Monday, August 24, 2015

Meatless Monday

Dry Flowers
A Lone Apple in the Tree
Green Lawn Attracts all the Turkeys
Young Buck with Mouth Full of Apples
One of the BIG Bucks
20 Points Between Their Racks
I'm thinking I can give up venison.

For a time, I was ready to shoot one strawberry-eating buck whether or not it was hunting season or Put-'Em-in-the-Freezer Friday. I never saw this beast who ate every strawberry plant I had, berries and all, but I saw his signs, his buck marking he left behind as if robbing me wasn't insult enough.

The next year I ran horses in the pasture next to my garden and couldn't pin the blame on the buck. The mares discovered where the strawberries were, and they didn't have a chance of recovery.

The strawberries, that is.

Now the strawberries are in a tangle of dry weeds. We have no horses this year and the drought has me reducing where I water. I wasn't going to extend my sprinkler to a patch that would attract the buck once again.

Closer to the pond, the apple tree hangs on to much of its fruit. After my friend Kate died in July, I returned home to crisp grass, a wilting garden, dead flowers and dropped early apples. That began a regime of rehabilitation.

My lawn is now mostly green with dandelions and pink clover to feed the bees. My garden is producing dinner and creative excuses to fix zucchini cake or fritters.

And the buck has found the apples.

At first I though the turkeys were eating them, but I couldn't understand how. The apples were sized between a golf ball and a baseball when they fell. Because they were not mushy, I wasn't sure how a turkey would tackle such a large food prize. The birds continue to surprise me, but jaws of steel they do not have.

That's when I discovered the buck. In the flesh.

I was scoping Elmira Pond while pork chops grilled on the BBQ (I assure you, it wasn't a Monday, and the chops are from Wood's Ranch just seven miles down the road from us). Movement caught my eye and I was startled to see the buck so close. He looked at me with an apple in his mouth.

The next night I caught two more bucks creeping through the dry pond grass like spies. They found the young buck's stash. These two are big males, whitetailed bucks with 10-point racks. I can forgive them the strawberries, that's how magnificent they look up close.

#MeatlessMondays will continue at Carrot Ranch. No venison, here. And the only shots I'm taking are with my Nikon.


  1. I'm glad your lawn and veggies have recovered, and that the bucks are getting their fill of fruit; I'm thinking the apples are more sustainable and nutritious for the lot of them anyway :)
    I'm a sucker for animals; no matter what they do, I'm on their side, and I'm glad there're only photographic shots being taken.
    Beautiful story, amazing creatures.

    1. They are amazing, and fun to think that this is the bachelor pad for the bucks. Though I was unhappy about the strawberries...I have since started a new patch in a hanging bag!

  2. Magnificent, indeed. I was so happy to read those last lines after seeing the photos, lady. ;-) Wow. I really need to visit the ranch someday. It is oasis of beautiful wildlife. It relaxes me to watch nature. Even the silly chipmunks, squirrels, bunnies, and birds we have here are relaxing to watch.

  3. It's like the lyric, "I get a peaceful, easy feeling..." There's always something to watch and it cycles. No chipmunks, squirrels or bunnies, though. Coyotes take care of that population. :-( I have seen river otters and muskrats on the pond. And of course (when) you visit, there's rocks to meet!

  4. Lovely Charli, and a great solution for your strawberries. Your feathered and furry friends obviously have a sweet tooth and enjoy their desserts. Shooting them with anything other than your Nikon would not be giving them their just deserts! I love hearing these tales of your wildlife encounters. It is such a different experience from mine.