Who Needs a Dog When You Have a Deer?

Blacktail deer stares in window of home in southern Oregon.

“I know you are there Curt. Feed me.” One very pregnant deer showed up on our back porch last week. Here, she is staring in the window at me.

We don’t have a clue why a pregnant doe showed up on the back porch last week at our home in southern Oregon. But there she was, curled up, resting on the cement, and behaving like a dog, a very big dog. She looked up as if to say, “You wouldn’t make a pregnant lady leave, would you?” Or maybe she was saying, “Do you have one of those green apples you occasionally toss out because they are old?” I suspect it was the latter.

Momma doe sleeping on porch in southern Oregon.

We looked out our back door and momma doe was curled up on the porch, sleeping like a dog. Her ears are whipping around to keep off flies.

She looked up, curious about what we were going to do, but hoping it involved food.

She looked up, curious about what we were going to do, hoping it involved food.

Deer have insatiable appetites. We have gone to extreme measures to encourage them to leave our flowers and shrubs alone. Peggy has long discussions with them about what they can eat and can’t. We have planted things that give them tummy aches, such as foxglove. And we are seriously into fencing.

One of the plants we have found that deer won't touch is foxglove. We are planting it liberally around our house.

One of the plants we have found that deer won’t touch is foxglove. We are planting it liberally around our house.

In addition to being deer proof, it provides beautiful flowers.

In addition to being deer proof, it provides beautiful flowers.

Close up.

Close up.

Last week, we put in a number of native Oregonian plants to eventually form a hedge. But first they have to avoid being eaten. This is a fence I put up. It seems to be working.

We recently put in a number of native Oregonian plants to eventually form a hedge. But first they have to grow up and avoid being eaten. This is a deer’s eye view of the fence I put up. The spider-web top is to keep deer from jumping in. The herd comes by daily to check things out. So far, so good.

Last week we made a quick trip to Sacramento, leaving plants and mom behind. We didn’t know what to expect on our return. The plants are fine; mom is gone. I suspect she went off into the forest to have her baby. We are just glad it wasn’t on our back porch. In the meantime, our neighbors reported we have a visiting bear. Things are never dull around here.

This photo is to provide perspective. I have a very comfortable lounge chair that I can swivel around to look out the window.

This is one of my favorite writing spots. I have a very comfortable lounge chair that I can swivel around to look out the window. When the footrest is up, my feet touch the windowsill. The doe in the top picture was pressing her nose to the opposite side of the window. The door on the right provided the view of her lying down.

The door on the right has a screen that we use when the door is open. Here, Mom has her nose up against the screen looking at me in my chair. Had the screen not been there, she might have invited herself in.

The door has a screen that we use when the door is open. Here, Mom has her nose up against the screen looking at me in my chair. Had the screen not been there, she might have invited herself in. Note the size of her ears.

Later she came over, stood looking in the window at me, and then took a nap.

Later she came over, stood looking in the window at me, and then took a nap.

 

A Walk on the Wild Side of Southern Oregon… to the Mail Box: Part I

Applegate River in Applegate Valley, Oregon. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

Peggy and I always stop to admire the Applegate River. Here it reflects the afternoon sky and trees along our mailbox walk.

It’s a new year– a time for resolutions, a time for planning. Right? I mean, right! My laptop is poised and ready for action. But wait, my mind isn’t here. It’s outside wandering around in the woods with the deer and squirrels and foxes and bears.

Why should this be so tough? I love planning. I’ve been doing it forever. I still have plans I developed in high school bouncing around somewhere. I was doing MBO before Peter Drucker invented it. I have plans on top of plans. If I don’t control me, no one will. Or worse, someone else might.

But today, this third day of 2014, my mind just isn’t into planning. Fortunately, I am even better at rationalizing than I am at planning. One of my resolutions is more exercise. Isn’t it everybody’s? It’s on my list every year, regardless of the results. So I will go exercise. I’ll be resolute instead of wishy-washy. I will walk to our mailbox.

Join me as I take a walk on the wild side.

Applegate Valley, Oregon. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

We will start our trip to the mail box following Cody’s Bear Trail. Each of our grandchildren (5 boys) has his own trail. Cody’s happens to be the trail the bear follows when it comes to visit.Last time Bear came by, he tipped over my grill.

Applegate Valley,Oregon deer trail. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

The five-year old Cody and I could have named it Deer Trail, instead. (It’s more like a deer freeway.) But that lacks the pizzaz of Bear Trail.

Coming off Cody's Trail, I smelled a skunk. Was our culvert occupied again. Last summer, I had to replace the culvert. My 76-year-old friend Tuffy was removing the last few feet of the old culvert with a backhoe, when the fattest skunk I have ever seen came waddling out and disappeared into the blackberries where the foxes live...

Coming off Cody’s Trail, I smelled a skunk. Was our culvert occupied again? Last summer, I had to replace the culvert. My 76-year-old friend Tuffy was removing the last few feet of the old culvert with a backhoe, when the fattest skunk I have ever seen came waddling out and disappeared into the blackberries where the foxes live…

I got down on my knees and looked into the culvert. I wanted a skunk photo for this blog. Peggy hates it when I poke my head into the culvert; she's afraid I'll be sprayed. No worry, the pipe was empty.

I got down on my knees and looked into the culvert. I wanted a skunk photo for this blog. Peggy hates it when I poke my head into the pipe; she’s afraid I’ll be sprayed and she’ll have to live with me. No worry, the culvert was empty.

Looking back down the road past the culvert toward our house. I would have followed the road if I hadn't used Cody's trail.

Looking back down the road past the culvert toward our house. I would have followed the road if I hadn’t used Cody’s trail.

Blacktail deer herd in Applegate Valley, Oregon. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

Ten members of the local Blacktail deer herd were present, however. They were curious about whether Peggy had left them any apples. I caught four of the deer in various poses.

Blacktail deer scratches belly in Applegate Valley, Oregon. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

One doe had an irresistible itch on her belly.

Now I am faced with another choice. Do I walk up the neighborhood road past our fence, or do I cut through the woods?

Now I am faced with another choice. Do I walk up the neighborhood road past our fence, or do I cut through the woods?

My preference is always for the woods. Our property line on the back is the Klamath National Forest.

My preference is always for the woods. Klamath National Forest provides our back property line.

Hobbit Tree in Applegate Valley, Oregon. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

So I head up the trail past the Hobbit Tree.

Ponderosa Pines in Applegate Valley, Oregon. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

And past the Ponderosa Pines…

Just "me and my shadow strolling down the avenue."

Just “me and my shadow strolling up the avenue.”

View of Red Buttes from Upper Applegate Valley, Oregon. Photo by Curtis Mekemson.

There is a small knoll at the top of the mailbox walk where I can look south toward the Red Buttes (looking quite blue) in California.

Now it's time we leave the woods and rejoin the neighborhood road.

Now it’s time we leave the woods and rejoin the neighborhood road.

A week ago this road was a sheet of ice.

A week ago this road was a sheet of ice.

And the goal! Our mailbox is on the right just across the Upper Applegate Road.

And the goal! Our mailbox is on the right just across the Upper Applegate Road.

My reward– a new Scientific American.

My reward– a new Scientific American. “Our Unconscious Mind, It exerts a profound influence: Shaping decisions, molding behavior, and running our lives.” Hmmm.

NEXT BLOG: We walk along the beautiful Applegate River, meet the neighborhood dogs, and follow Ethan’s Hidden Trail as we return to our home from the mailbox walk.