watch them go antler to antler and make sure we stay far away from the action. But even here, as soon as dominance is established, the fight is over. BTW, as I was writing this a doe went dashing by with a forked-horn in hot pursuit. 🙂 –Curt

  6. I guess you folks don’t have to worry about Lyme disease in your area. Here in Maine if we had your deer population circling our home we’d be the epicenter for that debilitating condition.

    • I confess we have. 🙂 And some names were handed down to us from our neighbor when we moved in. Now do they know their names? That’s another thing. They do, however, understand apple. –Curt

  7. And I thought we were popular with the birds and squirrels coming by with the “where’s dinner” look. You must have half the forest creatures swinging by for a visit.

  8. I always enjoy it when your deer show up. They are such interesting creatures, and your being “part of the herd” allows you to get the sort of photos that really do reveal their family life. Little Buck is a cutie, with an expression that would melt the heart of even the most determined plant grower: and probably has!

    • One of these days, Linda, I will do a more serious blog on Blacktail deer. I’ve gained a fair amount of knowledge about them over the past five years. Little Buck, more than any other deer, is a regular here. He is really small for his age. I don’t know how big he is going to get. Peggy was out talking with him five minutes ago. 🙂 –Curt

  9. Awwww! Cuteness, plus. I love deer, they are the most adorable weed whackers on the planet.

    I was a professional personal gardener/designer in Colorado and spent many hours compiling the No Chomp List. Pretty much, if they’re desperate enough, they’ll eat anything but Peggy’s got the right idea with daffodils, which are highly toxic. Hyacinth, too. Other celebrities on the list are lavenders, evergreens, yarrows, and anything with an acrid smell and a furry leaf and stem. Doesn’t feel good on the tongue so they leave it ’til last. Unfortunately, roses are like deer sherbet, so either tell everybody the heavy metal cage around it is art or switch it out with a rhodie.

    Some swear by planting goodies on the perimeter of the property as a sacrifice but you and I both know deer are bottomless pits. They’ll just regard it as hors d’ oeuvres and move on to the main course under your kitchen window. Have you considered a rock garden? Ha, ha!

    • The rose has it’s fence but the rose insists on growing out of it. Bad idea! I am thinking it needs to move to our seriously fenced in area! Goodies on the perimeter are an open invitation: “step right up deer, there are goodies inside!”They leave our lavender totally alone, regardless of how skin and bones they are, ditto daffodils as you have noted. And pretty much foxglove. I like yarrow. Good idea. Professional landscapers around here are pretty much deer proofing experts as well. 🙂 Less drought this year has certainly helped…
      And they are cute, sigh… those big brown eyes staring at you. And mom isn’t above sending the kids in. –Curt

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